These tips will help get you tarted toward a healthier way of eating for life. Set small goals. Making too many changes at once can make the whole process of improving your diet overwhelming. Work with a registered dietitian or a diabetes educator who will help you set small, attainable goals in achieving your ultimate healthy food eating lifestyle. Switch from white bread to whole wheat, start eating one more serving of vegetables each day, or try one new healthful recipe each week. Before you know it, your blood sugars and lipid profiles will improve, you’ll lose weight, and you’ll feel better.
Train your taste buds
If you’re accustomed to eating foods that are salty, very sweet, and laden with fat, eating healthfully will be a challenge at first. Give yourself time for your taste buds to adjust. After a month or so, you’ll stop automatically reaching for the saltshaker; you’ll find desserts you used to enjoy are now just too sweet and fried foods are simply too greasy. You’ll now be enjoying the natural flavors of foods, not the salt, sugar, and fat.
Eat healthy foods, not healthy food products
The most satisfying meals start with fresh unprocessed foods you cook simply. Buying fresh fruits and vegetables to prepare for you and your family will guarantee you’re eating healthfully. Processed foods may shave off a few minutes preparation time, but you get more calories, fat, additives, and preservatives, and less flavor. Some people with diabetes have a tendency to eat packaged foods because the nutrition facts are listed on the label and they don’t have to figure out how many carbohydrates they are having. You’ll eat more healthfully and have meals with better flavor, however, if you avail yourself of online resources or books that list the amount of carbohydrates and other nutrient values of whole raw healthy foods so you can create your own nutritious meals.
Double up on vegetables.
The United States Department of Agriculture recommends that adults get 21⁄2 to 3 cups of vegetables a day. Make it a goal to eat double that amount of non-starchy vegetables every day. These include asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, eggplant, green beans, leafy greens, mushrooms, peppers, radishes, tomatoes, yellow squash, and zucchini. These healthy foods only have a small amount of carbohydrates and you can eat a lot of them with little effect on blood sugars. They fill you up without adding many calories, add fiber to your diet, and boost your nutrient intake. Three cups of non-starchy raw vegetables or 11⁄2 cups of cooked count as 1 Carb Choice.
Each day, you have a carbohydrate, calorie, and fat budget. Take a few minutes each morning to make some decisions about what you’ll be eating that day. If you know you’re going out to dinner with friends, maybe you’ll want to have a light lunch. If it’s a friend’s birthday and you want to enjoy a slice of cake, you might want to limit the other carbohydrates in the same meal. If you think ahead and have a plan already in place at the start of each day, you’ll make wise decisions at each meal. After a while, you’ll make the smart choice without even thinking about it.
Shake the salt habit
Salt has nothing to do with blood sugar levels. An excess amount of salt raises blood pressure by causing your body to retain water, which makes your heart work harder and puts an extra burden on your blood vessels. Heart disease and stroke are the number one causes of death and disability in people with type 2 diabetes. Your body only needs a miniscule amount of sodium—about 200 milligrams a day. Most Americans consume 3,000 to 3,600 milligrams. The American Heart Association recommends that healthy Americans eat less than 1,500 milligrams each day. Work toward eliminating processed food and fast food. Seventy-five percent of sodium Americans consume comes not from the saltshaker at the table, but from processed foods such as prepared mixes, frozen meals, canned soups, and fast foods.
Use low-sodium or no-salt-added canned foods
Beans, tomatoes, tomato sauce, tomato paste, broths, and tuna are all available in lower-sodium versions. You’ll note that almost all those recipes have added salt. The reason is that even with the added salt, the sodium levels are far below what they would be if you used regular versions of these foods. Sodium also lurks in some foods that you would never guess have a lot of salt, so always check the sodium on the label of items such as bread, breadcrumbs, salsas, cereals, pasta sauces, tomato juice, and cheeses.
Moderation is key
A small amount of added salt brings out the natural flavor of food. Without a tiny amount of salt, food can be bland and tasteless. Even dessert recipes contain just a little salt, as it rounds out the flavors and makes sweet foods taste sweeter. Healthy Foods such as broccoli, broccoli rabe, parsnips, and cauliflower have a mild bitter edge. Adding a little salt makes this almost disappear. Recipes that contain reduced-sodium soy sauce, fish sauce, or hoisin sauce, and recipes using cured ham, sausage, or bacon are naturally higher in sodium, so enjoy them only on occasion.
Use kosher salt for cooking
Most serious home cooks and professional chefs use kosher salt instead of table salt for cooking because of its clean natural flavor. But it can help you use less sodium in cooking, too. It’s not because kosher salt contains less sodium—all salt has the same composition—but the crystals of kosher salt are large and irregularly shaped. When measured, kosher salt crystals can’t pack together, so you’ll have less in the
measuring spoon. Because you’re adding salt in smaller increments, you will most likely realize that you don’t need as much.
Add acidity or a fresh herb
If you think a dish needs a little something, instead of adding salt try adding a tiny bit of red or white wine vinegar, sherry vinegar, balsamic vinegar, cider vinegar, lemon juice, or lime juice, depending on the dish. Start by adding just 1⁄4 teaspoon. It’s amazing how just a touch of acidity really wakes up the flavors of soups, stews, sauces, salads, and vegetables. Fresh herbs, even ones as ordinary as chopped parsley, also add a burst of freshness to foods. Try adding a tablespoon of chopped parsley, mint, basil, or cilantro to accentuate the flavor of a dish.
Measure and weigh.
The serving sizes of foods in restaurants and in supermarkets just keep getting bigger. A sandwich roll can weigh 4 or 5 ounces and muffins can be large enough to make three servings. In restaurants, it’s not unusual to be served a 1-pound steak or a baked potato large enough for four. If you’ve never measured serving sizes, this is a good educational exercise to try for a couple weeks. Once you measure out 1⁄2 cup of a bean salad, or 3 ounces of cooked steak, or 1 tablespoon of dessert sauce, you’ll develop an “eye” for estimating portion size and you can put the measuring tools away. It may be a good idea to bring them back out every couple of months just to refresh your memory and retrain your eye. Measuring and weighing food at home and taking note of what it looks like on a plate will keep you on track when you eat out or are at a party.
When you have to estimate
If many scenario you might need to estimate without any proper measurement and this can lead to more intake of particular substance. So to prevent that observe carefully when you measuring properly and this can help you to estimate without any measuring devices.
Be restaurant savvy
Most Americans eat out four to five times a week. And it’s a fun and relaxing way to socialize with friends and family. Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you have cut back on eating out: You simply have to be smarter about it. Consider your carbohydrate budget based on your personal eating plan before you order. Will you choose a small piece of bread and a cup of pasta or rice, or will you have the crostini appetizer, no carbohydrates with your entrée, and treat yourself to dessert? If you start the meal with a budgeted amount of carbohydrates in mind, you’re more likely to order a sensible meal.
Only eat in restaurants that have healthful menu options. If the entire menu is fried, steer clear. Don’t be afraid to ask for sauces or dressings on the side, so you can decide how much to use. Most restaurant meals are large enough for two meals. Eat only half of what you’re served. If you know you can’t resist finishing the meal, have the waiter wrap half of it up for you at once. Consider ordering an appetizer instead of an entrée. If you also have a soup or a salad along with it, most likely, it will be more than enough food.
Make your own treats
If triple-layer chocolate cake is what you consider a real indulgence, then bake the cake from scratch and share it with a dozen friends. This way, enjoying a treat becomes a special social occasion and there won’t be any leftovers to tempt you later. Try this homemade tactic no matter what you have a weakness for, be it French fries, fried chicken, lasagna, or cheese fondue. If you go to the effort of making it yourself and sharing it with a group of friends and family, in all likelihood, you’ll eat the special high-calorie, high-fat food less often.
Eat healthy food together as a family
Whether you’re preparing healthy meals for yourself or for someone who has diabetes, the wholesome foods that are recommended for people with diabetes—whole grains, fruits, and vegetables along with lean protein—are smart choices for everyone. If one person in your family has diabetes, that means others are at risk, so a healthy diet is a preventative measure against them developing type 2 diabetes.
Exercise on most days
Getting active is essential for being healthy—especially when you have diabetes. Exercise can help lower your blood glucose and improve your ability to use insulin. It can also lower blood pressure, improve blood lipids, reduce stress, and help you lose weight. You don’t have to join a gym or take up jogging. No matter what your physical abilities, there are ways to get your body moving. Start slowly and work your way up to about thirty minutes most days of the week. You can power walk, swim, ride a bike or a stationary bike, go dancing, or play tennis. Do what you enjoy and you’ll be more likely to do it often. And don’t overlook the exercise you get from typical daily activities like climbing stairs, gardening, strenuous housecleaning, and walking.
Consult with your health care provider before making any changes in your activity level. The health of your heart and nervous system need to be considered and adjustments may need to be made in your diabetes medications and your diet as you become more active.