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    Tip 1. Eat a Balanced Diet continued...

    How? The shape of your diet will depend on how active you are, whether you're a man or a woman, and whether you're trying to lose weight. The American Diabetes Association offers these general guidelines, but check with your doctor to fine-tune your specific plan:

    • Choose a variety of nutrient-dense foods and beverages among the basic food groups.

    • Balance calories from foods and beverages with physical activity to manage an ideal body weight.

    • Choose fiber-rich fruits, vegetables, and whole grains often.

    • Eat 2 cups of fruit and 2 1/2 cups of vegetables daily (for someone eating 2,000 calories)

    • Make at least half the grains you eat whole grains.

    • Decrease saturated fats and trans fatty acids by choosing lean meats and poultry, and low-fat or non-fat dairy products.

    • Substitute monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats (from fish, nuts, and vegetable oils) for saturated and trans fat fats.

    • Choose and prepare foods and beverages with little added sugars or caloric sweeteners.

    • Eat less than 2,300 mg per day of sodium.

    • Limit alcohol to no more than 1 drink for women and 2 drinks for men.

    • Regular physical activity of at least 30 minutes a day for adults and 60 minutes for children.

    Tip 2. Spread Your Meals Throughout the Day

    Why? Skipping meals and overeating can send your blood sugar plunging - and then through the roof. Since diabetic nerve damage and pain can decrease appetite and make it harder to digest food, several smaller meals may work better for you. Plus, some diabetes medications work their best when you're taking them in concert with regularly scheduled meals.

    The goal. Find a workable schedule for meals and snacks that fits your real lifestyle - not one you wish you had. Be realistic about planning your diabetes diet around your work, driving time, feeding kids, and other commitments.

    How? Aim for 3 small meals and 3 healthy snacks each day to balance out your blood sugar:

    • Breakfast
    • A mid-morning snack
    • Lunch
    • A mid-afternoon snack
    • Dinner
    • An evening snack

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