Lifestyle: Diabetes

Food and lifestyle are vital to diabetes management. Start your wellness plan today by following these tips:

Find support. Your diabetes care team should include your doctor and a Certified Diabetes Educator, or CDE.

Monitor your heart. Two out of three people diagnosed with diabetes have high blood pressure (140/90 mm/Hg).

Exercise can help control blood glucose, supports healthy cholesterol levels and may reduce blood pressure. Aim to get at least 30 minutes of physical activity three to four days a week. Every step counts. Choose the level of physical activity that works for you and stick with it.

Have small, balanced meals at regular times throughout the day. Eating too frequently can cause high blood sugar but going too long without food can cause low blood sugar–a potential medical emergency. 

What is the right amount of carbohydrates for me?* In general, women should have 45-60 grams of carbohydrates during a meal and choose snacks with 15 grams. Men should have 60-75 grams during a meal and select 15-30-gram snacks. 

What does 15 grams of carbohydrates look like?: 1 small apple, ½ cup oatmeal, 1 slice of whole grain bread or 1 cup unsweetened low-fat dairy milk.

Select foods that are a good source of fiber because they are digested more slowly and help maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

  • non-starchy vegetables (ie broccoli, kale, snap peas)
  • legumes (ie beans, lentils and dried peas)
  • whole grains (ie oatmeal, 100% whole wheat bread)
  • whole fruit  (ie blueberries, strawberries)

Limit saturated fat and sodium. Use the percent daily value (%DV) on the nutrition label to help you find healthy choices. Select foods that are low in (5% DV, or less) in saturated fat and sodium.  Avoid foods that have twenty percent or more of the daily value for saturated fat, or sodium.

Choose healthy “swaps” for your favorite treats.

    • Skip a slice of apple pie with ice cream and enjoy apple slices topped with peanut butter and cinnamon.
    • Skip ice cream and make a whole food smoothie or have a single-serve yogurt.

*Several factors such as: wellness goals (such as weight loss), specific nutrition needs, and diabetes medications should be considered when determining carbohydrate recommendations and meal frequency. Please consult your primary care office before changing your eating pattern.

Resources: www.diabetes.org

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