When I was young I watched my parents suffer from diabetes. I watched it eat away their lives and steal my childhood from me. Often, my parents were too sick or too tired to spend time with me. Over time my mother’s diabetes developed into more problems. She couldn’t control her bipolar disorder or her weight. Diabetes is a headache, but one that can be managed. I was lucky to avoid having diabetes, but I try to help others who do have it.
When you have diabetes, you know the food and exercise choices you make each day will affect how you feel. They also play a significant role in whether you come down with common complications, like eye damage and heart disease. But figuring out the right lifestyle changes to make can be a difficult task.
Follow these dietary do’s and don’ts.
Eating right is a key part of promoting healthy blood sugar levels. But adjusting your eating and exercise habits doesn’t have to be a difficult task at all. Use these simple tips to stay on track.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and legumes (beans, peanuts, peas).
- Eat lean protein, such as fish, poultry or tofu.
- Eat healthful fats, which can be found in coldwater fish, raw nuts and seeds, and extra-virgin olive oil.
- Eat moderate amounts of fruit (1-2 servings per day).
- Exercise at least 30 minutes a day
- Eat too many processed foods.
- Eat a lot of red meat (limit to 1 serving per week).
- Eat carbohydrate filled, starchy foods, such as pasta, cereals and other grain-based foods.
- Use sugar or artificial sweeteners to enhance the flavor of food or consume products containing these ingredients.
Watch your portions.
Quantity is equally important as quality. Overeating can lead to weight gain, and excess pounds are a known factor in insulin resistance. Here are some rules about serving sizes to help you choose a healthy amount of food at every meal.
Fish, chicken or meat: 3-4 ounces, about the size of a standard deck of playing cards
Egg whites: 4-6 (or about 1/2 cup liquid egg whites from a carton)
Cheese: 1 ounce, about the size of a domino
Cooked pasta, rice and beans
1/2 cup, or the size of half a tennis ball
Raw: 1 cup, or the size of a tennis ball
Cooked: 1/2 cup
Remember, take your time, and create a diet and exercise routine based on your own personal needs. Diabetes doesn’t mean you have to miss on on the great adventures of life, just know what’s right for you. Happy eating!