When you have type 2 diabetes, it's often a juggling act to remember all of your daily tasks. Nora Saul, RD, CDE, a diabetes educator and manager for nutrition services at the Joslin Diabetes Center in Boston, offers this "healthy habits" checklist to guide you through the day.
Check your blood sugar levels.
Most people with type 2 diabetes need to check their blood sugar, also called glucose, at least once a day. "That's the minimum," Saul says. But the frequency depends on your treatment...
Use brown rice and whole wheat pasta. Look for 100% whole wheat flour and breads, and other whole grains like oats and barley.
Make the switch simple. For instance, if you're 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.
Fruits like apples, pears, berries, and citrus
Vegetables like sweet potatoes, Brussels sprouts, broccoli, carrots, and beets
3. Replace Some Carbs With Good Fat
Monounsaturated fats -- nuts, avocados, 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
Good choices that aren't likely to cause a big rise in your levels include lean meat, poultry, fish, avocados, salad vegetables, eggs, and cheese. Add these items to your plate to help balance the foods you eat that have 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.