When faced with the diagnoses of Diabetes, there is much that the healthcare provider can do to help patients today. However, eating right is something the patient can—and must—do for themselves. Food and blood glucose levels walk hand in hand for Diabetes sufferers, making mealtime an effective method to keep the disease at bay. The subsequent article discusses how eating right can lead to better health and solid management of a complicated disease.
For many, the do-it-yourself method of food regulation is difficult. Changing eating habits is hard to do. There are new diet trends offered seasonally each year for people continually searching for a way to eat right. One important fact for the diabetic to keep in mind is that healthy eating for them is very nearly on par for healthy eating for everyone else—it’s just that healthy eating is a must rather than an option. Healthy eating is comprised of a wide variety of foods with balanced meals that range with carbohydrates, proteins and fat. All calories must be accounted for, so keeping a food diary is a good way to start your journey into a healthy eating lifestyle.
For the diabetes sufferer, meals must be planned to keep blood glucose levels safely under control. Intake must be carefully weighed against insulin doses, medication and exercise to avoid extreme fluctuation of blood glucose levels. Meal planning may seem like a novelty at first, but after a week or two, you can recycle your plans and accomplish your healthy eating lifestyle more rapidly than you may have thought possible. Most healthcare providers will refer diabetes patients to a dietician or nutritionist to discuss a healthy eating plan. Talk about what you like to eat and find out if it can be worked into an eating plan.
A dietician will also be able to inform you about calorie counting, counting fat grams, counting carbohydrate grams, counting sodium grams, counting food exchanges, and any of your own individual goals for keeping healthy and maintaining an active lifestyle. Dieticians that have experience working with diabetic patients will provide you with a new way to look at food and eating so that the diabetes can be managed successfully.
While preparing your healthy eating plan you should also discuss your activities, your target range for blood glucose levels and how you may be able to prevent other diseases simply by eating healthy. Whether you have gestational, type 1 or type 2 diabetes, you will want to include as wide a variety of foods as possible. Use the standard food pyramid as a good rule of thumb when planning your daily intakes. To keep your body nutritionally happy, protein, carbohydrates, fat, vitamins and minerals in proper proportion are necessary.
Sources of carbohydrates include bread, grains, pasta, fruit, vegetables, legumes, and dairy products. Excellent protein sources are poultry, meats, dairy products, eggs and fish. For fat, look to meat, dairy products, nuts and oils. Most patients, however, need to keep weight under control, so focusing on good carbohydrates and protein becomes increasingly more important fat intake. Your caloric intake must be spent wisely and it’s best to avoid fats from bacon, bacon grease, butter, lard, cream cheese and coconut oil. If you crave sweets, consider using artificial sweeteners instead of sugar to keep your blood glucose levels in check.
While a dietician will be able to individualize your healthy eating plan, there are some general tips that all diabetes patients can keep in mind when it comes to eating healthy:
- Use a nonstick vegetable spray for cooking instead of oils.
- To flavor foods without adding additional calories, season your meals with herbs.
- When eating poultry, remember that breast meat is leanest.
- Avoid pastas that contain eggs or fat; select converted, brown or wild types of rice.
- Choose "choice" or "select" cuts of meat which are lower in fat.
- Try to eat fresh or frozen vegetables. If eating canned vegetables, be sure to rinse them to reduce the amount of sodium.
- When it comes to oils, choose olive, canola, soybean, corn, sesame or safflower.
While eating healthy and learning the ins and outs of nutrition may seem daunting at first, it will ultimately prove both rewarding and empowering. Controlling your disease by eating right is key to this and may other diseases.