If you have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, you may be wondering what foods you should be including in your diet. Fortunately, there are plenty of options for diabetics to choose from. You can enjoy beef, chicken, fish, pork, turkey, seafood, beans, cheese, eggs, nuts and tofu. Non-starchy vegetables should be placed in the middle of the plate, while a quarter of the plate should be filled with a protein source and the fourth quarter with a grain or other starch.
Starches include starchy vegetables such as corn and peas. Additionally, you can have a small bowl of fruit or a piece of fruit and drink a small glass of milk as part of your meal plan. Most carbohydrates come from starches, fruits, milk and sweets. It is best to limit carbohydrates with added sugars or those that contain refined grains such as white bread and white rice. Instead, opt for carbohydrates from fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans and skim or low-fat milk.
It is important to understand what type 2 diabetes means in order to make the best food choices. When you eat, your body converts food into glucose which is then transported to other parts of the body by the hormone insulin. In people with type 2 diabetes, muscle, fat and liver cells do not respond properly to insulin which leaves excess glucose in the bloodstream. This can have dangerous consequences if left untreated. The main purpose of an eating plan for type 2 diabetes is to reduce the intake of carbohydrates such as white bread, rice and potatoes as well as sugar since they are more easily converted to glucose. It is important to combine carbohydrates with other foods in order to get the most out of them.
Combining foods allows you to get a variety of nutrients from different types of food while also helping to balance your blood sugar and keep you full for longer. Quinoa is an excellent example of a protein-rich whole grain that can help stabilize blood glucose levels. One cup of cooked quinoa contains 8 grams of protein and 5 grams of fiber. Zoodles are another great option for diabetics as they are rich in antioxidants and fiber while also being low in carbohydrates. Replacing a food rich in carbohydrates with an avocado for breakfast may help improve blood glucose levels according to one study.
However, avocados are high in calories so it is important not to eat too many. Cauliflower is another great substitute for foods rich in carbohydrates such as white rice due to its malleable texture and ability to take on different flavors while cooking. A minced cup has 2 grams of fiber, 2 grams of protein and only 5 grams of carbohydrates. Try one of these hearty recipes focusing on cauliflower for yourself. Soy-based foods such as tofu, edamame or soy milk are linked to a lower risk of type 2 diabetes according to research. Tofu is a great high-protein meat substitute while edamame can be used as a salad dressing.
Tomatoes are also beneficial for diabetics as eating 200 grams of raw tomatoes every day has been found to improve blood pressure and increase levels of HDL cholesterol (the “good” cholesterol).Celery is another great fibrous vegetable that is low in carbohydrates. A minced cup has 1.6 grams of fiber and only 3 grams of carbohydrates making it perfect for salads or soups. Garlic is also beneficial for diabetics as it can help improve fasting blood sugar levels while also enhancing the flavor of vegetables that may not be as enjoyable on their own. Finally, avocados are high in healthy fats but also high in calories so it is important not to eat too many. To lose weight when you have type 2 diabetes it is important to eat fewer calories and replace less healthy foods with those that are lower in calories, fat and sugar. The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups in the amounts listed in your meal plan.
Medicare pays for medical nutrition therapy for people with diabetes so if you have insurance other than Medicare it is worth asking if it covers medical nutritional therapy for diabetes.