One of the most important ways to manage diabetes is to eat a proper diet, as most people with diabetes know. But a diabetic diet involves more than just cutting out sugar and reducing carbs, which cause high blood glucose levels and increase your risk for complications. Here, we look at when to eat, what to eat, and what not to eat.
When to Eat if You Have Diabetes
Some people who have diabetes need to eat around the same time every day, while others can be more flexible, depending on what medications are being taken or what type of insulin is being used. Even if eating at the same time each day isn’t necessary for you, it’s a good idea to create an eating schedule and stick to it as faithfully as possible.
An eating schedule makes it easier to plan ahead, which is important if you have diabetes. It also ensures you’re not eating too little or too much. Eating at regular intervals can help you maintain or lose weight as well.
Skipping meals or eating too frequently can cause spikes or dips in your blood glucose levels. Try to create an eating schedule that’s easy to stick with. If you don’t have much of an appetite between meals, stick with three squares a day. If you always seem to be hungry, have six smaller meals each day.
What to Eat for Optimal Blood Sugar Levels
Plant-based foods should form the basis of any healthy diet, and a diet for diabetes is no different.
The Plate Method of diabetic eating involves using a nine-inch dinner plate. Non-starchy vegetables should make up half the plate; one-quarter of the plate should contain a lean protein, and the other quarter should contain a whole grain or starch. A small bowl of fruit on the side and a small glass of milk complete the meal.
Starchy veggies like potatoes, corn, squash, and yams can cause a blood sugar spike, so it’s best to stick with non-starchy vegetables, which include:
Protein is an essential micronutrient, and each meal should contain some. The best sources of lean protein include:
Starchy foods should be eaten in moderation if you have diabetes because they can raise your blood sugar. But healthy starches, including whole grains, beans, legumes, and starchy vegetables, contain essential nutrients. Unhealthy starches that you should avoid include bread, refined pasta, and white rice.
Healthy fats are crucial for good health, especially if you have diabetes. Healthy fats include coconut and olive oils, grass-fed butter, nuts, seeds, and avocados. Include healthy fats in each meal.
Foods to Avoid
Some foods should never–or, at least, very rarely–cross your lips if you have diabetes. These include processed foods like bread, pasta, cereal, crackers, pastries, candy, soda, and fruit juices. Eat nuts, seeds, fruits, and dairy products in moderation, since these can also increase blood sugar levels.
Other Lifestyle Considerations
In addition to eating a healthy diet low in carbs and sugar, daily exercise goes a long way toward helping you maintain stable blood sugar levels and to lose weight. Exercise also improves your mood, reduces stress, and promotes healthier choices in other areas of your life.
A daily supplement like Nerveology’s Nerve Support Complex contains ingredients that support blood flow and nerve health, which is essential if you have or are at risk for developing diabetic neuropathy. Omega-3 fatty acids, curcumin, and stabilized R-alpha lipoic acid are just a few of the ingredients clinically proven to support stronger, healthier nerves.
Living with diabetes can be challenging at first. But once you set an eating routine, get to know the foods that are best for stable blood sugar, and develop an exercise regimen for weight control, you’ll create easy habits that promote optimal health and wellbeing and keep your blood sugar in check.