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12 Tips for Eating Well With Diabetes

Choosing the right foods is a major part of managing diabetes. It's easier to keep track of what you're eating when you're the one in charge of putting nutritious meals on your plate.

Use these 12 tips to get you motivated to cook healthful dinners at home, where you have full control over the foods served and what ingredients go into them.

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1. Switch to whole grains.

Use brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Look for 100% whole wheat flour and breads, as well as other grains such as oats and barley. Making the switch can be easy. For instance, there's frozen cooked brown rice that you microwave.

2. Get more fiber.

Aim for at least 8 grams of fiber per meal, especially if you're eating carbohydrate-rich foods. Go for soluble fiber, which is in:

  • Peas
  • Beans
  • Oats
  • Barley
  • Fruits like apples, mangoes, plums, kiwis, pears, blackberries, strawberries, raspberries, peaches, citrus fruits, and figs
  • Vegetables like artichokes, celery root, sweet potatoes, parsnips, turnips, acorn squash, potatoes with skin, Brussels sprouts, cabbage, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, and beets

Soluble fiber helps lower the rapid rise in blood sugar that tends to happen after eating carbohydrates. A fiber-rich diet also lowers the risk of heart disease, which is higher in people with diabetes.

3. Replace some carbs with good fat.

Monounsaturated fats -- nuts, avocadoes, olive oil, and canola oil -- can help lower blood sugar. Add nuts and avocado to salads and entrees. Use olive and canola oils to cook dinners. Look for products that contain either oil, such as salad dressings, marinades, marinara, and pesto. Keep portions modest so you don't get too many calories.

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. Eating these kinds of foods will help balance carbohydrate-containing foods included in your meal.

5. Choose recipes with less saturated fat.

Look for ingredients such as:

  • Fish
  • Extra-lean beef -- grass-fed if available
  • Pork tenderloin
  • Skinless poultry
  • Soy products
  • Beans
  • Low-fat dairy

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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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