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5 Tips for Planning Diabetes-Friendly Meals

5 Tips for Planning Diabetes-Friendly Meals

Over 34 million Americans have diabetes. The large majority of US diabetics (over 90%) have type 2 diabetes, which results because of a combination of genes and lifestyle factors and affects your body’s ability to use the hormone insulin effectively.   

This leads to excess blood sugar remaining in your bloodstream, which damages your veins and nerves. As a result, you face increased risk of many serious health issues, including amputation, vision problems, heart disease, and death. 

If you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes, it’s important to get help from providers who specialize in diabetes management, like the team at Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah. Your provider creates a personalized diabetes treatment plan, which may include:

Because of the close link between diabetes and diet, it’s key to make sure your meals help rather than hurt your condition. Keep reading for our top tips on planning diabetes-friendly meals.     

1. Know your carb count

Each person with diabetes has unique needs. Your Wasatch Peak Family Practice provider can help you determine the right number of carbs for you. But generally, the CDC recommends people with diabetes consume about 45% of their calories in complex carbohydrates. 

Each serving of carbohydrates is about 15 grams, which is about the amount in a small apple, one slice of whole-wheat bread, or 1/2 cup of beans. Women should get 3-4 of these servings per meal, and men should eat 4-5 servings per meal.   

2. Divide your “plate”

Since it can be challenging to know how much of each food to eat, the American Diabetes Association created a simple way to visualize it: divide your plate into three sections:

This helps make sure you’re eating fiber-rich foods and healthy carbohydrates so that your blood sugar levels stay better controlled.   

3. Focus on whole foods

When you have diabetes, make every calorie count by choosing the most nutritious foods possible. This means focusing on mostly plant-based, whole foods, like fiber-rich fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean proteins. 

Examples of these food whole foods include:

Your Wasatch Peak Family Practice provider offers personalized recommendations and portion guidelines on a case-by-case basis.

4. Stay away from foods that spike blood sugar

To keep meals diabetes-friendly, stay away from foods that are known triggers for blood sugar problems. The glycemic index (GI) tells you how quickly your body changes the carbohydrates in foods into glucose.  

When you eat foods with higher GI numbers, it can be difficult to control your blood sugar — even when using diabetes medications or insulin replacement. It’s best to stay away from foods high on the glycemic index, like foods high in simple carbohydrates, sugar, and fried or fatty foods. 

5. Prepare food the right way

Diabetes-friendly meals are healthy meals. That means cooking your foods using methods that promote health. Instead of frying your food, bake or broil it. You can swap out oil for veggie broth when sauteing, and be sure to opt for low- or no-sodium foods. That means choosing fresh or frozen options over canned goods when possible.  

Schedule an appointment online or over the phone at Wasatch Peak Family Practice in Layton, Utah, to learn more about type 2 diabetes or for more help planning diabetes-friendly meals. 

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