This is a guest post by our Summer Intern, Odelya Niknam.
Did you know that there are millions of Americans who live with or are at a risk of diabetes? Following a diabetic diet can be tough, but is crucial for helping control blood sugar levels in diabetics.
What is a diabetic diet you may ask? The focus is on a moderate carbohydrate intake and reducing added sugars. The diabetic diet emphasizes protein, healthy fats, and portion controlled consumption of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. Let's dive into how this diet actually works.
Carbohydrates is an important macronutrient necessary in our diet, but moderation is key when following a consistent carbohydrate diet. The goal is eating the same amount of carbs at each meal to create consistency within your body. This is ideal for helping keep track of carb intake from day to day. It's important to familiarize yourself with healthy food options:
Fruits: low glycemic index (GI value of 55 or less) are always the safe choice
Vegetables: include non-starchy and starchy
Dairy: nonfat or low fat
Protein: preferably lean/ reduced fat; poultry without the skin, seafood high in Omega 3-fatty acids and any plant- based proteins
Grains: whole grains are recommended
The 4 Corners
Try portion controlling your plate into four corners to ensure you're eating a balanced diet at every meal. Two corners of the plate should be filled with some good ole’ veggies. Another corner should be filled with some kind of protein, and the final corner should include some grain. Fruit, dairy or a cup of a drink should eaten last, in the appropriate serving size of course. Be sure to limit fats to 3-5 servings a day. With easy made portions, you ought to feel good about your meal! Use this interactive tool from the American Diabetes Assocation to help create your plate.
Even small amounts of physical activity has its health benefits! Some benefits include:
Improved blood sugar & blood pressure levels
Enhanced blood flow
Mood improvement; emotionally and mentally
Weight control/ loss
Lower risk for heart disease
Improved nerve health
Pursuing a healthy eating plan and staying active are the best ways to control your blood glucose level and prevent any serious complications. Eat healthy foods, focus on portion control, and spend time managing your glucose levels. What you choose to eat, how much you eat and when you eat are three important factors to always keep in mind.
Odelya Niknam is a student at Queens College majoring in Nutrition and Dietetics. We are very excited to have her as our Stef Health Tips Summer 2018 Intern. Learn more about Odelya in this introductory blog post.