If you are a diabetic, your doctor might have advised you to pay proper attention to nutrition and diet. Your diet plan is the major part of your treatment program. Nutrition experts say that there is no specific diet for diabetes. But the only thing they suggest is to pay special attention to carbohydrate intake. Diabetes patients should always take same amount of food at the same time everyday to keep blood sugar levels stable.
What Constitutes Balanced Diet?
Here is the advice on what constitutes well-balanced diet for a diabetic patient.
Eat More Starches
Nutrition experts advise you to take more starches such as bread, cereal and starchy vegetables. You can have cold cereal with nonfat milk or a bagel with a teaspoon of jelly for breakfast. Another way for starch adding is to add cooked black beans, corn or garbanzo beans to salads or casseroles.
Eat Fruits and Vegetables
Have a piece of fruit or two as a snack, or add vegetables to chili, stir-fried dishes or stews. You can also take raw vegetables or snacks during lunchtime.
Eat Sugars and Sweets in Moderation
Take your favorite sweets in your diet only once or twice a week. Split a dessert to satisfy your sweet tooth while reducing the sugar, fat and calories.
Take Fiber Foods
Soluble fibers are mainly found in fruits, vegetables and some seeds. They are very useful for diabetic patients because they help to slow down or reduce the absorption of glucose from the intestines. Legumes are also among the highest soluble fiber foods. Other fiber-containing foods such as carrots also have a positive effect on blood sugar levels. Insoluble fibers act as intestinal scrubbers by cleaning out the lower gastrointestinal tract.
Nutrition Treatment for Diabetes
After diabetes diagnosis consult a dietitian and get a meal plan to get started. Your dietician will give proper diet advice after considering your lifestyle, medication, weight and any medical conditions you may have in addition to diabetes, as well as your favorite foods. He will help you create a diet plan that prevents complications of diabetes, but still gives you pleasure in eating.
To control carbohydrates content in diet, follow the technique of carbohydrate counting. Carbohydrate counting means “counting the total number of grams of carbohydrates you should eat at a meal or planned snack time based on your medication and exercise habits”. According to the counting, you can make a diet plan that meets those carbohydrate needs. If you want to know more about carbohydrate counting consult your dietitian or a diabetes educator.
People with diabetes are at higher risk for heart problems. So, it’s often recommended that they limit fat below 30 percent of total daily calories by eating less overall fat and less saturated fat. They should also watch cholesterol; choose smaller portions of lean meats, poultry and fish, and low or non-fat dairy products. To know about the fat rich and low fat food items consult your dietician.
Always remember that it takes time to learn how to adjust to the changes in your diet and lifestyle after a diabetes diagnosis. With practice and help, you can have a satisfying but balanced diet and also keep your blood sugar levels under control.