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Diet Diva
Diet Diva

Get advice on healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss from expert dietitian Tara Gidus. 

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Control Your Diabetes

Yesterday I wrote a post about preventing diabetes, so today I thought I would write about basics if you are diabetic. Or...if you are the loved one of someone who is diabetic, read on!

The diet for diabetes is actually not that complicated, but following a few simple rules will really help to control blood sugar.

  1. Establish a routine. You need to eat around the same time and around the same amount day to day. That doesn't mean you have to eat the same thing every day, but just about the same number of carbs/calories at each meal and snack. For example, don't skip breakfast one day and go to the all you can eat buffet for breakfast the next day! Set up a schedule of eating so that you are eating your meals at about the same time each day. If you decide that breakfast is at 7 AM, then you should always eat breakfast between 6:30 and 7:30 AM. Don't deviate more than a one hour window.
  2. Control your portions. While carbohydrates are very important, all food eventually turns into glucose. You do not want to overconsume any food because that will raise glucose levels. Carbs get into the bloodstream most quickly, but fat, protein, and especially alcohol have also been known to push some diabetics over the edge.
  3. Learn how to exchange. Years ago a diabetic meal plan was rigid and very boring. You were not allowed any "sugar" or any fun! Now as long as you know how many carbs you can have at each meal and snack, you can "exchange" foods that have a similar nutritional profile. This is not to say that you can live on ice cream sundaes and chocolate instead of whole grains and fresh fruits, but it does give you some freedom to have a small piece of birthday cake at your kid's party. Check out the American Diabetes Association's resources on Exchange Lists.
If you are cooking for someone who is diabetic or need some new recipes for yourself, click here for some great recipes.

Did you know that there is a Diabetes Food Guide Pyramid? It is similar to MyPyramid, but the serving sizes vary for some foods.

The last resource I want to share is a guide to eating out for diabetics. The hardest part of eating out when you are diabetic is portion control. Order smart but don't be afraid to ask for a box to take home your leftovers!

If you need help with creating a diabetic meal plan, contact a Registered Dietitian in your area.

Picture courtesy of istockphoto.
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About the Author


Tara Gidus is a nationally recognized expert and spokesperson on nutrition and fitness.

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