Healthy cooking and snacking means having the right foods on hand. Whether you're preparing the evening's dinner, fixing a brown-bag lunch, or grabbing breakfast, you can stick with your diabetes meal plan if the right foods are in the pantry or fridge.
"I believe in leading people toward smart fats and lots of fiber to keep blood sugar balanced -- and to prevent heart disease," says Elaine Magee, MPH, RD. Magee is the "Recipe Doctor" for the WebMD Weight Loss Clinic and author of Tell Me What to Eat If I Have Diabetes.
Carbohydrates are found in sweets, fruit, milk, yogurt, bread, cereal, rice, pasta, and potatoes and other starchy vegetables.
They can affect your blood sugar faster than protein or fat, because your body breaks carbs down earlier during digestion.
When you have diabetes, it helps to count your carbs and split them evenly between meals. Here's how: You plan how many carbs you get based on the amount of insulin that's available to process it. That insulin could come from your body, or from insulin...
Magee's pantry holds lots of beans, high-fiber pastas, and grains. In the fridge: fresh fruits and veggies, lean meats, and low-fat dairy products because they contain important vitamins, minerals, and fiber.
Need a little help with ideas for stocking your own kitchen? Here are some of our experts' suggestions:
Foods for a Diabetes-Friendly Pantry:
Canned beans: Garbanzo, pinto, black, red kidney, navy beans.
Low-fat dairy: 1% or 2% cheese like Baby Bell or Laughing Cow; string cheese (part-skim mozzarella); fat-free sugar-free yogurt; skim or 1% milk; I Can't Believe It's Not Butter spray; Butter Buds.
Fresh lean protein:
Boneless skinless chicken breast
Ground turkey white meat
Laura's Lean 4% fat ground beef
Beef: fillet, flank steak
If fresh produce isn't always practical for you, stock up on canned or frozen.
Stocking a Diabetes-Friendly Freezer:
Blueberries, blackberries, strawberries.
Green Giant Select:
Broccoli, cauliflower and carrots
Broccoli, carrots, and water chestnuts
Sugar snap peas
Whole green peas
Pepper stir fry
Sugar snap stir fry
Seven vegetable stir fry
Szechwan vegetables in sesame sauce
Winter blend vegetables and cheese sauce
Frozen lean protein: salmon, tuna, tilapia, orange roughy; Louis Rich, Butterball or Jenni-O turkey sausage; egg substitutes.
Ground flaxseed (sprinkle over fruit, breakfast cereal, yogurt, smoothies, sandwich spreads for extra omega-3 fatty acids).
Spicing Up a Diabetes-Friendly Spice Rack:
Spice rubs for meat and seafood.
Garlic and onion powders, not salts.
Mrs. Dash; Mr. Dash.
And when you're shopping for all these goodies, it's critical that you read food labels for carbohydrate, salt, and fat content, says Dianne Davis, RD, LDN, CDE, a dietitian with the Vanderbilt Diabetes Center in Nashville, Tenn. "There is a wide range of nutritional value in many products, and you have to choose carefully. That's why I give specific recommendations on products."
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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.
People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.
Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.
However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.
Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.
One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.
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