You’re part of the club
As you work on eating healthier, surrounding yourself with the right kind of support will be important. Start with your people. Share your nutrition challenges—talk about it as openly as you feel comfortable. Not only will this help you clear your head, but by hearing from others, you can sharpen your resolve to stay on target with your diet.
Next, reach out to your community. Not only are we here to help, but there are often local resources that you can use. Aren’t sure where to find those? Ask your doctor or dietitian.
Most of all, don’t let how you manage your diabetes isolate you. Share your questions, emotions, and feelings with your club. Chances are someone nearby is dealing with something similar.
Carbs, carbs, carbs—what about them?
When you eat or drink things that have carbohydrate, your body breaks those carbs down into glucose (a type of sugar), which then raises the level of glucose in your blood. Your body uses that glucose, or sugar, for fuel to keep you going throughout the day.
Knowing what kind and how many carbs to eat is important for managing diabetes. Eating too many carbs can raise your blood glucose too high. This can cause trouble if you do not have enough insulin in your body to help deliver the glucose to the cells in your body. Eating too little carbohydrate can also be harmful because your blood glucose may drop too low, especially if you take medicines to help manage your blood sugar. Balance is key!
There are three main types of carbohydrates in food—starches, sugar and fiber. As you’ll see on the nutrition labels for the food you buy, the term “total carbohydrate” refers to all three of these types. And as you begin counting carbohydrates, you’ll want to stay away from food that has high carbs and instead choose a more balanced nutrient mix of carbs, protein, and fat.
The goal is to choose carbs that are nutrient-dense, which means they are rich in fiber, vitamins, and minerals, and low in added sugars, sodium, and unhealthy fats.
When choosing carbohydrate…
Eat the most of these: whole, unprocessed non-starchy vegetables.
- Non-starchy vegetables like lettuce, cucumbers, broccoli, tomatoes, and green beans have a lot of fiber and very little carbohydrate, which means little impact on your blood sugar.
Eat more of these: whole, minimally processed carbohydrate foods.
- Fruits like apples, blueberries, strawberries, and cantaloupe
- Whole intact grains like brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole grain pasta, and oatmeal
- Starchy vegetables like corn, green peas, sweet potatoes, pumpkin, and plantain
- Beans and lentils like black beans, kidney beans, chickpeas, and green lentils
Eat less of these: refined, highly processed carbohydrate foods and those with added sugar.
- Sugary drinks like soda, sweet tea, and juice drinks
- Refined grains like white bread, white rice, and sugary cereal
- Sweets and snack foods like cake, cookies, candy, and chips