If you were recently diagnosed with diabetes, you may be at a loss when it comes to meal times. While you know you have to watch what you eat, you may be confused about what is good or bad for you. If so, use the following tips to simplify your food choices when you first start changing your diet to help manage your diabetes.
1. Stay Away From Solid Fats
When you have diabetes, you are automatically more at risk for heart disease and peripheral artery disease. Because of this risk, you have to watch how much fat you consume.
However, you should not eliminate all fat from your diet. Since good, healthy fats break down in the body at a slower pace than carbohydrates, they are essential for stabilizing and maintaining your blood glucose levels.
If you are confused about which fats are bad for you, a rule of thumb is to stay away from solid fats. Fats such as lard, shortening, and dairy fats are thicker than clear oils. Many of these solid fats are also hydrogenated, which makes them harder to digest and worse for your system.
Instead of solid fats, opt for clear, liquid ones when cooking and seasoning your foods. Use safflower and canola oils to sauté vegetables, and replace butter or margarine with a spritz of olive oil flavored with herbs to season your foods.
2. Judge Your Portions by Looking at Your Plate
While researching the foods you can eat on a diabetic diet, you will most likely read a lot about portion sizes. However, you may have a distorted idea as to what constitutes a typical portion size, since the typical portions presented in restaurants and even at home are usually much larger than recommended.
Once you have gotten the hang of portion control after living with diabetes for a while, you will learn how much of each type of food you can eat. However, if you are just beginning to make changes to your diet, measuring out portions can seem overwhelming.
Instead of stressing yourself out about measuring your food each time you eat, judge the portion sizes by looking at your plate and seeing how proportionate the foods appear. At least half of your plate should contain vegetables, while the other half should be divided into two by whole grains and protein.
If you follow this rule, you should usually have the right amounts of each type of these three food groups. Add a glass of low-fat milk and a piece of fibrous fruit, and you will have a balanced, healthy meal that supports your diabetic needs.
3. Opt for Whole Foods Over Processed Ones
Before you received your diagnosis, you may have frequently resorted to cooking convenience foods that were prepackaged and ready to cook in the microwave. However, these types of meals are overly processed and contain large amounts of sugars, bad fats, and tons of preservatives.
Even if you opt for convenience foods that are designated as healthy or low-fat, they can still be unhealthy. If a prepackaged food has lower fat, it probably has large amounts of sugar to make up for the deficit in flavor.
Instead of eating these processed foods, cook your own meals using foods that contain lots of lean protein, vegetables, and whole grains. The closer the foods are to their natural state, the less they have of any chemical processing and unhealthy additives.
The above tips represent only a part of what you can do to make the right food choices after being diagnosed with diabetes. If you have concerns and need more guidance, call and make an appointment with Cedar Grove Medical Associates LLC so we can discuss your current diet and provide you with personalized advice on what changes you should make.