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Diabetes Care: Managing Your Time When You Have Diabetes

Diabetes care can be time-consuming. Here are some tips to help you keep up.

Doctors' Visits

These days, doctors' visits can be quick, 15-minute sessions. The key to getting the most from your appointment: plan ahead.

  • Write a list of questions and concerns before your visit so you don't forget anything important. Do you have any new symptoms? Have you had trouble with low blood sugar? Do you have questions about foods or medications? Be your own advocate. "You shouldn't take for granted that your provider's going to cover anything," says Andrea Zaldivar, MS, C-ANP, CDE, clinical director at North General Diagnostic and Treatment Center.
  • Bring all of your medications in a bag for your doctor to review. Include your diabetes drugs and those for other health conditions.
  • When you talk with your doctor, mention your top concerns first. Don't save them for last, or you may not have time to address them adequately.
  • Write down what your doctor says so that you can remember the instructions. Or bring a friend or relative to help take notes.

Meal Planning

With today's busy schedules, it's hard for everybody -- not just those with diabetes -- to find enough time to prepare healthy meals and snacks. Some pointers:

  • Keep the right foods on hand. "Most of us, research shows, eat about the same 100 foods most of the time," Kulkarni says. "Be familiar with those foods, and have a balance in terms of nutrition." For example, keep whole-grain breads, cereal, milk, vegetables and fruit well-stocked in your home.
  • Find easy, diabetes-friendly recipes that take less than 30 minutes to prepare. Diabetes cookbooks can help.
  • Buy bagged broccoli, bagged lettuce, baby carrots, and cherry tomatoes to cut down on chopping and preparation time.
  • Stock your pantry with commonly used ingredients, such as low-sodium broth, whole-grain pastas, and lentils. "If you've got basic ingredients, you can always throw something together," Kulkarni says.
  • Consult with a registered dietitian about your diet. Ask him or her to teach you how to read food labels so that you can evaluate convenience foods to make sure they're not too high in carbohydrates, salt, or fat.

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