It's no secret that diet plays a huge role in the lives and wellness
of diabetics, but many don't know that making just a handful of small
adjustments to your diet and lifestyle can drastically improve the stability
of your blood sugar levels. Check out some of our top tips below.
1. Opt for high-fiber foods made up of complex carbohydrates over refined carbs.
Foods high in soluble fiber, which your body digests relatively slowly,
not only keep you fuller longer but also decrease the likelihood of a
blood sugar spike. It's as easy as swapping out white bread and pasta
for whole wheat, instant oats for steel-cut oats, or your morning cornflakes
for low-sugar bran flakes.
(Read more about
high-fiber foods and diabetes)
Still keep in mind that at the end of the day, carbohydrates are carbohydrates,
and consuming too many at any given time will eventually cause your blood
sugar levels to spike. Which brings us to our next tip ...
2. It's all about portion control.
Despite popular belief, you don't have to cut
all carbs just because you're a diabetic. What you do need to watch, however,
are your portions. Try to be conscious of the suggested portion size for
a certain food before accidentally overeating. If you find that this is
leaving you hungry, try instead to start decreasing the portions you usually
eat of these foods to roughly 2/3 of that size. Doing this for every meal
will not only do wonders to keep your blood sugar stable, but will also
likely lead to better overall health and even weight loss.
3. Don't skip a meal.
Since it's necessary that you keep your meals from getting too large,
you may find yourself getting hungry more often. Plan on having three
full meals with two small, nutritious snacks in between to curb the cravings
and keep your blood sugar at bay all day long. These small meals should
be roughly four to six hours apart, making for the perfect breakfast,
lunch and dinner schedule.
If you know you'll be going out to dinner or to an event where there
will be a lot of food, don't skip meals to "save your calories
for later." It's important that you stick to your regular eating
schedule and just control your portions when treating yourself, so that
you can enjoy yourself without going overboard or worrying about your health.
4. Take a closer look at your fats.
Depending on the type of fats your food is heavy in, it could be either
very good or very bad for your diet, so it's important that you know
what to look for so that you're not accidentally consuming too much
of the harmful kind. The general rule of thumb is that unsaturated fats
are good, and saturated and trans fats are bad. You can find unsaturated
fats in everything from coconut oil to nuts to avocados, so try swapping
out some of the unhealthy fats with these more wholesome ingredients.
For example, start using coconut oil for stove-top cooking instead of
butter, or replace two red meat meals per night with fish, which are high
in unsaturated fats.
5. Find new ways to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Don't fret, sweet teeth -- there are still plenty of deliciously satisfying
options for when you're craving a sugary treat. Although, it is worth
noting that taste preferences change over time, so minimizing your sugar
intake will actually decrease your dessert cravings, but for the time
being we've got you covered with some tips on how to snack smarter.
If you plan on having dessert, be sure to avoid carbs, like bread or pasta,
at dinner. Whenever possible, try to select desserts that are high in
healthy fats like peanut butter or yogurt, which slow down the digestive
process, keeping your blood sugar stable and preventing spikes. Lastly,
when shopping for sweet treats at the market, check out the labels to
look for low sugar options to keep yourself on track at home.
Start by making one change at a time to adjust to this new lifestyle and
eating schedule, so as to not overwhelm yourself with changes you don't
feel you can be consistent with. It won't be long until you start
to see your new healthy habits paying off and your blood sugar stabilizing.
Want to learn more about how to manage your diabetes or help a loved one
manage theirs? Make an appointment to see your doctor to discuss dietary options.