Here are seven sound diet principles as proposed by nutritionists that can keep your blood sugars from creeping upward, among other health benefits.
- Skip the sugary drinks. No sweet tea. No juice. No soda. No sweetened lemonade. No mocha latte coffee creations. “My number one recommendation to people is: Don’t drink your sugar,” Sugary drinks provide nothing more than empty calories, and they won’t help you feel full. “All the sugary drinks out there are a real risk factor for obesity,” she stresses.
- Pull back on portions. You still can eat many of the foods you like, just have smaller amounts of them, adding that this is especially true for starchy foods like white rice, white potatoes, and pasta. Cut out high-calorie, junky snacks, and save your decadent desserts for special occasions. Remember that even healthy foods can lead to weight gain if you eat too much of them, and being overweight is a primary risk factor for type 2 diabetes.
- Fill up on fiber. Eat plenty of high-fiber foods, including vegetables, fruits, beans, and whole grains. Fiber helps you feel fuller longer and can help you eat less to avoid weight gain. At least half your plate should be fruits and vegetables that have been steamed or sautéed in healthy fats. Those veggies can be fresh, frozen, or canned. Just skip the canned vegetables with added salt.
- Be choosy about fats. Your diet should have some fat, but opt for the healthiest sources: olive and vegetable oils, nuts, seeds, and avocado. Buy low-fat or fat-free dairy products such as reduced-fat cheeses, non-fat or low-fat yogurt, and skim milk.
- Drink alcohol only in moderation. Men should have no more than two drinks a day, women no more than one. A drink is 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of distilled spirits of 80-proof.
- Choose lean meats. To easily identify lean red meats, look for cuts that have the word “round” or “loin” in their name, such as top round or pork loin. Even with these better-for-you picks, trim all visible fat. Opt for white-meat chicken or turkey without the skin. Adding fish to your diet two to three times a week is part of a diet that can help diabetes prevention. Bake, broil, roast, grill, or saute rather than fry to keep it lean.
- Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water. People often mistake thirst for hunger, which can lead to overeating and weight gain. “You feel better when you’re hydrated,” “Staying hyrated helps to lower your blood sugar, which you should do anyway.”