People with type 2 diabetes have the same nutritional needs as anyone else. Learn to eat well-balanced diet in the correct proportions if you are diabetic.
Diabetes has become such a common health issue that we all have at least one diabetic in our family. Diabetics and their families often are concerned about the diet they should consume in order to maintain glucose levels; but they fail to understand that weight control also is a consequential factor that has to be kept in mind while planning the diet for a diabetic. Most people with the disease are over-weight and need to keep a tab on those pounds.
A meal plan that can contribute in improving blood sugar levels need to include less calories, even amount of carbohydrates and healthy monosaturated fats. Along with dietary changes, losing about 10 pounds of weight and a light physical activity can aid in checking glucose levels.
The diabetes food pyramid recommended by US Department of Agriculture (USDA) can help you make wise food choices. It divides foods into groups, based on what they contain. Eat more from the groups at the bottom of the pyramid, and less from the groups at the top. Foods from the starches, fruits, vegetables, and milk groups are highest in carbohydrate. So, let's start talking about the most beneficial foods from the bottom line of the pyramid.
Foods that constitute more vitamins, minerals, and fibre are healthy starches. People- with or without diabetes, should include them in meals.
Examples- Examples of starches are bread, pasta, corn, pretzels, potatoes, rice, crackers, cereal, tortillas, beans, yams, and lentils.
Ways to Include Starches in Your Diet
- Buy whole grain breads and cereals.
- Eat fewer fried and high-fat starches such as regular tortilla chips and potato chips, french fries, pastries, or biscuits. Try pretzels, fat-free popcorn, baked tortilla chips or potato chips, baked potatoes, or low-fat muffins.
- Use low-fat or fat-free plain yogurt or fat-free sour cream instead of regular sour cream on a baked potato.
- Use mustard sauce instead of mayonnaise on a sandwich.
- Use low-fat or fat-free substitutes such as low-fat mayonnaise or light margarine on bread, rolls, or toast.
- Eat cereal with fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk.
Nature has put its bounty of vitamins, minerals and fibre in vegetables. Plus, they are low in carbs.
Examples- lettuce, broccoli, vegetable juice, spinach, peppers, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, celery, chillies, greens, cabbage.
Ways to Include Vegetables in Your Diet
- Eat raw and cooked vegetables with little or no fat, sauces, or dressings.
- Try low-fat or fat-free salad dressing on raw vegetables or salads.
- Steam vegetables using water or low-fat broth.
- Mix in some chopped onion or garlic.
- Use a little vinegar or some lemon or lime juice.
- Add a small piece of lean ham or smoked turkey instead of fat to vegetables when cooking.
- Sprinkle with herbs and spices.
- If you do use a small amount of fat, use canola oil, olive oil, or soft margarines (liquid or tub types) instead of fat from meat, butter, or shortening.
Fruits are not just a diabetics’ friend but are Mother Nature’s favourite too, which is why she has loaded them with nutrients.
Examples- apples, fruit juice, strawberries, dried fruit, grapefruit, bananas, raisins, oranges, watermelon, peaches, mango, guava, papaya, berries, and canned fruit.
Ways to Include Fruits in Your Diet
- Eat fruits raw or cooked, as juice with no sugar added, canned in their own juice, or dried.
- Buy smaller pieces of fruit.
- Choose pieces of fruit more often than fruit juice. Whole fruit is more filling and has more fibre.
- Save high-sugar and high-fat fruit desserts such as peach cobbler or cherry pie for special occasions.
Milk provides carbohydrate, protein, calcium, vitamins, and minerals.
Ways to Include Milk in Your Diet
- Drink fat-free (skim) or low-fat (1%) milk.
- Eat low-fat or fat-free fruit yogurt sweetened with a low-calorie sweetener.
- Use low-fat plain yogurt as a substitute for sour cream.
Meat and Its Substitutes
Meat is a rich source of proteins, vitamins and minerals but they should be consumed in limitation by diabetics.
Examples- The meat and its substitutes group includes meat, poultry, eggs, cheese, fish, and tofu. Eat small amounts of some of these foods each day.
Ways to Include Meat in Your Diet
- Buy cuts of beef, pork, ham, and lamb that have only a little fat on them. Trim off the extra fat.
- Eat chicken or turkey without the skin.
- Cook meat and meat substitutes in low-fat ways: broil, grill, stir-fry, roast, steam, microwave
- To add more flavour, use vinegars, lemon juice, soy sauce, salsa, ketchup, barbecue sauce, herbs, and spices.
- Cook eggs using cooking spray or a non-stick pan.
- Limit the amount of nuts, peanut butter, and fried foods you eat. They are high in fat.
- Check food labels. Choose low-fat or fat-free cheese.
Alcohol, Fats and Sweets
Fats and sweets lack in nutrients but are abundant in calories. Some contain saturated fats, trans fats, and cholesterol that increase your risk of heart disease. Limiting these foods will help you lose weight and keep your blood glucose and blood fats under control.
Alcoholic drinks have calories but no nutrients. If you have alcoholic drinks on an empty stomach, they can make your blood glucose level go too low. Alcoholic drinks also can raise your blood fats. If you want to have alcoholic drinks, talk with your doctor or diabetes teacher about how much to have.
Examples of Fats- salad dressing, oil, cream cheese, butter, margarine, mayonnaise, avocado, olives, bacon.
Examples of sweets- cake, ice cream, pie, syrup, cookies, doughnuts etc.
Ways to Include Sweets in Your Diet
- Try having sugar-free popsicles, diet soda, fat-free ice cream or frozen yogurt, or sugar-free hot cocoa mix.
- Share desserts in restaurants.
- Order small or child-size servings of ice cream or frozen yogurt.
- Divide homemade desserts into small servings and wrap each individually. Freeze extra servings.
- Remember, fat-free and low-sugar foods still have calories. Talk with your diabetes teacher about how to fit sweets into your meal plan.
Read more articles on Diabetes.
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