Real World Eating and Exercise Advice

Round 2 of healthy living tips from the real experts — people living with diabetes.

Lara Rondinelli By Lara Rondinelli, RD, LDN, CDE

I teach group diabetes education classes and people share their healthy eating and living tips. Everyone loves to hear what really works for people. So, here are more healthy living tips shared from real people with diabetes.

  • Problem: Breakfast Skippers
  • Solution: Some non-breakfast eaters have been able to eat a protein bar such as a Glucerna Meal Bar or a Special K Meal Bar. Otherwise, make a batch of hard boiled eggs and have one for breakfast along with a whole-wheat English muffin. If you don't like eggs you can try peanut butter on the English muffin.
  • Problem: Portion Distortion
  • Solution: Try eating on a smaller plate. Measure portion sizes of foods such as rice and pasta – most everyone thinks they eat less than they actually eat. The ADA actually sells plates to assist with proper portion sizes (
  • Problem: Eating Out and Eating Large
  • Solution: One couple shared how they split all meals at restaurants. They order a healthy entrée and split it and say it provides enough food for both of them. They save money and calories!
  • Problem: Too Cold or Snowy to Walk Outside
  • Solution: Chicago and other areas present weather issues such as frigid cold, wind, ice, and snow, all of which make walking outdoors challenging. One person shared how she loves a walking DVD called Walk Away the Pounds. Other people shared how they walk at malls or grocery stores to stay inside.
  • Problem: Missing French Fries
  • Solution: French fries are a comfort food for many Americans, but they can wreak havoc on blood sugars and the waistline. One woman shared how she loves baked sweet potato fries and didn't realize how easy they were to make. Check out the tasty sweet potato fry recipe below.
  • Problem: Afternoon Snack Attack
  • Solution: The afternoon snack attack can be dangerous if you go to vending machines or office snacks such as candy. One person shared how he stocks his desk with healthy snacks that don't need to be refrigerated. He has: Kind bars, individual packs of almonds, and sunflower seeds. He also brings a piece a fruit with him every day for a snack.
  • Problem: Too Embarrassed for Health Club
  • Solution: Many people say they feel uncomfortable exercising at a health club because everyone looks so fit. To deal with this, some people put an elliptical or treadmill in the house, somewhere near a TV. Other ideas people shared included smaller group fitness classes at a local park district or small club, home personal trainers, and exercise DVDs.
  • Problem: Can't Count Carbs Accurately
  • Solution: Many people have said the phone apps, such as calorie King, have been very helpful in helping with carb counting. Measuring foods is also really important.
  • Problem: Warehouse Shopping
  • Solution: Warehouse shopping at places like Sam's Club and Costco are so popular, but often people say they run out of food, especially fruits and vegetables, after a couple weeks and then their healthy eating is gone. One patient shared how they changed their shopping routine to include weekly trips to a local produce market in addition to monthly warehouse trips.
  • Problem: Hungry All the Time
  • Solution: One woman said she realized she was hungry a lot. By adding snacks like cheese, Greek yogurt, and cottage cheese, along with making sure to have protein such as chicken, fish, or turkey with meals, she noticed a decrease in appetite.

Try this recipe for Spicy Sweet Potato Fries

Read Lara's bio here.

Read more of Lara Rondinelli's columns.

Fully revised and better than ever, this 2nd edition of Healthy Calendar Diabetic Cooking is packed with new recipes to give cooks with diabetes over a year of delicious, diabetes-friendly meals. Organized around weekly menus and complete grocery lists that are designed to save readers time, effort, and money, this cookbook is a meal-planner and recipe book in one. With hundreds of recipes and an innovative design, it's easy to see why this is one of the American Diabetes Association's all-time best-selling cookbooks.

In addition to new recipes and menus, this updated edition includes dozens of recipes and recipe alterations designed to created gluten-free meals. Like many with diabetes, author and dietitian Lara Rondinelli-Hamilton was recently diagnosed with celiac disease and subsequently went on a gluten-free diet. Using her firsthand experience, she gives readers expert tips on how to plan meals, alter recipes, and follow a gluten-free diet.

Copyright © American Diabetes Association from Healthy Calendar Diabetic Cooking. Reprinted with permission from The American Diabetes Association. To order this book, please call 1-800-232-6733 or order online at

NOTE: The information is not intended to be a replacement or substitute for consultation with a qualified medical professional or for professional medical advice related to diabetes or another medical condition. Please contact your physician or medical professional with any questions and concerns about your medical condition.

Last Modified Date: March 19, 2013

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