Diabetes Eating Do's & Don'ts

Simple tips for eating healthy

Lara Rondinelli By Lara Rondinelli, RD, LDN, CDE

I'm usually flexible and realistic with nutrition recommendations, but I have some basic tips for healthy eating that include things you should never do and things you should always do with diabetes. Print out this list and use it to help you get on track and stay there.

DON'T: Eat out of a bag or box. You've probably heard this one before, but you're tired and hungry and grab a bag of baked chips. You figure that you will just eat a few and you won't do that much damage. Well, ten minutes later you've downed more than a half a bag of chips and more than 60 grams of carbs. It is too easy to overeat and not even realize how many calories and carbs you've consumed when you eat out of a bag. So, make a commitment to yourself today to follow this rule. Get a bowl (and make it a small one).

soda DON'T: Drink regular soda or sweetened drinks — unless you are hypoglycemic (having a low blood sugar episode). Some people with diabetes will tell me, "I don't drink that much regular soda, maybe just when I go out to eat or a couple times a week." My response is direct and simple: You canNOT drink regular soda or sweetened drinks if you have diabetes. The only exception is if you have low blood sugar. The reason is obvious—a can of regular soda contains about 40 grams of carbohydrates and is going to raise your blood sugar dramatically. This is equivalent to eating a turkey sandwich and a small piece of fruit. Do not waste your carbs on drinks, but rather use your carbs for food that will fill you up and give your body the nutrients it needs.

DON'T: Make starchy carbohydrates your main course. Large plates of pasta accompanied by bread or large servings of rice with a little meat and vegetable are not healthy choices for people with diabetes. These meals are short on nutrients and contain large amounts of carbohydrates, which raise blood sugar levels. In addition, when meals skimp on protein you may not feel as full. Not to mention that meals like these lack the healthy food groups such as fruits, veggies, and dairy.

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Last Modified Date: June 14, 2013

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by Brenda Bell
Years before I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, The Other Half came out of a doctor's appointment with a diagnosis of "borderline diabetes" and an ADA exchange diet sheet. His health insurance agency followed up on the diagnosis with a glucometer and test strips. After a year or so of trying to follow the diet plan and test his glucose levels, things appeared to be back in "normal" range, and stood there until a couple of years after my own diagnosis. Shortly...
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