Learning how to live with diabetes can be difficult for anyone who has always eaten whatever he or she desired. Fortunately, it is possible to make the transition and eat in a manner that provides your body with the nourishment it needs, while still satisfying your need for variety in your diet. Here are some tips on what to eat and what to avoid when learning how to control your diabetes with the use of a proper eating plan.
One of the misconceptions about a diabetic diet is that you must banish all sugars and starches from the diet. That is not the case. It is important to avoid or at least severely limit your intake of simple carbohydrates, such as processed sugar. This means you should forget about having cookies, cakes, pies, and other sweets on a daily basis. However, many doctors do recommend that their diabetic patients allow themselves a small portion of a favored sweet once a week. Have a piece of fudge cake with your meal out; just make sure it is a sliver and not a wedge, and don’t allow yourself a second helping.
Your body does need some carbs in order to maintain proper nerve function, provide energy, and keep your moods balanced. For this reason, you want to make sure you get most of your carbohydrate intake from foods like whole grain breads, different types of legumes, and other complex carbohydrates that are loaded with vitamins and minerals but cause less of a blood glucose spike. See this as an opportunity to try different types of breads made with whole grains like oatmeal, or whole grain wheat. You’ll be surprised at the additional flavor and texture of the bread, and be pleased to see how little they actually increase your blood sugar readings at one and two hour intervals after the meal.
Depending on your particular condition, your doctor may suggest you plan meals that contain around sixty carbs each. Fortunately, there are plenty of ways to do this. Incorporate green vegetables in each meal, even breakfast. A spinach omelet along with a bowl of oatmeal or an unsweetened whole grain cereal is a great way to start the day. For lunch, have a salad that used a variety of mixed greens, the darker the better. Toss in some garbanzo beans for energy and texture, some carrots and tomatoes, and toss everything in a simple dressing made with oil and vinegar, and a little salt and pepper. For dinner, go with grilled chicken or lean red meat that is baked or broiled, small portions of root vegetables like rutabagas or new potatoes, and a generous serving of green beans. By keeping track of the carb content of each meal, you’ll quickly find that it is possible to create some excellent meal plans and still stay within a reasonable amount of carbs for each meal.
Adapting some of your favorite recipes will also make eating a proper diabetic diet easier to manage. Dump the creamy salad dressings and go with something lighter, like a dressing made with balsamic vinegar and olive oil. If you like a sweet dressing for your salad, try sprinkling one single serving package of your favorite artificial sweetener on the salad, then douse it with red wine vinegar. It’s light, gives the salad a slightly sweet taste, and enhances the flavors of all the ingredients.
Pasta is often a stumbling block for many people who find they have diabetes. Instead of feeling like your spaghetti eating day are over, experiment with using whole grain or vegetable pastas instead. Many people find they cause less of a spike in blood glucose levels, as long as the portion size is kept to a minimum. The same is true with rice; going with a small portion of brown rice is less likely to cause a huge spike, and will still provide your body with some of the thiamin it needs each day.
One problem many diabetics face is the potential to develop high levels of bad cholesterol. This is because many foods, such as red meats, that are low in carbs are also high in cholesterol. For this reason, make sure you focus on more than just the carb content of your food selections. Go with foods that provide the right kind of carbs, won’t run up your cholesterol levels, and provide plenty of vitamins and minerals to help your body function at peak efficiency.
It is important to note that much of deciding what to include in your diabetic diet and what to leave out has to do with how your body reacts to certain foods. For example, some diabetics find that consuming a small amount of brown rice or pasta, especially when balanced a serving of green vegetables does not increase blood sugar levels a great deal. Others find the same meal causes a significant spike in blood sugar. Listen closely to what your body is telling you, and adjust your diet accordingly. This will help add years to your life, and delay many of the ailments that can develop as you get older.