How to Plan a Diabetes-Friendly Meal

How to Plan a Diabetes-Friendly Meal

Making healthy food choices isn’t always easy, but if you have diabetes, it's essential that you plan ahead.

At HeartCare Associates of Connecticut, LLC, our team of physicians offer complete diabetes care. Not only can we ensure you have the medications you need to control diabetes, but we can also help you make the necessary lifestyle and diet changes you need to stay in good health.

Understanding diabetes

Diabetes is a chronic health condition that develops when your body can’t process the sugar (glucose) from your diet correctly. Typically, your body produces the hormone insulin to convert sugar into the energy your body needs to function.

When you have Type 1 diabetes, your body doesn’t make insulin to support this process. People with Type 2 diabetes can make insulin, but not enough to control blood sugar levels. Your body may also not be using the insulin it produces efficiently.

Having high blood sugar levels for an extended period of time can ultimately lead to serious health complications, including nerve damage (diabetic neuropathy), vision loss, and even premature death.

Why what you eat matters

When you’re diabetic, it’s important that you limit the amount of sugar you eat in your daily diet to prevent spikes in your blood glucose levels.

You also need to make the right diet choices to ensure you maintain a healthy body weight and to lower your risk for heart disease and other complications of diabetes.

While those with Type 1 diabetes will need daily insulin to control their condition, they still need to eat a well-balanced diet to prevent high blood sugar levels.

If you have Type 2 diabetes or prediabetes (a condition where your blood sugar levels are high but not high enough to be considered diabetes), you may be able to control your condition without medication. We can help you create a diet and exercise plan that regulates your blood sugar levels naturally.

Planning diabetes-friendly meals

Your diabetes diet should include fresh foods that are rich in nutrients but low in calories and fat. Ideally, you should incorporate as many vegetables, fruits, and whole grains as possible into your diet to keep your blood sugar levels stable.

You should also eat heart-healthy foods like fish, avocados, nuts, and low-fat dairy to lower your risk for heart disease and stroke that diabetes can cause. Eating these foods can also make it easier to lose weight and maintain your weight loss results in the long term.

In addition to choosing healthy foods, you also need to pay attention to when you eat. Missing meals can cause changes in your blood sugar levels that create complications.

We recommend that you eat three meals a day, paying attention to your portion size. Regular meals help your body use insulin more efficiently, so you can avoid blood sugar highs and lows.

What not to include in a diabetes diet

Certain foods can not only complicate your diabetes, but they can also increase your risk for heart disease and other chronic health issues.

Foods you should avoid adding to your diabetes diet include:

Learn how to read food labels, so you can make better dietary choices when meal planning. Be aware that a lot of processed products contain high amounts of sodium and unhealthy fats, even if they are marketed as “healthy.”

Our providers can work with you on a nutrition plan that incorporates the right foods into your daily diet and teach you how to measure out your food portions. While the task can seem daunting at first, the more you practice the easier it will be to follow a diabetes-friendly diet.

Schedule a diabetes consultation to learn more meal planning tips. Call the HeartCare Associates of Connecticut, LLC office nearest to you or book an appointment online today.

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