DIABETESThe Optimal Diabetic Diet
Controlling diabetes begins with making changes in your diet. But this doesn’t mean you have to deprive yourself. It’s just a matter of making healthy choices and eating balanced meals. There are even superfoods you can include in your diabetic diet plan such as berries, nuts, beans, and citrus fruits. These types of food are low in calories and carbohydrates.
Did you know that you can even include sweets in your meals? In fact, this debunks one of the common myths that diabetics need to avoid sugar altogether. Living with diabetes does not limit your food choices. You will even discover healthier options that are just as tasty without compromising your health.
The Basics of Diabetes Nutrition
According to Kathy McManus, registered dietitian and nutrition director at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, portion control is the most important factor for people with diabetes. It’s vital to be mindful of the amount of food you have on your plate. Eat a small portion, then wait 20 minutes before reaching for seconds. This gives your stomach enough time to relay to your brain that you are slowly getting full.
The next thing you need to understand before planning your diet is the glycemic index (GI). Glycemic index measures how food with carbohydrates increase your blood glucose. The higher the GI rank, the more it raises your blood sugar. Your goal is to include foods with medium to low glycemic index in your diet plan. Some of these foods include whole wheat, pumpernickel bread, lima beans, legumes, and others.
The Best Diabetic Diet
There’s a variety of foods that diabetics can eat. But if you’re wondering what the optimal diabetic diet is, it is mainly comprised of low-carb, high-fiber, and lean protein foods. Fruits and vegetables, low-fat dairy, and healthy vegetable fats are also highly recommended if you’re diabetic. Here are some sources of protein, dairy, and fiber:
+ Beans (Barley and Black Bean Salad)
+ Nuts such as walnuts and flax seeds
+ Poultry (Seared Chicken with Avocado)
+ Seafood high in Omega-3 fatty acids such as salmon and tuna (Shredded Potato Salmon Cakes)
+ Low or non-fat milk
+ Low or non-fat yogurt
+ Whole grains such as brown rice
Fruits and vegetables:
+ Spinach (Spinach Lentil Soup)
+ Sweet potatoes (Spicy Baked Sweet Potato Fries)
+ Lemons (Lemon-Orange Orange Roughy)
These are just some of the many sumptuous foods you can enjoy even if you’re diabetic. They are not only healthy but delectable, too!
Foods Diabetics Should Avoid
Diabetics should avoid foods with high GI as much as possible. Some of these common culprits are:
- White bread
- Corn flakes
- White rice
- Processed grains
- Full-fat dairy products
- High in trans fats or saturated fats foods such as margarine, cakes or anything with frosting, cream-filled candies, doughnuts, and frozen pizza
Diabetics should also avoid food with refined flour. Stay away from fruits with sweeteners such as jams, canned fruits, and apple sauce. The American Diabetes Association recommends reserving desserts for special occasions and opting for a small serving. If you’re going to eat sweets in a meal, cut back on the other carbs instead.
The diabetic diet is not a bland diet, but rather a balanced one. It’s all about regulating your food intake to prevent your blood glucose from rising. Diabetes nutrition allows you to choose healthier options that will not only fit your needs, but also satisfy your palate.