Diabetes Eating Do's and Don'ts
Numerous articles and blogs cross my desk daily pertaining to diabetes, nutrition, label reading, physical activity, and other hot topics. Every now and then, one of those articles catches my attention enough to share with you. I receive a weekly e-newsletter called dLife, and I always enjoy reading the content. I'm usually flexible and realistic with nutrition recommendations, but I agree with Lara Rondinelle, RD, LDN, and CDE, that there are some basic tips for healthy eating that include things you should and should not do if you have diabetes. We'll start with the "don'ts":
1) Don't eat out of a bag or box. You've probably heard this before, but you're tire and hungry and grab a bag of baked chips. You figure that you will just eat a few - not much damage, right? Well, ten minutes later you've downed more than half a bag of chips and more that 60 grams of carbs. It is too easy to overeat and not realize how many calories and carbs you've consumed out of a bag. Instead, make this commitment - get a bowl (and make it a small one).
2) Don't drink regular soda or sweetened drinks unless you are having a low blood sugar episode. Some people say, "I don't drink that much regular soda, maybe just when I go out to eat or a couple of times a week." This is not a good idea because a regular can of soda contains about 40 grams of carbohydrates and is going to raise your blood sugar dramatically. Do not waste your carbs on drinks, but rather use your carbs for food that will fill you up and give you the nutrients your body needs.
3) Don't make starchy carbohydrates your main course. Large plates of pasta accompanied by bread or large serving of rice with a little meat and vegetables are not healthy choices for people with diabetes. These meals are short on nutrients and contain large amounts of carbohydrates, which raise blood sugar levels. In addition, when meals skimp on protein, you may not feel as full.
4) Don't skip meals, because doing so isn't good for your metabolism and can lead to overeating at the next meal. Depending on your diabetes medication, skipping meals may also cause hypoglycemia.
5) Don't give up on healthy eating. Think about anything that you have been successful with in the past. Whether it is your career, sports, or a hobby, chances are it took time, hard work, and planning. All these components are needed for healthy eating.
Now for the "do's":
1) Do pay attention to what you're eating. We live in a multi-tasking world, but pay attention to the foods you consume. Enjoy and savor your food - and realize when you are full. Do not watch TV, work on a computer, talk on the phone, or play games while you eat.
2) Do eat from at least three food groups at every meal. Many Americans do not get enough variety in their diet. A good way to eat well-balanced is to include three food groups at each meal. For example, ad dinner, try a grilled pork chop (protein), black beans (carb), and broccoli (vegetable) for your three food groups. This is a basic, healthy eating rule for your day.
3) Do grocery shop regularly. Planning is a huge part of healthy eating. A well-stocked pantry is where it begins. Make weekly trips to the store so you are able to eat more healthy, fresh food at home.
4) Do eat fruits and vegetables daily. The recommendation is to eat five servings of fruits and vegetables daily. If you are not coming close to this recommendation, be sure you are eating at least some fruit and vegetables every day.
5) Do have protein with meals. Lean protein does not raise blood sugar levels and help you feel satisfied. Good protein sources include: eggs, chicken, fish, turkey, lean meat, nuts, beans, yogurt, cheese, and cottage cheese.
6) DO plan to attend the 2nd Annual Regional "Taking the Mystery Out of Diabetes" Conference, scheduled for Tuesday, May 1, at First Baptist Church. Registration brochures are available at County Extension Offices in northeast Texas, Southwest Dairy Museum, First Baptist Church, and several other locations. Contact my office at 903-885-3443 for more information.
I've learned that just one person saying to me, "You've made my day!" makes my day - Andy Rooney
Johanna Hicks, B.S., M.Ed.
Extension Family & Consumer Sciences Agent
1200-B W. Houston
P.O. Box 518
Sulphur Springs, TX 75483
903-885-3443 - phone
903-439-4909 - fax