Work with your support team; track your intake, exercise; monitor your glucose and blood pressure; medications; and other key items daily. You will be surprised at the results.
- Be sure to eat a wide variety of foods. Having a colorful plate is the best way to ensure that you are eating plenty of fruits, vegetables, meats, and other forms of protein such as nuts, dairy products, and grains/cereals.
- Eat the right amount of calories to maintain a healthy weight.
- Choose foods high in fiber such as whole grain breads, fruit, and cereal. They contain important vitamins and minerals. You need 25 to 35 grams of fiber per day. Studies suggest that people with type 2 diabetes who eat a high fiber diet can improve their blood sugar and cholesterol levels. Similar results have been suggested in some studies in people with type 1 diabetes.
- In women with gestational diabetes, it's important to eat multiple meals and snacks per day as recommended.
- Do not skip meals.
- Eat meals and snacks at regular times every day. If you are taking a diabetes medicine, eat your meals and take your medicine at the same times each day.
- Note: If you are taking some of the newer diabetes drugs, some of these tips may not apply to you; ask your health care provider the tips you should follow.
- Read food labels. Learn how to determine how much sugar or carbohydrates are in the foods that you eat.
- Substitute, don't add. When you eat a sugary food, such as cookies, cakes, or candies, substitute them for another carbohydrate or starch (for example, potatoes) that you would have eaten that day. Make sure that you account for this in your carbohydrate budget for the day. If it is added to your meal for the day, then remember to adjust your insulin dose for the added carbohydrates so you can continue to maintain glucose control as much as possible. In other words, readjust your medications if you do add sugars to you meals.
- Sugary foods can be fattening. Many foods that have a lot of table sugar are very high in calories and fat. If you are watching your weight (and many people with diabetes must), you need to eat these foods in moderation!
- Check your blood sugar after eating sugary foods and talk to your health care provider about how to adjust your insulin if needed when eating sugars.
- Ultimately, the total grams of carbohydrates -- rather than what the source of the sugar is -- is what needs to be accounted for in the nutritional management of the person with diabetes.