If you are one of the 26 million people in the United States suffering from diabetes, you may have been struggling to know what you can, or cannot eat. Good news: You do not have to stop eating the foods that you love. Learning to balance your meals and make healthy food choices is the key to coping with diabetes.
According to mayoclinic.org, a diabetes diet is also known medically as medical nutrition therapy (MNT) for diabetes. Rather than being a restrictive diet, it is simply a healthy eating plan that focuses on low fat and calories, and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
If you have diabetes, or pre-diabetes, your doctor may recommend that you seek help from a nutritionist. While that it an excellent idea, there are also some things you can do yourself to help manage your diabetes.
Mayoclinic.org and diabetes.org offer some helpful hints so that you can make the most informed decision about what foods you choose to eat.
Below are some basic guidelines for your healthy eating plan:
1. Eat six medium-sized meals a day, three hours apart. Make sure these meals are combined with lean proteins, monounsaturated fats, and complex carbohydrates.
2. Keep a food diary. This will help you to realize what foods you should limit in your diet. By seeing what foods you are eating, and how they are affecting your body, you will be less likely to choose those foods again.
3. Eat healthy carbohydrates. Not all carbs are bad. Your body still needs those good carbs that can be found in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy products.
4. Eat heart-healthy fish rather than other high fat meats. Heart-healthy fish include: cod, tuna, halibut, salmon, mackerel, sardines, and bluefish. Stay clear of fried fish and fish with high levels of mercury (tilefish, swordfish and king mackerel).
5. Eat monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats. While all fats should be limited, these are good fats and should be eaten in moderation. Good fats include: avocados, almonds, pecans, walnuts, olives, and canola, olive, and peanut oils.
6. Try some of the diabetes “super foods”. These are foods that are rich in calcium potassium fiber magnesium vitamins A, C, and E, and they all have a low glycemic index. Beans, citrus fruits, dark green leafy vegetables, sweet potatoes, berries, tomatoes, fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, whole grains, nuts, and fat free milk or yogurt are all diabetes super foods.
Below is a sample menu from mayoclinic.org:
•Breakfast. Whole-wheat pancakes or waffles, one piece of fruit or 3/4 cup of berries, 6 ounces of nonfat vanilla yogurt.
•Lunch. Cheese and veggie pita, medium apple with 2 tablespoons of almond butter.
•Dinner. Beef stroganoff; 1/2 cup carrots; side salad with 1 1/2 cups spinach, 1/2 of a tomato, 1/4 cup chopped bell pepper, 2 teaspoons olive oil, 1 1/2 teaspoons red wine vinegar.
•Snacks. Two unsalted rice cakes topped with 1 ounce of light spreadable cheese or one orange with 1/2 cup 1 percent low-fat cottage cheese.
[Image via Bing]