A Diabetes Diet Doesn’t Have to Be Complicated

Receiving a diabetes diagnosis or being told you are pre-diabetic can be an overwhelming experience. Suddenly, you’re being told your entire lifestyle has to change. First, take a deep breath. It is important to take diabetes seriously, but there is a lot you can do to keep yourself healthy and manage the disease without missing out on life as you know it.

A diabetic diet simply translates into eating a variety of nutritious foods in moderate amounts and sticking to regular mealtimes to regulate blood sugar. Diabetics are never recommended to follow a restrictive diet, but are encouraged to focus on a healthy-eating plan that is rich in nutrients, low in saturated fat, and emphasizes fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods.

Rethink Your Drink. The primary concern for diabetics is to keep their blood sugar stable without sudden spikes or crashes. Sweet tea, sodas, juices and lemonades are a concentrated source of sugar with no additional nutritional value.

Tip: Invest in a reusable water bottle and stay well hydrated throughout the day. Enjoy a glass of low-fat milk with meals, and limit 100% juice to four ounces daily.

Eat On Schedule. For diabetics, eating in regular intervals throughout the day, every three to four hours, is ideal to help manage blood sugar. Going long periods of time without food and mindlessly snacking within a short period of time should be avoided.

Tip: Create a few menus that include healthy breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks options. American Diabetes Association offers diabetic friendly menu planning tools.

Dairy Goodness. Including sources of dairy in your diet is an easy way to get calcium and high-quality protein. Dairy products, like non-fat light yogurt, can be eaten as a diabetic friendly dessert. If you are lactose intolerant, try lactose-free milk—it is real dairy milk with the same essential nutrients.

Tip: Whether on a plate or in a glass, low-fat dairy foods should be a part of each meal.

Incorporating these strategies into your daily routine will prove it is possible to control diabetes and its devastating consequences.

Rebecca TurnerRebecca Turner, MS, RD, CSSD, LD