Iowa Specialty Hospital

Living with Diabetes

April 4, 2017

Photo of food, exercise equipment and stethoscopeDiabetes can be a tricky condition to manage, as it affects every person who lives with it differently. A core factor to living a healthy life with diabetes is to maintain a consistent, healthy eating plan. However, diabetes-friendly eating doesn’t mean you have to cut out all the delicious foods.

A Healthy Meal Plan for People with Diabetes

One of Iowa Specialty Hospitals' Registered Dietitians, Annette Snyder, states "a diabetes-friendly meal plan works best with three meals a day at regular times, which helps the body use insulin and manage blood sugar better. At Iowa Specialty Hospital, a registered dietitian can help you create a personalized plan based on your health goals, lifestyle and particular tastes.

Daily food choices benefit from the following:

Healthy Carbohydrates – Carbohydrates are considered a mortal enemy for those trying to manage weight, however, your body does need some carbohydrates to function. Healthy food choices can include carbohydrates from fruits, whole grains, vegetables, legumes and low-fat dairy products. Avoid large amounts of added sugars and starches, such as sodas, pastas and rice.

Fiber-Rich Foods – Fiber (soluble and insoluble) comes from parts of plant foods that the human body can’t properly digest or absorb. Fiber positively affects how the body breaks down and controls blood sugars, thus serving a helpful role of a diabetes-friendly meal plan.  Vegetables, fruits, legumes, nuts, wheat bran, and whole-grain flours  are examples.

Fish – Fish is a great alternative to high-fat meats, with some species having total less fat and saturated fat than meat and poultry. Cod, tuna and halibut are great options, and salmon, tuna, mackerel and sardines are rich in omega-3 fatty acids. These types of fatty acids are heart-healthy and aid in lowering blood fats (called triglycerides). Use cooking methods like grilling, baking, broiling or roasting to prepare fish and other lean proteins.

The following foods can negatively affect conditions like diabetes, by clogging and hardening blood vessels. This, along with uncontrolled high blood sugars, can increase the risk of stroke:

Trans Fats – A type of fat commonly found in processed snacks, stick margarine and fried baked goods(like snack cakes). Avoid these fats if at all possible.

Sodium – High sodium foods can contribute to high blood pressure. Controlling blood pressure is another important piece of diabetes care.  Recommended sodium intake should be limited to 2,300 mg a day or less.

Personalize your meal plan with a registered dietitian, and discuss other pieces of the diabetes puzzle with a diabetes educator you can trust at Iowa Specialty Hospitals & Clinics. We believe in offering our patients a variety of general and specialized medical services because we specialize in you.

Contact us today to schedule an appointment with one of our registered dietitians or medical providers.

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