Diabetes Meal Planning: 5 Things You Need to Know
*Recently, Kraft spoke with Stacey Horodezny, a registered dietitian who specializes in diabetes. When it comes to meal planning as it relates to Type 2 diabetes, Stacey identified five key things you should be aware of:
1. The diabetes way of eating is a healthy way of eating
It may surprise you to hear that all types of foods can fit into a diabetes meal plan, as long as you strike the right balance between how often you eat them and proper portion size. Furthermore, your whole family can benefit from the diabetes way of eating, since it’s based on dietary standards set out in Canada’s Food Guide.
2. Know your carbs, proteins and fats
Regardless of what you eat, all foods break down into a combination of carbohydrates, proteins and fats.
• Carbohydrates: The glycemic index (GI) is frequently used to rate carbohydrates. High GI foods, like plain white bread, raise blood sugar levels much faster than low GI foods, like whole grain bread. That’s why it’s beneficial to choose foods with a lower GI rating. To learn more about the glycemic index, visit the Canadian Diabetes Association.
• Proteins: Proteins are essential to build and maintain body tissue. Meat, fish, poultry and other proteins don’t significantly impact blood sugar levels, but they do contain calories. So, it’s important to watch how much protein you eat. Studies show a link between obesity and Type 2 diabetes. According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, even moderate weight loss can have important health benefits.
• Fats: Like proteins, fats don’t significantly impact blood sugar levels and are necessary for the healthy functioning of vital organs. However, fats do contain a great number of calories, so it’s important to limit consumption and eat the right kinds of fats:
• Choose products low in saturated and trans fats.
• Go easy on butter, margarine, oil and salad dressing.
• Use low-fat cooking methods, like steaming and grilling.
• Steer clear of anything hydrogenated.
3. Spread meals and snacks throughout the day
Eating at regular intervals throughout the day is one way to prevent blood sugar peaks and valleys. Your dietitian or doctor can show you how to incorporate snacks wisely.
Kraft offers many tasty snack recipes that can work with your diabetes meal plans.
4. Talk to a dietitian about ways to manage your diabetes
Many variables can make Type 2 diabetes complex and difficult to control. Healthy food choices are only one part of a good management strategy. A dietitian can also help with other variables that affect you, i.e., diet, exercise, blood sugar levels and medications.
5. Make healthy living a lifelong goal
Genetic risk factors are associated with Type 2 diabetes, so it’s important to instill the principles of healthy living in your children and/or grandchildren. By showing them how to make healthy lifestyle choices early on, you can help reduce their risk of developing Type 2 diabetes later in life.
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