The right diet can transform a case of type 2 diabetes while the wrong foods can lead to dangerous complications. Learn tips and tricks for eating with diabetes.
Food is an important part of our culture. We don’t eat just to sustain ourselves — we celebrate with food, and we often mourn with it too. So it’s not surprising that if you’ve just been told that you have type 2 diabetes, one of your first thoughts will probably be, “but what will I eat?”
Luckily, it’s not so difficult to eat well and enjoy food even if you have diabetes.
The first thing is to learn the basics.
Type 2 Diabetes: Diets
There’s no one-size-fits-all type of diabetic diet. Some people respond well to carbohydrate counting (keeping track of the amount of carbohydrates you ingest with each food product), others to portion control (adjusting portion size to produce desired blood sugar levels), and yet others to the diabetes food pyramid (eating a set number of portions of specific foods throughout the day). It may take some trial and error for you to find what works best for you, but your dietitian can help you with this, as can information from the American Diabetes Association.
Type 2 Diabetes: Food Choices
Meal planning for someone with type 2 diabetes is about healthy eating with a balance of carbohydrates, proteins, and fats.
So, what should you choose?
- Fruits and vegetables are usually good choices, but be careful not to eat too much fruit. Check with your dietitian to see how much is recommended.
- Non-starchy vegetables are a good choice. These include spinach, carrots, broccoli, and green beans.
- Eat whole-grain foods, such as brown rice and whole wheat pasta.
- Include legumes like lentils, kidney, or pinto beans in your meal plans.
- Choose fish over meat two to three times a week.
- For meat, choose lean pork or beef, or chicken or turkey with the skin removed.
- Dairy (cheese, yogurt, milk) is important, but go for non-fat versions, even for ice cream.
Type 2 Diabetes: Foods to Avoid
- Sodas are chock-full of sugar, as are fruit punches and other sugar-sweetened drinks. So opt for diet drinks or water.
- Sugary snacks (cookies, cakes, chips, ice cream) fill you up with empty calories. Choose healthier snack options instead.
Type 2 Diabetes: Cooking
When trying to follow a healthy diet, how you cook your food makes a big difference in the end product.
Here the expert advice.
- Baking or broiling instead of frying.
- Using extra-virgin olive oil instead of vegetable oil.
- Limiting trans fats (found in many processed foods and foods cooked in oil) and saturated fats (found in meats and whole milk) to less than 20 grams per day, if possible.
- Limiting sodium (salt) to 2,000 to 2,400 grams per day, unless you’re on a sodium-restricted diet. In that case, you should follow your doctor’s recommendations.
- Choosing fresh or frozen foods over canned.
In addition, unless you have a fluid restriction, take in six to eight glasses of unsweetened clear liquids per day. It’s recommended to drink a glass of water before and a glass of water after each meal.
Eating well is one of the pleasures of life. If you have type 2 diabetes, you don’t have to forgo the enjoyment of food. You just have to adapt and change your eating habits and, maybe, some of the foods you eat.
Most Healthy Diet Tips: –