Living with diabetes doesn’t have to mean living without your favorite foods, but it does mean looking at the foods you eat in new, healthier ways. Knowing what you’re eating and how it affects your body is important for everyone, but it’s twice as important for Blacks with diabetes. Not sure where to start? The seven tips below will put you on the right path!
1. Read food labels. You can begin to understand how different foods will affect your blood sugar by reading their nutrition labels. Two key things to pay attention to are serving size and carbohydrates. For a helpful tool that lists the nutritional value of certain foods, you can use the food look-up tool on Cornerstones4Care after signing up.
2. Understand serving size. When looking at the serving size, be sure to compare the serving size to total servings. The sizes on the label may not be the same as those in your meal plan.
3. Examine fat content. Good fats (such as monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, olive oil, and fish) can help protect your heart and lower cholesterol. Bad fats (like saturated and trans fats found in fast food, butter, and junk foods) raise cholesterol and increase the risk of heart disease
4. Look for healthier foods. Try choosing foods that have less refined sugar and simple carbohydrates. Keep in mind that a sugar-free product may have the same amount of carbohydrate grams as its standard version. A dietician can help you create a meal plan that includes more healthy options to fit your lifestyle.
5. Control portions. Check food labels to see the ideal portion size, as it could be less than you usually eat.
6. Balance carbohydrate intake with insulin needs. Your health care provider can help you understand how a food’s carbohydrate count can increase your blood sugar, and how much insulin you will need to balance that increase.
7. Keep track of meal and snack times. Your blood sugar may rise and fall throughout the day. The food you eat and the times you eat it work with your insulin treatment to keep your blood sugar stable.
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