Type 2 diabetes is a chronic condition that affects millions of Americans. The good news is that you can make many lifestyle changes to prevent it. The bad news is that if you are predisposed, it will take many years of changes to control your blood sugar levels. Fortunately, many tasty options to control your diabetes can reduce your risk of complications and ensure you can enjoy all the food you love.
Type 2 diabetes is often associated with obesity. However, weight gain due to obesity is more common and can lead to serious health complications, such as high blood pressure and high cholesterol.
Cutting back on sugar can help keep weight in check. Instead, you can turn to eating lots of nuts for your fat and protein or munch on salmon for your lean proteins. Also, try adding Greek yoghurt to your meals or using olive oil for cooking your food.
For lunch, aim to eat 30 to 40 per cent of your calories from carbohydrates, 30 per cent from protein, and 20 per cent from fat. Choose a protein-rich meal, such as chicken, fish, or legumes, and whole-grain carbohydrates, such as brown rice or wheat bread.
Alternately, try vegetable soup and a fresh fruit salad.
Snacks should also be small and frequent.
Some snacks that could be helpful include:
Bananas are a healthy treat, packed with soluble fiber that lowers blood sugar. Cut 1/2 ripe bananas in half and spread the flesh on a nonstick pan and sprinkle with cinnamon. Cook until golden brown. Serves 1.
- Pomegranate Seeds
In a large bowl, combine 3 tablespoons pomegranate seeds, 1 tablespoon chopped almonds, 1/2 cup Greek yogurt, and 2 tablespoons chopped walnuts. Mix well. Serves 1.
- Dark Chocolate
According to researchers, dark chocolate is high in antioxidants and helps control blood sugar. Add 1-ounce dark chocolate and 1/4 cup raw pistachios to 1/2 cup of plain Greek yogurt and stir to combine. Serves 1.
- Brussels Sprouts
A rich source of protein and vitamins A and C, Brussels sprouts may help protect the liver against diabetes-related damage and reduce blood sugar levels. Serve Brussels sprouts with a tablespoon of balsamic vinegar, 1/2 tablespoon olive oil, and some sea salt. Serves 1.
A cruciferous vegetable, kale is a good source of the antioxidant selenium. In addition, leafy kale is typically rich in vitamins K, C, and E, and potassium. You can try kale salad as a side dish, tossed with pesto and olive oil, or add a quarter cup of cooked kale to your favorite meat dish for extra flavor. Serves 1.
- Spinach and artichoke dip with whole wheat crackers
Eating vegetables doesn’t have to be unhealthy. Spinach and artichokes are full of antioxidants, both high in fiber and low in calories. This dip can be used to make a sandwich, served on crackers, or in a bowl with fresh fruit.
- Yoghurt with fruit on whole wheat bread
Whole wheat bread is considered to be a fiber-rich choice, and the fiber in yoghurt helps you feel full for a longer period, which can help control your blood sugar levels. Plus, whole wheat bread contains soluble fiber, which lowers your cholesterol. Yoghurt contains both fat and protein, and both help you feel full and satisfied longer than a carbohydrate snack.
While many people don’t get enough exercise, it is a necessary component of diabetes management and a contributing factor in its prevention. The key is to engage in physical activity that gets your heart pumping. It doesn’t have to be a structured workout, but any movement that raises your heart rate can help you avoid the risk of complications.
Exercise can impact your blood glucose levels by as much as 15 to 20 per cent. Be sure to drink plenty of water, as dehydration can affect blood sugar levels.
Exercising should be a part of your lifestyle, not something you do because you are “supposed” to. Aim to get about 30 to 45 minutes of moderate physical activity daily, or about three or four times a week. Even a ten-minute walk several times a day, such as when you get home from work, can help.
If you have difficulty fitting physical activity into your life, use a step-counter app on your phone. Make sure you get at least 10,000 steps per day. Try to include more activities during the week. The idea is to feel good the whole week, so exercise three times per week instead of just two.
And be sure to drink plenty of water between workouts, which helps lose weight. Exercise does not require expensive equipment. Wear comfortable clothing and try to go outdoors, preferably in daylight.
Keep in mind that the lifestyle changes you make while exercising may be good enough to help you maintain your weight loss.
Are you ready to make some dietary and lifestyle changes to keep your blood sugar in check? Get started today.