There are many strict dietary guidelines when it comes to living with diabetes. You are advised to stay away from certain foods and consume more of others, but sometimes finding a healthy balance can be tricky.
In honor of World Diabetes Day on November 14th, here are some tips you should be aware of when thinking about your diet with diabetes:
Be skeptical of “sugar-free” snacks and treats
It is very important to monitor your sugar intake with diabetes. Although it can be appealing to pick up a sugar-free cookie or candy, many of these foods are extremely high in hidden carbohydrates.
Avoid overly processed foods like white bread, pasta and rice
White bread, bagels and other refined-flour foods can significantly increase blood sugar levels. Instead, the American Diabetes Association recommends choosing whole-grain or 100 percent whole-wheat bread.
Check your fruit juice
While it may seem like a healthy choice, fruit juice can have similar effects on blood sugar levels as some sodas! Even drinks that are 100 percent juice can be very high in sugar and carbohydrates.
Limit fruit-flavored yogurts
Flavored yogurts may seem like a healthy snack as well, but they are made with mostly non-fat or low-fat milk and loaded with carbohydrates and sugar. Stick to plain yogurt for a smarter snack.
Keep an eye on alternative sweeteners
Sweeteners like honey, agave nectar and maple syrup are often regarded as healthier options compared to white table sugar because they are less processed. However, they have similar effects on blood sugar.
Dried fruit only in moderation
Fruits are great because they offer so many important nutrients and vitamins, but they are also high in natural sugars. When fruits are dried, they become more concentrated, resulting in a more concentrated sugar intake.
Make sure to inspect your breakfast toppings
Many people enjoy granola and yogurt or cereal and milk as their first meal of the day. Make sure to check nutrition labels when buying granola or cereal because some are packed full of processed sugar.
Cook by grilling, baking or steaming instead of frying
Grilling, baking and steaming are much healthier cooking alternatives when compared to frying. Both meat and vegetables will retain more nutrients, and fat content will be much lower because fats drip off rather than being reabsorbed into the food.
Monitor red meat intake
While it is important to pay attention to your sugar intake, saturated fats can also negatively contribute to diabetes. You don’t have to completely eliminate red meat, but occasionally substitute nuts or beans for a healthier source of protein.
Avoid 99 percent of packaged foods
Packaged foods are almost always processed and can contain high levels of sugar, fat and carbohydrates. Instead, fresh vegetable snacks like carrots or celery serve as healthier alternatives!
If you find it difficult to keep track of healthy meal options, remember that developing a diabetes meal plan can be a huge step toward eliminating bad foods and replacing them with healthier alternatives. When in doubt, it is always best to eat foods low in sugar and carbohydrates and high in fiber, vitamins and antioxidants.