The best diabetes menus are really not all that different from most other health menus that one might choose. Even though diabetics do have to be more careful in their overall meal choices than do people without diabetes.
But whether you have type 1 diabetes, type 2 diabetes, or gestational diabetes, your menu choices can help in reducing the amounts of diabetic medications that you need.
Putting Together Your Diabetic Diet Menu
When you do a lot of cooking at home, it’s important to read the food labels on the ingredients that you buy. When you have a choice, you want to choose the foods that have the least dramatic impacts on your blood sugar.
One way of doing this is to let the glycemic index be your guide. The glycemic index rates various foods by how fast they affect the blood sugar in your body. For example, when you eat white rice, it is metabolized and converted into sugar much more rapidly than whole grain brown rice. Therefore, when choosing a rice for your meal, choose brown rice. If you do this, then when you measure your blood sugar levels following a meal, you will find that your blood sugar has not spiked as much as it would with white rice.
Add Complex Carbohydrates To Your Diabetic Menu
You can also increase the amount of complex carbohydrates in your diet. Complex carbohydrates are perfect foods for diabetics because they are broken down into glucose at a slower rate than the many simple carbohydrates that we are so fond of.
This slow metabolizing process helps you in two ways. One, your body is not overloaded with that ‘sugar rush’ that results when you eat simple carbohydrates, only to be followed by a lack of energy. And, two, your body has more energy throughout the day, because the source of that energy, glucose, is being released into your body at a more measured rate.
Good sources of complex carbohydrates are beans, nuts, whole grains, and selected vegetables. In general, when planning your diabetes menu, you want to have as few simple carbohydrates as possible.
Using Carbohydrate Counting In Your Diabetic Recipes
When planning diabetes menus, many people will practice something called carbohydrate counting. Nearly all packaged foods that you buy from the grocery store have food labels which list the ingredients and certain nutritional facts. One of these facts is the number of grams of carbohydrates within a serving.
Carbohydrate counting is simply counting the grams of carbohydrates in the various foods and allocating them as evenly as possible throughout the various meals during the day. This is a very effective way of avoiding sugar spikes and keeping your blood sugar levels on an even keel.
Adding Fiber To Your Diabetic Diet
And, lastly, increase the amount of fiber in your diet. Fiber is healthy for you in a number of ways. But, for a diabetic, it is especially helpful in that it slows down the rate at which glucose is absorbed into the body. And this helps to control your blood glucose. Another nice by product of consuming fiber is that it helps in your weight loss efforts as well.
Good sources of fiber are whole-grain cereals, fruits, and vegetables. Many studies have shown that people who eat more fiber are less prone to become diabetic. And, those with diabetes, are better able to control their blood sugar level.
You can find more diabetes information about diabetes meal plans and diabetes food exchanges at mayoclinic.com.