Diabetes Food Hub makes it easy to find healthy recipes. (Courtesy photo)
Diabetes Food Hub makes it easy to find healthy recipes. (Courtesy photo)

If you are one of the 26 million people in the U.S. with diabetes or the estimated 79 million American adults with pre-diabetes, this diagnosis can be the beginning of your new journey into a higher level of health.

It isn’t that carbohydrates are bad. It’s just that you need to know the amount of carbohydrates your body can tolerate (at different times of the day) given your body, medication, and exercise schedule. Work with your doctor or dietitian to figure out what your carb budget is per meal. Many dietitians and diabetes educators believe it is actually more important to know your carbohydrate budget per meal or snack than it is to know what it is per day.

Knowing your personal carbohydrate meal budget and the following tips and tricks, will hopefully bring you one giant step closer to feeling better, having normal blood sugars, and living a longer, healthier life.

TIP—Best Ways to Eat Fruit

Fruits are nature’s candy because they are naturally sweet. But since they do contribute carbs, your best bet is to eat fruit in its whole form. This gives you all the fiber, water and nutrients naturally in the fruit and whole fruit takes longer to eat than juice or dried fruit. 15 grams of carb generally computes to 1 cup of whole fruit, 4 ounces of fruit juice or 2 tablespoons of dried fruit. That cup of whole fruit is going to be a lot more satisfying!

There are a few fruits that tend to have a bit more carbohydrate and for them 15 grams of carbohydrate is more like 1/2 cup. Keep this in mind when enjoying these fruits: passion-fruit, bananas, mango, kiwi, pears and pomegranate.

TIP—Switch to Whole Grains Every Chance You Get!

Want to statistically reduce your risk of death from all causes while also improve your blood sugars, weight control and risk of heart disease and stroke? Instead of processed grains, choose whole grains and whole grain products whenever possible! This has never been easier with all of the options now available in your supermarket. Here are some ways you can make the switch starting today:

Choose intact whole grains, such as quinoa, oats, amaranth, barley, buckwheat, along with wild and brown rice, many of which you can cook in your rice cooker

Choose 100% whole wheat breads, buns, English muffins, and bagels

Choose 100% whole wheat tortillas and use them for sandwich wraps as well as burritos and quesadillas

Choose whole grain or whole wheat pasta—now available in most shapes!

Choose breakfast cereals, hot or cold, made with whole grains like oats

Use whole wheat flour for most of the flour called for in your favorite baking recipes

TRICK—A Dark Green Leafy-A-Day May Keep Diabetes At Bay

Getting in the habit of having a nice big serving of a dark green leafy veggie every day is one of the best things you can do for your health and diabetes. They are loaded with key vitamins, minerals, fiber, plus powerful plant compounds which equal added protection from heart disease, diabetes and some cancers.

Buy dark leafy greens in ready-to-use bags in your supermarket. It’s even easier to make salads or add them to eggs, soups, casseroles and sandwiches!

Adding a little smart fat (like avocado, nuts or extra virgin olive oil) to your dark green leafy salad will enhance the body’s absorption of many of the plant compounds and vitamin K.

TRICK—Put Protein and Veggies to Work For You

The total amount of carbohydrates you eat at each meal is the biggest predictor of what you’re your blood sugar levels will be after the meal, but the type of carbohydrates and what you eat them with matter, too.

New research is suggesting that eating vegetables and protein-rich foods BEFORE the carbohydrate-rich foods in a meal, may help lower blood sugar levels following the meal, probably because by the time those carbohydrates hit the stomach, there is already some protein getting digested and some fiber adding bulk.

WI Guest Author

This correspondent is a guest contributor to The Washington Informer.

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