By: Ana Milena Pérez
- Limit sweets and foods high in sugar: Sweets are most responsible for increasing blood sugar levels. While they should be limited, you can occasionally indulge in a sweet treat. Just make sure to eat a modest portion once in a while!
- Eat well balanced meals with a wide variety of options: A well balanced meal should consist of a protein rich food such as meat, fish, chicken, turkey, a serving of vegetables, a starch like bread, rice or pasta, and a piece of fruit or dairy product. Choose a variety of different foods to ensure that you are receiving all our nutrients.
- Control your food portions: Having diabetes does not mean that you cannot eat your favorite foods, but that you have to limit the amount that you eat at a meal. For example, the average portion for many foods is the size of a deck of cards or the palm of your hand. Vegetables, however, have a minimal impact on your blood sugars so go ahead and eat a more generous portion of vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, tomato, and spinach.
- Go no longer than 4-5 waking hours without a meal or snack and don’t skip meals: Going more than 5 waking hours between meals or skipping meals can be harmful and may cause your blood sugars to drop too low – to dangerous levels. Therefore, it’s best to make sure that you eat regularly scheduled meals every 4-5 hours and have a light snack before going to bed.
- Eat about the same amount of food at each meal everyday: It is recommended that you consume moderate amounts of food at each meal rather than eating a very large portion for one meal and only a little bit at another meal. For example, having only a cup of coffee for breakfast and then a very large plate of food at lunch. Doing this can cause an imbalance in your blood sugar levels and it is not advised.
- Choose foods high in fiber: Foods that are high in fiber are part of a healthy diabetic diet; they help bring down cholesterol levels and have lots of other health benefits. High fiber foods include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and beans/legumes. Aim for at least 5 (½ c- 1 c) servings of fruits and vegetables daily. Choose whole grain products like oatmeal, brown rice, whole grain cereals, whole wheat breads and pastas and eat beans 3 times per week to ensure enough fiber in your diet.
- If you are overweight, losing modest amounts of weight may help control your diabetes: It is important that you maintain a healthy weight. That means that if you are overweight, you should consider losing a few pounds. 1-2 pounds per week is a modest recommendation that can significantly improve your diabetes. If you are unsure how much you should be weighing, ask your doctor or registered dietitian.
- Exercise daily – move more: Daily exercise helps lower blood sugars, decreases cholesterol, blood pressure, and promotes overall heart health. It is important that you eat a light snack if you will be doing strenuous exercise as your blood sugars may drop too low. Pick an activity that you like to do such as dancing, walking, or swimming, but always check with you doctor before you start an exercise routine.
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