Healthy Foods For Diabetics
There are many people facing diabetes in this society. In fact, according to the American Association of Diabetes, in 2017, the statistics showed that 30 million people in the US have diabetes. That’s about 33% of adult US population! This disease has many side effects making it an absolute necessity to make better food choices. Healthy foods for Diabetics, weight management, & exercise are vital in everyday life and not easy to accomplish.
One of the major task that diabetics have to do every day is monitor their glucose levels and manage their weight. What they eat and drink from day-to-day plays a big role when trying to keep their glucose levels healthy. In this article I want to help diabetics find the right foods that will help with this task.
Glucose, also known as “blood sugar” is a key substance in keeping the functions in the body in top working order. It is a sugar that is the simplest of carbohydrates. Fat and glucose are both the body’s preferred sources of fuel in the form of carbohydrates according to Health Line. It is found in products like bread, fruits, vegetables, and dairy. Glucose is very important to the body, but it can have its unhealthy levels which can lead to permanent side effects such as diabetes.
The pancreas plays a big role in how the body processes’ glucose. It produces insulin which is a much-needed hormone when processing glucose. Some cases of diabetes occur when the pancreas doesn’t produce insulin in the way it should. Other cases are when the liver doesn’t recognize insulin, known as insulin resistance. People with these medical diseases have to regularly check their blood sugar using tools like the Contour TS from eBay. They also have to follow diet plans that accommodate for and control their glucose levels. Which leads me to my next topic, “Healthy Foods for Diabetics”.
Diabetics Plate Rule
Nutrition is very important for everyone, but especially for diabetics. Following a healthy diet plan leads to a healthier life style and a healthier blood glucose level.
Diabetics can eat a variety of healthy foods, but they should eat smaller portions and less times a day. For lunch and dinner, using a 9-inch plate, as a “golden rule” for diabetics, serve half of the plate with non-starchy vegetables. On one quarter of the plate a lean meat or other protein (beans), and on the remaining quarter add a grain or other starch. It’s even okay to add a small side dish of fruit.
The food groups listed below can be used when planning your meals. If you are over weight or obese, you may have a diet plan that’s given to you from your health care provider. More than likely it will still include foods from these food groups, but with allowed portion sizes for that diet plan.
Non-starchy vegetables include:
Starchy vegetables include:
- Green Peas
- At least half of the grains you eat should include “whole grains” (a Super Food for Diabetes), found in breads, pasta, cereal, and tortillas.
- Lean meat; Chicken or Turkey (Please remove the skin since this is where most of the fat is stored)
- Fish High in Omega-3 Fatty Acids – Super Food
- Eggs (Eggs whites are the best)
- Nuts – Super Food (Unsalted)
- Dried Beans, chickpeas, split peas (When using canned, be sure to rinse them off so that excess salt is removed)
Dairy Products (Non-Fat or Low-Fat):
- Milk (You can substitute with a lactose-free milk if necessary)
- Yogurt – Super Food (Greek Non-Fat yogurt WITHOUT High Fructose Corn Syrup)
Skip The Meat
If you’re trying to skip the meats but still need the protein, I’ll let you in on a little secret; There are a lot of beans that have as much protein in them as meat, high in fiber, and are packed with vitamins and minerals such as magnesium and potassium.
- Black Beans
Trying To Cut the Carbs?
If you are trying to cut out the carbs, just remember that low-carb vegetables grow above ground and vegetables containing higher carbs grow below ground. They all have great health benefits, but just use precaution when on a low-carb diet.
- Spinach (High in Calcium, fiber, and protein)
- Avocado (Heart Healthy)
- Asparagus (Magnesium, calcium, fiber, protein)
- Black Olives (High in fiber, iron, copper, and vitamin E)
- Tomatos (High in Vitamin C and a Super Food)
- Cucumber (Very Rich in hydrating properties)
- Zucchini (Vitamin C, B-6, Potassium)
A little higher in Carbs, but still low:
- Cauliflower (High in fiber, potassium, and protein – considered a Super Food)
- Kale (A good source for Calcium, potassium, fiber, and protein; Super Food)
- Green Beans
- Brussel Sprouts
- Peppers (Vitamin C)
Higher Carbs From Veggies Growing Below Ground:
- Sweet Potato (One of the highest in carbs but considered a Super Food)
Here is an amazing ebook! “The Ultimate Diabetic Cookbook”.
What Should Diabetics NOT Eat?
Diabetics should stay clear from trans fats that are found in margarine, peanut butter, spreads, creamers and even in frozen dinners. Trans fats are known to increase inflammation, insulin resistance and belly fat. It also lowers what’s known as “good” HDL cholesterol levels. Trade products containing these fats out by using olive oil and healthy fats from nuts and seeds. Other heart healthy foods include salmon, tuna, mackerel, and avocado. Trans fats are also found any crackers, muffins, fried foods, baked goods, candy, and ice cream.
High-carb processed foods should also be avoided. These include white bread, rice and pasta. They tend to increase blood sugar levels in people with type 1 and type 2 diabetes. Another high-carb product to avoid is sugar-sweetened beverages. They contain fructose which studies have shown to be linked to insulin resistance and diabetes.
Managing Weight and Exercise
Believe it or not, managing your weight and getting proper exercise can help decrease your risk for diabetes complications. For starters, just by make better food choices as discussed earlier, will support your health needs, give you more energy, and achieve your weight loss goals.
Setting GOAL’s that are achievable can be a great start! Set goals and write reminders down, add a sticky note to your desktop screen, the frig, your bathroom mirror, or even add a daily reminder alarm to your phone. A goal? Yes, believe it or not, when we set goals for ourselves to go after it, it’s no longer a thought, it will become real to you!
Specific goals that you know you can achieve, Example:
- Goal: Lose 5 pounds in 2 weeks
- Start a log book and write down what your weight is that day and date it
- Write down everything that you eat during each day…. EVERYTHING!
- If you see that you aren’t losing, change something in your food choices… Less portion or different food
- Only change one thing at a time so you will know what helped and what didn’t
Want to lose weight?
Set an Eating Goal and make a Plan. Substitute that bowl of ice cream or bag of chips that you eat every day for some fresh fruit. Write down what time of day you plan to make this change and be consistent. Make a list of items that you need to buy at the grocery store a head of time. This cookbook, Diabetic Living Diabetes Meals by the Plate: 90 Low-Carb Meals to Mix & Match is another great place to start when trying to plan out the meals you can eat for your diet.
Make a goal to drink WATER every day and how much you plan to drink. Your body needs 64 ounces of water a day at minimum. If you get tired of drinking water try this hydrating detox water with cucumber, lemon, and ginger mix from an earlier post.
- 1/2 lemon
- 6 slices of cucumber
- 1 inch peeled ginger
- Add 20 ounces of water and refrigerate for 1 hour
This drink will help with hydration along with providing some extra vitamin C and energy.
Write down and EXERCISE plan for each day of the week:
- Monday: Briskly Walk 20 minutes take the stairs or walk uphill
- Tuesday: Briskly Walk 25 minutes and do some Aerobic Exercise for another 25 minutes
- Wenesday: Briskly Walk 30 minutes and do some strength training for another 20 minutes
- Thursday: Briskly Walk 20 minutes and do some jump rope
- Friday: Take a short brisk walk (20 minutes) and relax in a Hot bath with some Epsom salt that night.
***Did you know you can burn up to 110 calories just by relaxing in a hot bath? Yelp, you do! So what’s stopping you?
- For the Weekend: Wash the car, rake some leaves, dance, go hiking or swimming (do something you love doing, but with benefits)
Thanks for visiting my site and reading my article. I love the outdoors, riding my motorcycle, walking, raking leaves, playing with my grand kids; all of which are healthy exercises. Exercises can be fun and enjoyable as well as beneficial, along with eating healthier. You’ll feel better, have more energy, look better, be happier, and live a long and healthier life.
I hope you found my post helpful and rewarding. My intentions are to boost your confidence and give you encouragement for that diabetic health condition you suffer from. You may not be able to overcome it, but you can learn ways to live with it and still enjoy life!
Please leave me any comments, questions, or suggestions in the reply box below.
Thanks and Best of Luck,
American Diabetes Association: http://www.diabetes.org/food-and-fitness/weight-loss/