If you’ve just been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, your head is probably swimming with information about the lifestyle changes you’ll need to make, including how to create and stay on a diabetic diet. Type 2 diabetes is a serious condition, and to successfully manage blood sugar levels requires significant modifications to the way you live and eat.
Maintaining a proper diabetic diet is one of the trickiest areas, so to help keep you on the right track as you adjust your habits, follow these simple Do’s and Don’ts:
The "Do's" of a Diabetic Diet
- Eat plenty of vegetables and legumes (beans)
- Eat adequate amounts of lean protein, such as fish, poultry, or tofu
- Eat healthful fats, which can be found in cold-water fish, raw nuts and seeds, and extra-virgin olive oil
- Eat modest amounts of fruit (one to two servings per day)
- Replace sugar with sugar alternatives like xylitol or stevia
Diabetic Diet "Don’ts"
- Eat carbohydrate-dense, starchy foods such as pasta, cereals, and other grain-based foods
- Eat too many processed foods
- Eat a lot of red meat (limit to one serving per week)
- Eat desserts
- Use sugar or artificial sweeteners to enhance the flavor of food, or consume products that contain these ingredients
Exercise also plays a big role in blood sugar control. You’ll need to commit to at least 30-45 minutes of moderately intense physical activity four or more days a week. Additionally, I recommend taking a brisk 10-minute walk after meals as this helps clear glucose out of the bloodstream, and helps maintain blood sugar levels.