July 8, 2014

Some Tips for Diabetes Food Plans

Choosing the right food plan is a major part of managing diabetes. It is easier to keep track of what you’re eating when you’re the one in charge of putting nutritious meals on your plate.

Learn how to use your blood glucose meter with test strips to monitor your blood glucose levels to prevent people from convincing you to eat too many carbohydrate-rich foods. Certain educators and dietitians will try to push carbohydrates and this is when you will need this knowledge.

#1. Watch the level of whole grains you can tolerate.
A few of you will be able to consume higher levels of whole grains and others should probably avoid them. Use your meter to serve as your guide. Many of us find that eliminating all wheat products serves us best and some find that limited quantities will meet their needs.

#2. Try to add more fiber to your meal plan.
Consider at least 8 grams of fiber per meal, or more if you can consume carbohydrate-rich foods. Select vegetables such as peas, beans, artichokes, celery, parsnips, turnips, acorn squash, brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, and beets. Eat some fruits, but don't over eat from these - apples, mangoes, plums, kiwis, pears, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, citrus fruits, and figs.

A fiber-rich diet also curbs the risk of heart disease, which is higher in people with diabetes.

#3. Replace some carbs with good fat.
Monounsaturated fats meaning nuts, avocado, olive, and sunflower oils can help lower blood sugar. Add nuts and avocado to salads and entrees. Use olive and sunflower oils to cook dinner dishes. Look for products that contain either oil, such as salad dressings, marinades, marinara, and pesto(if needed make your own). Still, keep portions modest, so you don't get too many calories.

#4. Eat foods that won't spike blood sugar.
Foods that aren’t likely to cause a significant rise in blood sugar include meat, poultry, fish, avocados, salad vegetables, eggs, and cheese. Eating these foods will help balance carbohydrate foods excluded in your meal.

#5. Choose recipes with moderate saturated fat.
Look for the following – fish, beef (grass fed if available), pork, chicken, full fat dairy, and avoid soy products.

#6. Know the nutritional values in the recipes you use.
There are digital scales that can help. Find out the amount of carbohydrates, fiber, and fat per serving. Then stay close to the appropriate portions by serving up your food on smaller plates.

#7. Use butter and shortening with sunflower or olive oil.
Both sunflower oil and olive oil are better choices. Read my blog here about them. There may be other quality oils, but avoid canola or vegetable oils.

#8. Prep for salads ahead of time.
Store a large spinach salad or vegetable-filled romaine lettuce salad without dressing in an airtight container. You can have crisp, wonderful salad with your dinner or as a snack for the next several days.

#9. Make an easy fruit salad.
With a few chops of a knife, you can turn a few pieces of fruit into a beautiful fruit salad. Drizzle lemon or orange juice over the top. Then toss to coat the fruit. The vitamin C in the citrus juice helps prevent browning.

#10. Choose drinks wisely.
Instead of soda, sweetened drinks, or fruit juice, drink protein-rich drinks such as whole milk. Or sip no-calorie tea, coffee, or water.

#11. Slow down or don't eat so fast.
Fast eaters tend to eat more. It takes at about 20 minutes for your brain to get the message that your stomach is officially “comfortable” and that you should stop eating. So, eat slowly and chew your food thoroughly. As you do, you'll become more aware of the textures and flavors and feel more satisfied.

#12. Avoid late-night snacks.
Avoid late night snacking unless your blood sugar is too low and your doctor or certified diabetes educator recommends having an evening snack. Only do this is your blood glucose is too low. Drink a cup of no- caffeine tea instead. Talk to your doctor if you are always experiencing high fasting blood glucose levels or the dawn phenomenon.

2 comments:

Denise Elliott said...

These are great guidelines for eating well as a diabetic - thanks for sharing! I have a question, though, about your dairy recommendation: why full fat? I can't stand the taste of full fat milk and prefer the taste and consistency of nonfat/skim, so that's what I choose for my lattes and other coffee/tea doctoring - am I making a bad choice here, and would 2% be any better?

Bob Fenton said...

Denise,
Do not worry if you have a difficult time with full fat milk. This is a way of adding fat to your diet and whole milk is generally more beneficial because of the nutrients. I grew up on whole milk and it was straight from the bulk tank and raw.

With so few dairy farms in my area, I have not been able to get raw milk. Most people, especially dietitians, still promote low fat and high carb which drives my blood glucose extremely high and adds to my weight as well. Even people that are lactose intolerant have problems with milk and it does not matter whether is is skim or whole milk.

That is one reason not to worry if a suggestion does not work for you. Always remember as a person with diabetes, what works for me, may not work for you. Always develop the food plan that works for you and your meter.