5 Nutrition Tips for Managing Diabetes

Make vegetables the focus of your meal
Using a nine-inch plate, fill half of it with non-starchy vegetables, and dividing the other half into quarters, fill one quarter with whole grain or starchy vegetable, and the other quarter with a lean protein.  Vegetables are loaded with micronutrients, are low in calories and carbohydrates, and help you feel full due their water and fiber content.  And you can still enjoy some fruit and dairy (milk or yogurt) to round out your meal in addition to your filled plate!

Choose whole grains. 
No need to avoid starches just because they are rich in carbohydrates, which is your body’s main source of energy.  Just be sure to choose the right ones (and limit your portion size- see below for more).  Whole grain options include oats, brown rice, quinoa, whole wheat, barley, and farro.  These grains have more fiber and protein because they are less processed than refined white starches, which have been stripped of their valuable nutrients.  Whole grains can help you feel full and help prevent spikes in your blood sugar levels.

Power up on protein.  
Salmon or tuna, white-meat poultry, eggs, Greek yogurt, low-fat cheese, and raw nuts are some nourishing choices.  Having a serving of protein at each meal and snack can help sustain you longer until you eat again.

Be sure to read nutrition fact labels and ingredient lists. 
On nutrition facts labels, focus on portion size and total carbohydrate, not just sugars, which is included in this number.    Every 15 grams of carbohydrate equals one “carbohydrate choice.” Many women need about 3-4 carbohydrate choices (45-60 grams) at each meal, while many men need about 4-5 carbohydrate choices (60-75 grams) at each meal.  In ingredient lists, you can identify sugars in ingredients containing syrup (such as corn syrup or rice syrup) as well as words ending in “ose” (such as fructose or maltose).  

Make an appointment with a registered dietitian. 
A dietitian can help you sort fact from fiction, and help you create a healthful, realistic, and sustainable personalized plan to help you live well with diabetes.