Registered dietitian Jackie Newgent, author of the newly-released The All-Natural Diabetes Cookbook, provides simple steps that people with diabetes (and everyone who wants to make positive lifestyle changes) can take to manage calories, lose weight and follow a balanced eating plan. Her steps are below; you can also get a free booklet from the Amercian Diabetes Association (ADA) by clicking the link below.
- Veg Out! The ADA recommends increasing vegetable intake, which can even include drinking your veggies! Research suggests that people who eat more vegetables do so in place of higher calorie foods, which can help spur weight loss. Here are ways to get more vegetables:
- Choose a ‘rainbow’ of colorful vegetables and fruits to add variety and enjoyment while maximizing nutrient consumption. Go for non-starchy vegetables like leafy greens, carrots, broccoli or tomatoes.
- Move veggies from the side to the center of the plate as the main entrée.
- Pile sandwiches high with your favorite fresh or grilled varieties.
- Drink your vegetables with V8® 100% vegetable juice – each 8-ounce glass provides two full servings (one cup) of veggies! If you’re cutting back on sodium, try the Low Sodium V8 100% vegetable juice.
- Join the Breakfast Club. Research suggests that people who regularly eat breakfast tend to be leaner compared to those who miss their morning meals. Go for a bowl of whole grain cereal like oatmeal topped with fruit and low-fat milk or, if you’re in a hurry, toast some whole grain bread, spread with 2 tablespoons of peanut butter and grab a 12-ounce bottle of Low Sodium V8 100% vegetable juice as you head out the door.
- Be Keen on Protein. Try to include lean protein such as fish and seafood, pork tenderloin, boneless/skinless chicken breast, lean beef, or beans regularly in your meals. Research shows that protein can help you feel fuller longer which, in turn, may help you eat less. For instance, have a side of rice and beans, not just rice. Toss sliced turkey and chickpeas onto a leafy luncheon salad. Add shredded roasted chicken breast to marinara sauce for a more balanced pasta meal.
- Go on Portion Patrol. Large portion sizes often contribute to overeating. Look for pre-portioned snacks to keep calories in check. At mealtime, the ADA recommends drawing an imaginary line through the center of your plate and another line to divide one section in to two. Vegetables should make up half your plate, with the remaining quarters consisting of grains and lean protein, respectively. For snacks, skip the high calorie options and choose a piece of fresh fruit or a baggie of pre-cut vegetables.
- Make Fiber Your Friend. Include fiber as part of your everyday meal plan. Vegetables, fruits, whole-grains, beans and legumes are good sources of dietary fiber. Studies have shown that diets high in fiber-rich foods, which contain a number of vitamins and minerals, have been associated with lower risk for diseases such as heart disease and type 2 diabetes. Easy ways to boost your fiber intake include:
- Breakfast: Make at least half your grains whole and start the day right with whole-grain, high-fiber cereal (hot or cold).
- Lunch: Choose a spinach salad topped with grilled chicken and low-calorie dressing and an apple, paired with an 8-ounce glass of V8. ** Keep a bag of pre-cut or baby carrots around – grab a handful as a snack, pack them with lunch, throw them into stew, or microwave for a quick vegetable.
- Dinner: Select fast-cooking, high-fiber side dishes such as quinoa or whole wheat couscous and opt for potatoes with the skin – keeping the skin on when mashing them, too.
- Shake Down the Salt. People with type 2 diabetes frequently also have hypertension and heart disease, which has been linked to high sodium intake. Look for ways to reduce sodium intake while keeping the taste such as choosing lower sodium versions of your favorite full-flavored foods and beverages like Low Sodium V8 100% vegetable juice (only 140mg per serving) or ‘seasoning’ foods with fresh herbs instead of relying on the salt shaker.
- Get Physical. Exercise is key to achieving a healthy weight, a critical factor in managing and helping to prevent Type 2 diabetes (not to mention a great stress reliever!). Block out 30 minutes or more in the morning or evening to do something you enjoy, whether it’s taking a long walk or riding a bike. If you can’t find 30 minutes for aerobic activity at one time, break it up into three, 10 minute mini-sessions. You still get the benefits and keep to your schedule. You’re more likely to make a habit out of something that is fun for you — and that fits into your lifestyle.
- Count Your Carbohydrates. Paying attention to carbohydrates is essential when managing your diabetes, but that doesn’t mean cutting them out of your diet. Reading labels to determine the amount of carbohydrates in each serving and controlling portions are key. Foods containing carbohydrates include:
- Starchy foods like bread, cereal, rice, crackers and starchy vegetables (e.g. potatoes and corn)
- Dried beans and soy products
- Milk and yogurt
- Fruit and juice
- Sweets and snack foods like sodas, cake, cookies, candy and chips
- Non-starchy vegetables contain some carbohydrate, but in general are very low
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Other resources include Diabetes.Answers.com.