For Diabetics, Adopting a Better Diet Can Be Simple and Delicious
Prepared for Recipe4Living by Tanya Zuckerbrot, MS, RD, author of The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories & Fat Disappear – with Fiber! (Hyperion, 2012)
Diabetes is a serious medical condition that cannot be ignored. If you have been diagnosed with Type 2 diabetic consider it a wakeup call that some lifestyle changes are needed, starting with diet.
Anyone with diabetes needs to manage their blood glucose level with periodic checks during the day and at night. You must choose what you eat with care because certain foods and beverages raise blood sugar to unhealthy levels. Being overweight elevates blood sugar as well, so if you need to lose weight you’ll want to avoid foods that are high in calories and fat.
Adopting an appropriate diet isn’t difficult – and it needn’t affect your enjoyment of food or change your lifestyle. You can go on preparing and sharing normal meals, dine out, travel, celebrate -- even drink alcohol in moderation. By becoming more conscious of what you can eat as a diabetic you will be able to zero in on the healthy foods you already enjoy and are familiar with, while opening yourself to a variety of delicious foods you may not have tried before. Let the basics of healthy eating be your guide:
Go for high-fiber carbohydrates. Choose brown rice instead of white rice, and whole grain and whole wheat bread rather than refined white bread. Pick high fiber, whole grain cereals instead of ones that are highly processed. Read food labels for products that list whole wheat as the first ingredient and those that contain at least five grams of fiber for every 15grams of carbs, which tells you they are a good source of fiber.
Eat an array of brightly colored fruits and vegetables. These are tasty, nutritious, versatile and rich in belly filling fiber.
Avoid foods that are high in fat. Avoid high fat meats and full fat cheeses which are high in saturated fats. Instead go for lean proteins such as chicken, fish, lean cuts of beef and low-fat cheese and Greek yogurt. Eating a low fat diet will help you lose weight and keep it off.
Steer clear of sugary beverages. Drinking bottled juices and sodas will cause blood glucose levels to spike and plummet. Always eat rather than drink your fruits. Quench your thirst with water first and if you need a sweeter option go for sugar- free beverages such as Crystal Light, iced tea, coffee or diet sodas.
Combine lean proteins with high fiber carbohydrates. This winning duo takes a long time to digest, filling you up and giving you plenty of energy to burn after you eat. Great examples for lunch or dinner are a turkey sandwich on a whole wheat pita pocket or salmon with broccoli.
For more tips on healthy eating, drinking and weight loss, check out my new book The Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with Fiber!
Tanya Zuckerbrot MS, RD, is a registered dietitian in New York City and author of the Miracle Carb Diet: Make Calories and Fat Disappear – with fiber as well as the bestselling F-Factor Diet. In partnership with the Hain Celestial Group, Tanya has a national line of high-fiber foods marketed under the F-Factor name. Become a fan of Tanya on Facebook, follow her on Twitter and LinkedIn, and visit her website Ffactor.com.