What you eat as a diabetic is the key to keeping your sugar levels under control. Ensuring that you maintain a healthy, balanced diet is the best way to control your diabetes and stay healthy. Having diabetes does not mean that meals have to be boring and, contrary to popular belief, the diabetic can generally eat almost anything thought they do need to pay special attention to portion sizes. The most important point that the diabetic has to bear in mind is setting mealtimes so that they eat less and at the same time each day.
The diabetic should include lots of whole grain, vegetables, and fruits in lieu of simple sugars, (such as pastries), starches, and fats. In fact, these dietary guidelines are worth being used by anyone who wants to lead a healthier lifestyle, especially those wanting to lose weight.
Another dietary change that some diabetics may need to pay attention to is calorie counting. Counting calories is especially helpful for diabetics who take medication to keep their sugar level in check. Beginners should get the help of a dietician or nutritionist to learn how to count calories properly and the best combination of foods for each meal time.
A meal plan popular with diabetics and their caregivers is the exchange system. This system allows diabetics to exchange foods with similar nutritional content for other foods from the same pre-established group. Many diabetics feel constricted and limited by what they are allowed to eat, and the exchange system makes meal time more exciting and pleasant, providing some encouragement and motivation to eat properly.
To reiterate, the most important parts of the diabetic’s diet are:
- Having set mealtimes, even for snacks, eating at the same time each day
- Eating the right-sized meals
- Eating a well-balanced meal, incorporating foods from all food groups as per the diabetic food pyramid. The diabetic food pyramid, unlike the regular pyramid, groups foods together based on their starch and fat content. As such, starchy vegetables are grouped with starches instead of other vegetables.
- Reducing your intake of fats and sugar
- Eating smaller portions
The diabetic must ensure that meals consumed are smaller but are nonetheless nutritionally healthy, just as they would if they were diabetes-free. Paying attention to servings and meal times is vital to the continued health and well-being of the diabetic, as food is the main trigger for rising or falling blood glucose levels. Using the diabetic food pyramid as a guide, the diabetic can not only make meal time a joy, but also control their disease.