10 habits that can help manage diabetes
Managing diabetes doesn’t have to be complicated. While your doctor will help you put together a comprehensive plan to manage your condition, remembering these 10 tips can help you work toward better health every day.
- Get moving
The American Diabetes Association recommends at least 150 minutes of activity a week, with no more than two consecutive days without activity.
In other words, getting 30 minutes of exercise, five times a week, can help you manage your condition. It could be as simple as going for a family walk through your neighborhood after dinner instead of sitting down to watch TV.
- Get five a day
Fruits and vegetables add texture, color and nutrients to your diet. Aim for five servings of fruits and veggies a day. Stash easy-to-carry produce like apples, bananas and baby carrots in your bag for snacking at work or on the go.
- Drink water
The average 20-ounce soda contains 15 to 18 teaspoons of added sugar and 240-plus calories. You can ditch the sugar without sacrificing flavor by cutting up your favorite citrus fruit or berries and adding them to your water bottle or a glass of sparkling water.
- Go whole
Whole grains contain more fiber than refined ones, which helps keep you feeling full longer. Look for brown rice, quinoa, wheat berries or barley next time you’re at the grocery store. Or boil a pot of whole-grain noodles for your next pasta night.
- Cut back on red meat
Red meat is often high in saturated fat and should be eaten in moderation. You can still enjoy small portions a few times a week, but look for other sources of protein, such as beans and nuts.
Try going meatless for one meal a day, and explore protein-packed foods like almonds, cottage cheese and kidney beans.
- Eat breakfast
Research suggests that starting your day with breakfast may help with both weight loss and keeping the pounds off long-term. Plus, skipping breakfast increases your likelihood of overeating later on, which can cause blood sugar spikes.
Aim for a breakfast high in whole grains, protein and low-fat dairy. Not a morning person? Make tomorrow’s breakfast tonight.
- Limit salt
Ease up on the saltshaker and keep processed foods — which are often very high in sodium — to a minimum. Too much sodium can increase your risk for heart attack and stroke, both common diabetes complications.
Experiment with fresh herbs and spices to flavor your food instead.
- Keep an eye on portion sizes
It’s easy to overeat when you are used to oversized portions. Learn what a healthy portion size is for various foods and try to stick with it when you serve yourself meals.
- Get your eyes and feet checked regularly
Diabetes can lead to complications in many parts of the body, including blindness and loss of nerve function in the feet. Your doctor can check for nerve function at your routine visits.
Eye disease often shows no early symptoms, which makes annual eye exams very important.
- Eat out less
Preparing meals at home gives you complete control over ingredients and serving sizes, a lost luxury when eating out. Restaurant meals are often higher in sodium, fat and calories than homemade versions.
Look for lightened-up versions of your favorite restaurant recipes and have fun recreating them at home.
Diabetic Living, diabeticlivingonline.com, is a magazine and website with a mission to give people with diabetes and those who love and care for them the information needed to make the best health decisions in their day-to-day diabetes care.
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