You go to the doctor for a routine checkup and you’re told that your blood sugar is “a bit high” and if you’re not careful, you could end up with diabetes. The good news is that what you eat can have a big impact on keeping your blood sugars in check. Including the right foods into your meal plan can help control your blood sugars and help prevent diabetes.
It’s true that modest weight loss through healthier eating habits and more physical activity significantly reduces the chances of prediabetes developing into full-blown diabetes. But this doesn’t mean depriving yourself of everything you like. In fact, you can continue enjoying the food you love, but may need to adjust your portion sizes or how frequently you sample certain foods.
For achieving a healthier weight, Canada’s Food Guide suggests eating from 3 food groups – proteins, whole grains and fruits and vegetables. It also advises limiting foods and beverages high in calories, fat, sugar or salt.
Here are some helpful tips to improve your diet and help prevent diabetes:
- Keep track of what you eat. Recent studies have shown that people who keep a food diary are more likely to lose weight and keep it off.
- Watch your portion sizes. Eating too much of even “healthy” foods can make it difficult to reach your weight loss goals. Replace regular pop, juice, iced tea and other sugar-sweetened drinks with water or “diet” and “sugar-free” drinks.
- Eat vegetables and fruits more often. It’s easier to get our daily recommended amounts if we have vegetables and fruits many times during the day.
- Choose whole grain foods more often like brown rice or whole grain pasta, whole oats or quinoa.
- Add foods higher in fibre such as kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils and nuts.
- Remove the skin from chicken, trim the fat from meat, and choose fish more often.
- Choose low-fat or skim milk, non-fat yogurt and low-fat cheese.
To review specific diabetes dietary recommendations, check out our Diabetes Diet section which includes meal plans and recipes in addition to valuable overall guidelines.