Monday, September 12, 2016


Wellness tips for diabetes

Diet and lifestyle are vital to diabetes management. Start your wellness plan today by following the tips outlined here.

Find support. Your diabetes care team should include your doctor and a Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE).

Monitor your heart. Two out of three people diagnosed with diabetes have high blood pressure (140/90 mm/Hg).

Exercise can help control blood glucose, supports healthy cholesterol levels, and may reduce blood pressure. Aim to get at least thirty minutes of physical activity three to four days a week. Every step counts. Choose the level of physical activity that works for you and stick with it.

Have small, balanced meals at regular intervals throughout the day because eating too frequently can cause high blood sugar. However, going too long without food can cause low blood sugar which could result in a medical emergency.

How do I build a balanced meal? Start by filling ½ the plate (9-inch dia.) with non-starchy vegetables, ¼ with lean protein, and the last quarter with whole grains or starchy vegetables. This plate provides about twenty-four grams of carbohydrates. Serve it with one cup of low-fat milk and one cup of berries to create a balanced meal with a total of forty-eight grams of carbohydrates.

Is this the right amount of carbohydrates for me? In general, women should have 45-60 grams of carbohydrates during a meal and choose snacks with 15 grams. Men should have 60-75 grams during a meal and select 15-30 gram snacks.

What does 15 grams of carbohydrates look like? 1 small apple, ½ cup oatmeal, 1 slice of whole grain bread, or 1 cup unsweetened low-fat dairy milk.

Select high-fiber whole foods such as non-starchy vegetables (broccoli, kale, snap peas, cucumbers etc.), whole grains, legumes (beans, lentils, and dried peas), and whole fruit because they are digested more slowly and cause a smaller rise in blood sugar.

Limit saturated fat and sodium. Use serving size and percent daily value on the nutrition label to identify foods that are low in saturated fat and sodium. Select foods that have five percent or less of the daily value for fat per serving. Avoid foods that have twenty percent or more of the daily value for saturated fat, or sodium.

Choose healthy “swaps” for your favorite treats. Have one cup of fruit garnished with two tablespoons whipped cream instead of ice-cream or swap that slice of pie for a single-serve, non-fat yogurt of the same flavor such as Chobani Simply 100 greek yogurt.

Brenda Viens is a registered dietitian at Backus Hospital and Thames Valley Council for Community Action. This advice should not replace the advice of your personal health care provider. To comment on this column or others, visit the Healthy Living blog at or e-mail Ms. Viens or any of the Healthy Living columnists at

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