There is a lot of information available about diabetes and eating right. While everyone is unique and our bodies respond differently to foods, we can still make 3 changes towards a healthier lifestyle. These tips are general guidelines to get us moving in the right direction. When you are ready to learn more about carbohydrate counting and managing diabetes, discuss your intake with a registered dietitian.
- Eat a non-starchy vegetable at every meal.
Non-starchy vegetables include almost every vegetable with the exception of corn, potatoes, peas, beets and winter squashes. Non-starchy vegetables contain very little carbohydrates, but are packed with nutrients. They are low on the glycemic index and a good source of fiber, which allows for slower digestion and a slower rise in blood sugar. Each color provides us with a different phytochemical and they all contain multiple vitamins and minerals. Another benefit is the non-starchy vegetable takes a spot on our plate so we don’t over-eat foods high in carbohydrates.
- Drink enough water.
We take for granted the importance of water at times. When it comes to diabetes, one rule of thumb is to make sure we are properly hydrated. Almost half of our blood is made up of water (found in the form of plasma). Considering the blood is where sugar can accumulate and cause damage, if we consistently maintain sufficient amounts of water in our blood there is less space for sugar. Goals vary by person and other diseases, but the general rule is to drink 64 oz. (8-8 oz. glasses, 4-16 oz. bottles or 2 liters) on a daily basis.
- Follow a routine.
Our bodies are well-oiled machines in the fact that they were designed to maintain our blood sugar at a consistent level regardless of the external conditions. Unfortunately, with diabetes our body loses its ability to regulate our blood sugar as efficiently although organs continue to try to help. By skipping meals or going long periods without eating (roughly 4 hours after a meal ends), our body puts glucose in our blood since we haven’t. When we follow a routine and eat regularly, our body doesn’t need to help with glucose production as we provide it from food sources.
Every change counts, no matter how small or easy, so start by making a change today and over time it will become habit!
Adrien Paczosa is a Registered and Licensed Dietitian practicing in Austin, Texas and the surrounding counties.
She is the owner and founder of I Live Well Nutrition her Dietitian practice which started in 2007 and serves clients in the Austin, Texas area in two locations. Fearless Practitioners, the division of her business that offers training to dietitians and wellness professionals.