7 Food-Friendly Tips to Manage Diabetes

meals

You hungry? When you have diabetes, you have to think about food differently.

Why? When you have diabetes, blood sugar levels can fluctuate dramatically if you don’t make changes to improve your diet and protect your health.

Here’s another way to put this. Left unchecked, high blood sugar levels can increase the risk for weight gain, poor circulation, loss of vision, kidney damage, heart disease, stroke, and more.

The good news…making small changes to your diet (like eating more fresh and unprocessed foods from the Diabetic-Friendly Menu), can help control blood sugar levels.

Here are 7 things you can do to improve your diet and manage blood sugar levels:

1. Choose healthy meals

Next time you’re ready for a bite to eat, take a closer look at what’s on your plate, the menu, or what you’re going to whip together in the kitchen. All your meals and snacks should include one or more of these 5 things…

  1. Fiber. This can come from leafy-green vegetables, salads, chia seeds, nuts and seeds

  2. Healthy carbs. Healthy carbs are usually found in vegetables, whole grains, and root vegetables.

  3. Whole grains. This can include cereals, breads, pasta and rice like barley, wheat, and rice.

  4. Legumes. You know, pinto beans, black beans, navy beans, kidney beans, etc.

  5. Low-fat dairy products such as whole milk, cottage cheese, and yogurt.

2. Eat healthy snacks

When you have diabetes, chugging a sugary soda and eating a ton of junk food just isn’t a good option when you’re hungry…so be prepared.

To keep your blood sugar in check and avoid a spike or the effects of low-blood sugar, eat healthy snacks like:

  • Nuts

  • Seeds

  • Whole-grain crackers

  • Fresh-chopped vegetables with hummus

3. Drink more water

Did you know a typical 20-ounce bottle of soda contains 60 grams of sugar?

That’s a lot. The American Heart Association recommends no more than 24 grams of added sugar per day for women, and 36 grams of sugar for me.

Skip the sugary drinks, and grab a water bottle.

Aim to drink at least 64 ounces of water per day.

4. Practice portion control

There’s nothing wrong with having seconds or enjoying dessert…once in a while.

But if heaping piles of food and dessert at every meal becomes a regular thing, it will be harder to keep blood sugar levels in check.

Instead, practice portion control. Check serving sizes, even weigh your food if you have to. Split a meal or dessert with someone else.

5. Eat healthy carbs

How many carbohydrates are you eating per day? It’s a simple metric you can use to help you manage diabetes and eat the right foods.

But not all carbs are created equal. Refined carbohydrates found in candy, sugary, cereal, sauces, white bread, and many other foods tend to be high in carbohydrates and raise blood sugar levels rapidly.

But complex carbohydrates found in whole grain bread, pasta, oatmeal, and brown rice, for example, take longer to digest and help control blood sugar levels.

6. Skip processed foods

You know…The fast-food drive through, highly-processed packaged meals, take-out pizza, or canned meat. Many of these foods are high in calories and carbohydrates that won’t help regulate blood sugar levels.

Your better option. Eat fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, lean meats, fish, nuts and seeds. Or if that sounds like a lot of work (grocery shopping, food prep, and cooking), just pick your favorite Diabetic-Friendly meals and we’ll do the rest.

7. Read food labels to avoid added sugar

Here’s another smart-food habit to help you control blood sugar levels. Read the label, or look up the nutritional information online.

Many foods contain added sugar that you might not expect, like some yogurts, sauces, and drinks with packaging that might make it look “healthy” when it really isn’t.

Check the sugar content. The average adult should only consume 24-36 grams of added sugar per day.

Hungry for something healthy to manage diabetes and keep your blood sugar levels in check? Check out the complete list of Diabetic-Friendly meals made from fresh ingredients that only take minutes to prepare.