By Archana Arora, Senior Dietician, at Health Factory
Effective diabetic management requires a healthy lifestyle which should include a balanced diet, regular exercise and sensible weight control.
Eating right is vital if you’re trying to prevent or control diabetes. A healthy diet contains carbohydrates, protein and fats. Our body needs all three to function properly. The key is a balanced diet.
Carbohydrates have a big impact on your blood sugar levels—more so than fats and proteins—but you don’t have to avoid them. The serving size and type of carbohydrate you eat are especially important.
Principles to prevent or manage your diabetes
1. Eat grains in least processed state possible “unbroken” such as whole kernel bread, brown rice, Quinoa, barley or traditionally processed like bulgur, couscous
2. Consume non-starchy vegetables, beans & fruits since they are a good source of fiber and they are digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels more even.
3. Eat a healthful type protein at most meals such as fish, skinless chicken and beans.
4. Select foods with healthy fats such as olive oil, nuts and avocado. Limit saturated fat and completely eliminate “Trans fats” which are mostly found in bakery goods, fast foods and packaged foods.
5. Have three meals and two snacks in between each day and don’t skip breakfast.
6. Eat slowly Make your indulgence count by eating slowly and paying attention to flavors and texture. You will enjoy it more, plus you’re less likely to overeat.
7. Replace soft-drinks, energy drinks, soda, and juice with water these drinks are loaded with sugars. Even calorie-free drinks contain unhealthy sweeteners.
8. Check food labels to spot added sugar Aside from obvious ones- sugar, honey and molasses, added sugar can appear as cane syrup, high-fructose corn syrup, malt syrup, dextrose, maltose’ and more.
9. Opt for full fat dairy products & deserts instead buy unsweetened and add sweetener or fruit yourself. This is because fat slows down the digestive process, meaning blood sugar levels don’t spike as quickly. That doesn’t mean, however, that you should reach for the donuts. Snack Smartly Think healthy, such as peanut butter, ricotta cheese, yogurt, or some nuts.
10. Indulge sensibly Eat small portion of sweet with a meal, rather than as a stand-alone snack. When eaten on their own, sweets and desserts cause your blood sugar to spike. But if you eat them along with other healthy foods as part of your meal, your blood sugar won’t rise as rapidly.
11. Eat at regular set times and keep your portions in check Regulating the amount of calories you eat on a day-to-day basis has an impact on the regularity of your blood sugar levels. So, Aim for moderate and consistent portion sizes for each meal or snack and maintain a regular meal schedule.
12. Keep a food diary It helps you identify problem areas. It also increases your awareness of what, why, and how much you’re eating, which helps you to be in discipline.
13. Exercise Regular exercise improves insulin sensitivity means better control on your sugar levels. You don’t have to become a gym rat or adopt a grueling fitness regimen. One of the easiest ways is to start walking for 30minutes five or more times a week. You can also do swimming, biking or any other activity of your interest.