A Diabetes Care Plan for You
Managing your diabetes can be hard, but it does not have to be. Coming up with a personalized diabetes care plan can help you to live a long and happy life. There are a few things that can help you achieve ideal diabetes A1c blood sugar levels.
Diabetes Care Plan
A diabetic diet may seem restrictive but there are many ways to be creative with the way you cook to keep your diet exciting. For diabetics, it is important to watch what you consume in terms of carbohydrates. Finding the right foods can help to keep you in the range of a normal value of blood sugar. A healthy diet can also help you to improve your overall health and reduce the risk of complications.
There are a few different ways to manage your blood sugar and diet as a diabetic. The three tools that can be used to help manage your diet are carbohydrate counting, the plate method, and glycemic index.
This tool requires you to use food labels to track the total grams of carbohydrates in the food you are consuming. Carbohydrates are one of the three sources of energy that we get from food, the others being protein and fat. Foods that contain carbohydrates include grains (such as rice, oats, barley), vegetables, dairy, fruits, sweets/snack foods. The basic recommendation is to consume 15-20 grams of carbohydrates at each snack time and 45-60 grams of carbohydrates at each meal. This tool for meal planning helps you to manage your blood sugar levels because carbohydrates are the energy source that influence your blood sugar the most. The total amount of carbohydrates that each person should consume is based on the individual and should be discussed between you and your healthcare provider. You can find out more using this helpful PDF created by the American Diabetic Association (All About Carbohydrate Counting).
The Plate Method
This method incorporates the template of a plate and instructs you to fill certain percentages of the plate with certain types of food. This method is an easy-to-use tool that allows for simple meal plan creation. There are 7 easy steps that you can follow to create your plate.
1. Draw a line down the center of the plate, split one side again with another line.
2. Fill the largest portion with non-starchy vegetables (cauliflower, cucumbers, broccoli, Brussel sprouts, peppers, onions, okra).
3. Fill one small section with starchy vegetables or grains.
4. Fill the remaining section with protein.
5. Add a piece of fruit or dairy as your diet and carbohydrate totals allow.
6. Incorporate healthy fats (nuts, seeds, etc).
7. Wash it down with an unsweetened beverage or water!
You can find an interactive plate tool by clicking here.
The last tool we want to share with you is glycemic index. Each food affects your blood sugar in different ways and this is known as the food’s glycemic index. A low glycemic index means that there is not a big impact on blood sugar. The opposite holds true for a high glycemic index, meaning that the food will cause a larger increase in your blood sugar after consumption. It is important for diabetics to focus on the low to medium glycemic index foods to prevent any unnecessary or unwanted blood sugar spikes. Foods with a low/medium glycemic index are whole grains, oats, potatoes, most fruits and non-starchy vegetables. Your refined grains such as white bread, chips, melons, pretzels, etc. will have a much higher glycemic index and will cause a much higher spike in your blood sugar. Fiber and fat also play a role in the glycemic index of a food. Research shows that the regular consumption of high glycemic index foods can have a negative impact on your A1c blood sugar levels.
It is important to remember that there is not a diet that works for everyone. You may want to incorporate a little bit of each of these tools into your diet plan. You can also sign up for free here to receive free e-newsletters that contain healthy and delicious recipes for diabetics. Working closely with your medical professional will help you to create a personalized diabetes meal plan that works for you. Contact us to learn how we can help you!
Another extremely important aspect of a healthy diabetic lifestyle is the incorporation of exercise. Exercise can mean dancing, walking, or anything that keeps your body in motion for an extended period of time. Staying regularly active has many benefits including its ability to lower blood glucose. Physical activity helps your body to become more sensitive to insulin and also works to remove glucose from the blood without using insulin. There are many other benefits to physical activity such as lowering blood pressure and cholesterol, lowering risk for other diseases and diabetes complications, stress relief, balance improvements, maintaining flexibility, and more. Exercise can be a difficult task to add to your daily life, especially if you are not doing an activity you enjoy. Diabetic Living Online provides a free printable quiz that helps you to determine your exercise personality. Taking the quiz will help you to determine what activities will help you to succeed.
Even with the importance of exercise, it is also important to exercise safely. For a type I diabetic, exercising without proper diabetes management can lead to life-threatening episodes such as hypoglycemia. Your body’s response to exercise will vary and depends on your blood glucose level prior to activity, the intensity of the physical activity, how long you are active, and the amount of insulin you have taken. You should discuss with your healthcare provider about how to manage your insulin dosage, food intake, and activity to allow you to exercise safely. Exercise also improve diabetes A1C levels, which can mean lower doses of medications in the long run.
Being overweight or obese increases the complications of diabetes. Implementing a safe weight loss plan can be beneficial to you. Research shows that high body fat causes decreased insulin sensitivity. By losing weight, you allow your insulin sensitivity to improve and subsequently improve your diabetes management. When implementing a weight loss program, you should set realistic goals that can be measured. For example, make a goal to walk 30-minutes every night around the neighborhood for the next 3 months or increase your non-starchy vegetable intake by ½ cup every day. From there you can start to incorporate more exercise or increase the intensity of your current exercise and improve your diet even further.
Weight loss does not occur overnight and must be looked at as a process. Your healthcare provider can help you to stay on track and help you to safely lose weight.
In summary, a personalized diabetes care plan is important to the management of your diabetes. Lucas Research is a diabetic clinic here to help you achieve your health goals.