Be picky. Choose the right foods to keep your diabetes in check. And try to cook at home instead of going out. It's easier to keep track of what you eat when you make your own meals.
Use these ideas as motivation when you're whipping something up in the kitchen. Keep these tips in mind when you dine out, too.
1. Think Whole
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.
7. Think Plant Fat
Make canola oil or olive oil your go-to ingredients. Both are rich in monounsaturated fat. Canola oil also has heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
8. Make Salads Easier
Prep so it's super-simple to throw together. Store a large spinach salad or vegetable-filled romaine lettuce salad in an airtight container without dressing. (You can add it later.) You can enjoy it with your dinner or as a snack for the next several days.
9. Slice Up Dessert
With a few chops of a knife, you can turn a few pieces of fruit into a beautiful fruit salad. Drizzle lemon juice over the top. Then toss to coat the fruit. The vitamin C in the lemon juice helps prevent browning.
10. Outsmart Your Drink
Watch the calories, sugar, and alcohol. If plain water doesn't appeal, you can try a fizzy, flavored (but not sweetened) water. Or sip no-calorie tea or coffee as the perfect finish to your home-made meal.