When you’re diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, figuring out the diabetic foods you’re allowed to eat (and want to) can be a challenge. I’m a firm believer in foods that fill the gap. Not just fill you up but actually satisfy. These are foods that give you more than a meal item.
If you have diabetes, your body cannot produce insulin, cannot metabolize it properly, or a combination of the two.
Many people who develop type 2 diabetes (around 90% of diabetics have this form) got there through poor eating habits. It’s 100% preventable through diet, exercise, and lifestyle habits.
It may be hard to hear, but these are the facts.
To manage or reverse type 2 diabetes (yes, it’s absolutely reversible), you have to choose your diabetic foods carefully and follow a few simple guidelines.
If you ignore diabetes, it can destroy your tissues frighteningly fast. Diabetics who don’t follow health guidelines have higher risks of heart disease, neuropathy (nerve damage), poor blood circulation, limb amputations, loss of vision, kidney failure, and stroke.
Manage the Disease – Don’t Let the Disease Manage You!
First and foremost, no more simple carbohydrates! These are digested by your body too fast, result in a blood sugar spike, and don’t make you feel full or satisfied (so you’re likely to eat more than your body needs).
Simple carbs are sugars and most of the sugars you eat are added to foods you eat and drink. Some of the worst ones for diabetics are bottled drinks (especially sodas – even diet), candies, white rice, white bread, white pasta, white potatoes, pastries, cereals, concentrated fruit juices,
Complex carbs digest more slowly and usually contain fiber, lean proteins, and good fats. They’re more filling and satisfying. Since they digest more slowly, they keep your blood sugar from going up and down all day and this is a very good thing! Beans, nuts, berries, non-starchy vegetables, apples, and quinoa are examples of complex carbohydrates.
Top 12 Diabetic Foods (Excellent for Diabetics Daily)
- Nuts (walnuts, almonds, and peanuts)
- Seeds (chia, pumpkin, and sunflower)
- Sweet potatoes (more nutrition than white but watch your toppings)
- Avocado (also a great source of essential fatty acids)
- Tomatoes (fresh or canned – watch for additives)
- Beans (lentils have the lowest GI score)
- Grains (oats and quinoa)
- Vegetables (carrots, green beans, mushrooms, peppers, and onions)
- Leafy greens (broccoli, spinach, cauliflower, cabbage, and various greens)
- Hummus (a shockingly good GI score)
- Fruits (cherries, plums, grapefruit, peaches, and prunes are very low)
- Dairy (whole milk, Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, parmesan cheese, and sour cream)
Top 12 “Free” Diabetic Foods (Low in Calories and Carbs That They Barely Register)
- Salad greens and cabbage
- Cucumbers or homemade pickles (in spices and vinegar)
- Unsweetened cacao (cocoa powder)
- Coffee or tea (without added ingredients)
- Garlic or onions
- Lemon or lime juice
- Herbs (fresh or dried)
- Spices (cinnamon, ginger, pepper, turmeric, nutmeg, cloves, cumin, or cayenne)
- Vinegar, horseradish, or hot sauces
- Fresh or frozen unsweetened cranberries
- Salsa (fresh or canned)
Now, we’ve talked about the diabetic foods you should eat…what’s next?
Time to outline some quick and easy habits you can make part of your daily routine to gradually get your body back in sync.
If you stick to a true diabetic diet and lifestyle, you – like so many others – may find that your doctor no longer needs to give you a prescription!
But be warned! It’s when type 2 diabetics no longer take insulin that they tend to fall back into their old eating habits and ruin their progress. Stick to it!
5 Tips to Manage Diabetes
- Know your enemy! Do the research, know what you can (and can’t) do, and take it seriously. Check your blood sugar at least once a day and chart it. Diabetes is one of the top ten killers in the United States and is the number one reason for limb amputations globally.
- See your doctor regularly! You need to get your A1C, blood pressure, and lipid (cholesterol and triglycerides) profile done at least once a year.
- Repair poor eating habits! There’s no time to waste and no room for error in this. If you’ve been diagnosed, you must stick to approved diabetic foods that won’t spike your insulin. No more fast food, no more boxed or bagged food, and no more snack foods.
- You must move your body! It doesn’t have to be extreme, you don’t have to join a gym, or hire a personal trainer. But you need to move each and every day. Even if it’s for ten minutes while you follow along with a tai chi or stretching video on YouTube. You can start from your chair and work your way up.
- Listen to your body! Pay attention to your feet, teeth, and wounds you might have. Note if you have areas that swell, blister, or if you feel dizzy. Check your blood sugar and see your doctor if the numbers are too high. Never ignore signs of a problem with your insulin levels!
Take control of your diabetes diagnosis. You can prevent it from ever affecting your life but if you didn’t…you can still turn things around and leave diabetes behind!
Choose the right diabetic foods, get moving, and kick this disease out of your life!