In 2019, 11.3% of all American adults had diabetes, and almost 30% of those over 65 years old had diabetes. Diabetes is a risk factor for serious health conditions, such as neuropathy or vision loss, due to high blood glucose levels.
While diabetes can be a challenging disease, diet is one of the best ways to manage it in addition to medication and exercise. Here’s more on eating well so you can live well with diabetes.
Correcting an Unbalanced Diet Requires a Meal Plan
For many Americans, fats and sugars make up too much of their diet. Combined with a sedentary lifestyle, fats and sugars pack on the pounds, raise blood cholesterol levels, elevate blood pressure, and increase the risk of adult-onset diabetes, or type 2 diabetes.
To balance blood sugar levels, people with diabetes need to regulate the amount of sugar – or glucose – that they consume. This can be done in a variety of ways. Regular exercise and a diet low in carbohydrates help the body manage the amount of glucose in the blood so that your blood sugar does not spike to dangerous levels. Some individuals also need to take insulin as they cannot produce enough on their own or their body does not respond to their own insulin.
A sensible diabetic meal plan is more than just a low carb diet. It should consider the following life elements, such as:
- Overall health and health goals
- Lifestyle – including stress, exercise, and diet preferences
How to Make a Diabetic Meal Plan
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says the best way to regulate blood sugar levels–and prevent the highs and lows that make you feel weak and sick–is to have a meal plan. You can approach a meal plan one of two ways:
- Count your carbohydrate intake for each meal and plan your food accordingly
- Using the plate method, in which carbs should only take up about one quarter of your plate at each meal.
Your primary care provider or nutritionist can help you determine how many carbs you need daily and show you lists of foods and their carb content. If you opt for the plate method, half your plate should have non-starchy vegetables like salad, broccoli, andgreen beans. The remaining area of your plate should be split so that a quarter of your plate contains low-fat protein, such as chicken or beans, and the last quarter contains carbohydrates, such as fruits or starchy vegetables.
Watch Your Portion Sizes
Everyone’s diet, including the diabetics, must be properly portioned. Sadly, today’s restaurant portions are huge–often equal to three or four times what you should be eating in one sitting.
So, when you go out to eat, try to only eat half of your meal at the restaurant and box the rest to eat at home the next day. Remember to look at the nutritional information on the menu (or ask your server for nutritional info) so you can make a selection that works with your diet.
Finally, the CDC recommends an easy guide to portion sizes, using your hand to determine how big of a serving is on your plate. For instance, a serving of fish, meat, or poultry that is as big as the palm of your hand is about three ounces, while the size of your fist is equal to one cup or one serving of a medium-sized fruit. Ask your PCP or nutritionist for a complete breakdown of this on-the-go meal planning tool.
Diabetes Management in Oviedo, FL
If you are struggling with diabetes, an appropriate diet, or both, see Adriel Perez – a certified family nurse practitioner – at the Diabetes & Weight Loss Center. He uses evidence-based strategies to design diet plans that work for patients and their lifestyles. Adriel Perez cares deeply about his patients and teaches them how to manage their blood sugar levels so they can live well with diabetes.
Call us today at (407) 890-1876 to arrange an in-person consultation or request your appointment here. We look forward to serving you!