Keeping a healthy and balanced diet is the key to successfully manage Type 2 Diabetes. Maintaining an ideal weight and normal blood sugar levels is a must. When you have Type 2 diabetes, your focus is on how to keep your blood sugar level in its normal range.
Persons with type 2 diabetes are often overweight, however eating healthy and staying active can help you meet and maintain your weight loss goal.
Manage your blood sugar by balancing and choosing the right combination of food in order to avoid the cause of diabetes symptoms like frequent thirst, urination, dizziness, headaches, and mood changes.
Healthy, balanced diet for diabetics
To follow a healthy diet you must be aware of the different types of food that will affect your blood sugar. You need carbohydrates to maintain your energy, but carbohydrates will also raise your blood sugar higher and faster than other kinds of foods.
Protein and fats do not have a direct impact on blood sugar levels, but both should be consumed in regulation.
To reach your blood sugar level target, eat variety of food but monitor some portions because foods with high carbohydrates have the most impact on blood sugar level. This is why some people with diabetes count the carbohydrates content of their meals and snacks. Alison Massey, RD, LDN, CDE
Learn which foods have carbohydrates. This will help you on planning the right meal so that you can keep your blood sugar in your target range.
Here’s what you need to know about choosing the best options from each group:
You can eat a variety of food. Try to include foods from the entire food groups at each meal. Eating a wide variety of foods helps you stay healthy.
Fruits and vegetables are naturally low in fat and calories and full of vitamins, minerals and fiber. They also add flavor to every meal. They also help protect against stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure, and some cancers.
Choose fresh or frozen vegetables without sauces, fats or salt.
Non-starchy vegetables include dark green and deep yellow vegetables such as:
- Romain lettuce
- bell peppers.
Here are examples of starchy veggies that have high carbohydrate content:
- green peas
- lima beans
You can eat starchy vegetables moderately.
Choose fresh, frozen, canned (without added sugar or syrup), or unsweetened dried fruits. Everyone should eat least five portions a day.
There are two types of grains:
Whole grains are unprocessed like barley, oatmeal, whole cornmeal, whole – wheat flour, amaranth, sorghum, brown and wild rice.
Refined grains have been milled to remove the bran and germ. Examples are white – flour, white bread, and white rice, degerm cornmeal.
Grains have starch, a complex form of carbohydrates that can raise your blood sugar level. Make sure half of the grains you eat each day are whole grains. Whole grains have lots of fiber that is always good for our body.
Food rich in protein includes meat, poultry, seafood, eggs, beans and peas, nuts, seeds, and processed soy foods. Eat fish and poultry more often. Remove the skin from chicken and turkey. Select lean cuts of beef, veal, pork, or wild game. Remove all visible fat from meat. Bake, roast, broil, grill, or boil instead of frying.
When frying protein foods, use healthy oils such as olive oil.
Eat fish and poultry more often. Remove the skin from chicken and turkey.
When frying protein foods use healthy oils such as olive oil.
These kind of foods are high in protein, which helps in building and replacing muscles. They contain minerals, such as iron which are very important for producing red blood cells.
Have some food from this group every day, with at least 1-2 portions of oily fish a week.
- Serving meat, poultry or a vegetarian alternative like tofu
- Fish pie, grilled fish with masala, or make your own fish cakes
- Eggs scrambled, dry fried, poached or boiled
Choose low-fat dairy products. Be aware that milk, yogurt, and other dairy foods have natural sugar, even when they do not contain added sugar. Consider this when planning meals to stay in your blood sugar target range.
- A bowl of breakfast cereal in the morning, with skimmed milk
- A cheese sandwich packed with salad at lunch time
- Greek Yogurt with fruits.
- Cottage cheese scoop with carrot sticks.
You can satisfy your dairy cravings on a daily basis — but don’t overdo it.
Oils / fats
Oils are not considered a group of food. But they gave nutrients that help you stay healthy. Oils can raise your blood sugar, but not as fast as starch. Oils are also high in calories. Try to use no more than the recommended daily limit of 7 teaspoons. Fat is high in calories, so try to reduce the amount of oil or butter you use in cooking.
Try to use no more than the recommended daily limit of 7 teaspoons. Fat is high in calories, so try to reduce the amount of oil or butter you use in cooking.
Limit your intake of fatty foods, especially those high in saturated fat such as deep-fried foods, butter, bacon. Instead, choose unsaturated foods like nuts, fish, and vegetable oil.
A diet with too much salt can make you more at risk of high blood pressure and stroke. Processed foods can be very high in salt. So try cooking at home where you can control the amount you use.
- Seasoning foods with herbs and spices, instead of salt. Try ginger, lime, and coriander in stir fries, or use spicy harissa paste to add flavor.
- Measuring added salt in cooking with a teaspoon and using less as time goes on. Do it gradually.
- Adding finely chopped coriander leaves to lassi or sprinkle ground cumin and ground coriander seeds.
Maintaining a balanced diet can be difficult especially when you are craving certain foods and while dealing with Type 2 diabetes.
With these alternative food choices, you can keep your blood sugar level low while enjoying a healthy diet. Bon appétit!
What do you think is the best diet for people with Type 2 Diabetes? Share your thoughts below.