Making the right food choices can help you keep your blood sugar levels under control.
Using food labels
Food labels can be very useful to people with diabetes. Pay careful attention to
the serving size and amount of carbohydrates. You can also get the nutritional value
of certain foods from this helpful
food look-up tool on Cornerstones4Care.com.
There is often more than one serving contained in a food package. Read the serving
size compared to the total servings in the package. For instance, a whole bag of
chips may be 4 to 5 total servings, which would be 4 to 5 times the calories, fat,
carbohydrates, and other contents in a serving size. Also, compare serving sizes
listed on the food label to the ones in your diabetes meal plan. They may not be
Carbohydrates and sugar
Your diabetes meal plan may be based on carbohydrate counting, or carb counting.
If so, be sure to look at the total carbohydrates on the food label, not just sugar.
Some nutritious foods may be high in sugar, such as fruit and milk. In high-fiber
foods, the grams of sugar and fiber are counted as carbs. This count can be misleading.
If a food has 5 grams of fiber or more per serving, you can subtract the amount
of fiber from the total carbohydrate content.
Also look closely at food labels for sugar-free products. Sugar-free foods may not
be carbohydrate-free. There may be little difference in total carbohydrate grams
between a sugar-free product and its standard version. For instance, certain cereals
and grains may not have added or natural sugar, but a high level of carbohydrates.
Learn more about
carbohydrates and blood sugar on Cornerstones4Care.com.
When looking at fats on the food label, check to see the types of fats listed. Good
fats can help protect your heart and lower cholesterol, while bad fats raise cholesterol
and increase the risk of heart disease.
The same rule applies with fat-free foods as with sugar-free foods. When looking
at fat-free foods, carefully compare the carbohydrate and calorie content of the
fat-free version against the standard version.
Free foods are those with less than 20 calories and less than 5 grams of carbohydrates
per serving. These foods may include diet soda, sugar-free gelatin, and sugar-free
chewing gum. You can generally include some of them in your diet whenever you like.
You can get more information about free foods on these
food exchange lists on Cornerstones4Care.com.
Keeping track of meal and snack times
Depending on the type of diabetes medicine you use, you may need to follow a careful
schedule for meals and snacking. An insulin analog such as NovoLog® offers a dosing
schedule that can be adjusted mealtimes and exercise.
For more help with developing meal plans use this helpful
menu and recipe planner on Cornerstones4Care.com.