A diabetes diet simply means eating the healthiest foods in moderate amounts and sticking to regular mealtimes; but what does that mean? According to Mary Ann Walsh, RD, “I always like to really emphasize the importance of high-quality fuel for people living with diabetes. And that would look like a nice balance of carbs, protein, and then healthy fat.”
And like many healthier diets, we should start the day out right. We asked Walsh about a healthy breakfast and she responded with: “That’s where I always like to emphasize just again: balance. A nice balanced breakfast could look like a slice of toast (I like the light bread, the 45-calorie bread) with an egg and then like a piece of chicken sausage. So, you’ve got that carb and that protein, and then that healthy fat kind of balance in there.”
Snacking is a big part of many people’s eating issues. Many packaged snack products are loaded with carbs, but what about snacking on veggies and fruit? For most people it is nearly impossible to eat too much of a veggie like broccoli. But fruit is another issue, so I asked Walsh about fruit for diabetics. Here are a few take-aways:
Fruit is one of those things that provides a lot of health benefits. It’s amazing. No one ever really got obese or had a bunch of health issues from eating too much fruit. But, at the end of the day, whether you have diabetes or not, fruit does have sugar. It’s natural sugar, but it’s sugar. And so, we want to eat fruit in moderation, just like everything else.
When it comes to fruit, you want to factor and balance it all out. You don’t want to eat fruit like all day for all of your meals, obviously, because that’s going to wreck the sugar. But what you can do is you can kind of balance it all throughout the day. And if you want it to have a little bit, like a half a cup of fruit with breakfast, that would be another way to kind of add-in a little bit of carbs, as long as you’re balancing it with some protein and healthy fat.
Foods to Avoid
Saturated fats. Avoid high-fat dairy products and animal proteins such as butter, beef, hot dogs, sausage and bacon.
Trans fats. Avoid trans fats found in processed snacks, baked goods, shortening and stick margarines.
Cholesterol. Sources include high-fat dairy products and high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, liver and other organ meats.
Sodium. Aim for less than 2300 mg of sodium a day.
A successful diabetic diet takes baby steps to work. We have a series of articles regarding the topic and more tips from Mary Ann Walsh. Check them out on our Diabetes Center at alternativemedicine.com/diabetes.
By Dick Benson