Food choices are an important part of diabetes management but no food choice should’nt be out of bounds. Eating a balanced diet of fruits, vegetables, starchy foods and non-dairy sources of protein and dairy. A treat is fine once in a while but the foods you choose are important in diabetes treatment, medication, testing and being active. This information can be used to help you get started with a diet for diabetes.
Foods can be divided into five groups:
]The number of portions needed varies by person, a dietitian should be able to tell you how much you need to eat.
Bread, rice, potatoes and pasta all contain carbohydrates which is in turn broken down into glucose and used by the body’s cells as energy, choose carbs that are absorbed more slowly (Lower GI) as these will not affect the blood glucose levels as much and you will also feel fuller for longer. Starchy foods are naturally low in fat and high in fiber (particularly wholegrain and wholemeal options), these will help keep away digestive problems and keep you regular too. Take 5-14 portions per day, one third of your diet should include these types of foods so try to include them with every meal.
A portion is a slice of bread, 2-3 tbsp of rice, couscous, pasta, noodles mashed potato, 2-4 tbsp cereal, 2 new potatoes or half a baked potato, half a small chipatti. 2-3 crispbreads or crackers.
These are natural in calories and fat but are packed with minerals, vitamins and fiber. These will help protect against things like strokes, heart disease, certain cancers and high blood pressure. Aim for at least five portions every day, fresh, frozen, dried or tinned fruit and veg all counts, aim for a mix of colors to get a good variation of vitamins and minerals.
Roughly the size of what you can fit in you hand.
These foods are high in protein, these are the building blocks for repairing and rebuilding damaged muscle tissue, they also contain minerals like iron which produces red blood cells. Omega-3 fish oils found in fish like mackerel, salmon and sardines can help protect the heart. For vegetarians, good protein sources are: beans, lentils, soya and tofu, try to aim for 2-3 portions per day.
One portion = 60 to 85g (2-3 oz.) meat, poultry or vegetarian alternative. 120-140g (4-5oz.) fish, 2 eggs, 2 tbsp nuts, 3 tbsp beans, lentils or dahl.
Your body doesn’t need any foods in this group, but you can eat them as part of a healthy balanced diet in moderation. Sugary food and drinks will raise blood glucose so it is best to opt for diet/light alternatives, or low calorie alternatives. Remember that fat is high in calories so cut down the oil you use in cooking if you can. As fewer portions as possible.
Eating too much salt per day (i.e. more than 6g)per day can raise your blood pressure, this can lead on to strokes or heart disease, try flavoring foods with herbs and spices instead of processed foods.
Eating a healthy diet for diabetes doesn’t have to be hard but you do hare to be vigilant.
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