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Be picky. Choose the right foods to keep your diabetes in check. Try to cook at home instead of going out. It's easier to keep track of what you eat when you make your own meals.

Use these ideas as motivation for cooking delicious, good-for-you meals. Keep these strategies in mind when you dine out too.

1. Think whole.

Use brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Look for 100% whole wheat flour and breads as well as other whole grains such as oats and barley.

Make the switch simple. For instance, if you are short on time, pop a packet of pre-cooked frozen brown rice into the microwave.

2. Fill up!

Aim for at least 8 grams of fiber per meal, especially when you eat carbohydrate-rich foods. It will help manage your blood sugar, keep you feeling full, and be good for your heart health. That’s extra important because diabetes makes  heart disease more likely.

Try:

  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Fruits like apples, pears, berries, and citrus fruit
  • Vegetables like sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, and beets

 

3. Replace some carbs with good fat.

Monounsaturated fats -- nuts, avocadoes, olive oil, and canola oil -- can help lower your  blood sugar. Just avoid huge portions so you don’t take in too many calories.

Add nuts and avocado to salads and entrees. Look for salad dressings, marinades, and sauces made with canola or olive oil. You can also cook with these two oils.

4. Eat foods that won't spike blood sugar.

Foods that aren't likely to cause a big rise in blood sugar include meat, poultry, fish, avocados, salad vegetables, eggs, and cheese. Adding these items to your plate will help balance the foods you eat that contain carbs.

5. Go lean.

Choose recipes with less saturated fat. Maybe skip that cream sauce and look for lean cuts of meat, skim or low-fat dairy, and vegetable sources of protein like beans, lentils, or nuts.

6. Check the fine print.

Does your recipe spell out what the calories, carbs, fiber, and fat are? That info comes in handy. Then all you have to do is stick to the suggested serving size and you’ll know exactly what you get.