How do you get all the nutrition you need in a day while still being mindful of calories and carbs? The secret is to plan ahead.
Meal planning depends on lots of things, like your taste preferences, medications, and activity level, says Jill Weisenberger, RDN, CDE, author of DiabetesWeight Loss -- Week by Week.
But good general advice to follow is to keep your carbs consistent -- eat the same amount at breakfast, lunch, and dinner to keep blood sugar from spiking or dipping too low. Weisenberger...
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.