10 Nutrition Tips for Someone With Diabetes

Maintaining a healthy diet is an important part of managing type 2 diabetes. While eating a healthy diet is recommended for everyone, for those with type 2 diabetes, eating smart plays a large role in managing your condition. Following a healthy diabetes diet can help keep your sugar levels stable, lose weight, and prevent health complications, like heart disease and high blood pressure.

Maintaining a diabetes diet means eating healthy foods in moderate amounts and sticking to set mealtimes. Below, we’ll outline the things you should include in a healthy diabetes diet that’s nutrient-rich and low in fat and calories.

Recommended Diabetic Food List

Making your calories count is an important part of a diabetes diet. Choose healthy carbohydrates, fiber-rich foods, fish, and “good” fats.

• Healthy carbohydrates. Unlike sugars (simple carbohydrates) and starches (complex carbohydrates), which break down into blood glucose during digestion, these healthy carbohydrates are recommended for a healthy diabetic diet:
o Fruits
o Vegetables
o Whole grains
o Legumes, such as beans and peas
o Low-fat dairy products, like milk and cheese
Try to avoid less healthy carbohydrates, such as foods or drinks with added fats, sugars, and sodium.
• Fiber-rich foods. Dietary fiber is all the parts of plant foods that your body can’t digest or absorb. It moderates how your body digests and helps control your sugar levels. Foods high in fiber include:
o Vegetables
o Fruits
o Nuts
o Legumes, such as beans and peas
o Whole grains
• Heart-healthy fish. Try to eat heart-healthy fish, such as salmon, mackerel, and sardines at least twice a week. They’re rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which may prevent heart disease. Avoid fish that have high levels of mercury, like king mackerel. Also, stay away from fried fish.

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10 Diet Tips for Someone with Diabetes

  1. Be mindful of snacking. Think healthy. Instead of reaching for a bag of chips or some chocolate, try eating fruit, yogurt, unsalted nuts, seeds, or vegetables.
  2. Choose foods rich in vitamins and minerals. Get your vitamins and minerals from foods and not supplements, which haven’t been proven to help manage your diabetes. Supplements can also interact negatively with your medications.
  3. Stay active. Exercising and staying physically active go hand in hand with a healthy diet. Staying active can help you manage your diabetes and reduce your risk of heart disease. Try to shoot for 150 minutes of moderate exercise a week.
  4. Cut down on sodium. A diet high in salt can increase your risk of high blood pressure, which puts you at risk for stroke and heart disease. Try not to add salt to your food and pay attention to labels, which tell you how much sodium is in each serving. Aim for less than 2,300 mg of sodium a day, or less if you have high blood pressure.
  5. Eat less red and processed meat. Instead of red meat, such as beef and lamb, and processed meats, like ham, and bacon, try substituting these foods instead:
    a. Beans and lentils
    b. Eggs
    c. Fish
    d. Poultry, like chicken and turkey
    e. Unsalted nuts
  6. Go lean. Choose recipes with less saturated fat and use lean cuts of meat, skim or low-fat dairy, and vegetables, instead.
  7. Make healthy food substitutions. Making healthy swaps and slight modifications to how and what you cook can help you successfully manage your diabetes and keep your blood sugar levels in check. Here are a few tips:
    a. Replace sugary drinks with water, unsweetened tea, or other low-calorie options
    b. Opt for frozen yogurt over ice cream
    c. Reduce sodium in canned vegetables by rinsing them before cooking
    d. Use non-stick cooking spray instead of butter or oil when cooking
    e. Instead of frying food, try broiling, grilling, or baking
  8. Create a meal plan. Write it down. Eating your meals on schedule and according to a plan will help you keep track of your intake and better manage your blood sugar levels.
  9. Make salads easier. If your lettuce is already cleaned and stored, it’s easier to quickly put together a healthy salad.
  10. Have fruit for dessert. Slice up some sweet strawberries or other fruits and sprinkle them with lemon juice for a healthy dessert that’ll calm your sweet tooth.

Build A Better Diet

Contact the Baptist Health diabetes team if you’re interested in setting up an appointment or e-visit with a provider. You can also visit our main site to learn more about living with diabetes and the services offered for support.


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