Sugarland Primary Care Physicians

A Guide for Planning Diabetes-Friendly Meals

Apr 01, 2023
A Guide for Planning Diabetes-Friendly Meals
Getting diagnosed with type 2 diabetes can affect your life, including how active you are and what you eat. Here’s a handy guide on planning your diabetic meals to stay healthy.

Type 2 Diabetes is a chronic condition that affects your blood glucose (blood sugar) levels and how your body processes insulin. These problems can lead to numerous complications that may severely affect your health. Over 37 million people have been diagnosed with diabetes (with over a million new cases in 2019 alone), while 96 million American adults have prediabetes, which can lead to diabetes if left unchecked.

Diabetes can be dangerous to your health but is manageable with lifestyle changes, including changing your diet. Let’s examine how to manage this new diet by reviewing how diabetes affects you and what food choices can help you better cope with this chronic illness.

Residents of the Sugarland, Texas area looking for ways to deal with diabetes or other chronic conditions can find help with Dr. Chinwe Okafor and her skilled medical team at Sugarland Primary Care Physicians.

How diabetes affects your body

Blood circulates nutrients, oxygen, and many other materials throughout your body; one substance you get from your food that is important is blood glucose, otherwise known as blood sugar. Even though you can get glucose from many foods, you usually get it from carbohydrates. Glucose provides energy for basic functions throughout your body. Your body needs blood glucose, but too much of it throws your body out of balance.

Insulin is a hormone created in your pancreas responsible for regulating blood glucose to ensure you maintain a healthy amount, and when your body doesn’t have enough insulin to do its job or builds resistance to the hormone, it increases the risk of diabetes.

Dietary choices to manage diabetes

If you have diabetes, you need to get your blood sugar under control, and dietary changes are one of the most immediate things you can do to help reduce blood sugar and maintain healthy body weight. Here are some diet choices to bear in mind when planning meals for diabetes:

Foods to avoid

There are foods we eat all the time that increase our risks of weight gain and unhealthy blood sugar levels, such as chips, cookies, cake, white bread, pasta, canned soups, microwavable meals, candy, and proteins high in saturated fat. One of the first things you do is reduce or eliminate these foods from your menu entirely.

Foods to eat

Vegetables low in starch, high-fiber fruits, lean proteins, healthy fats, whole grains, and low-fat dairy are all great choices to achieve healthy blood sugar levels and maintain a healthy weight. Focus on broccoli, apples, boneless skinless chicken, turkey, salmon, avocados, nuts, quinoa, and plain yogurt.

Meal examples

A day of meals using this diet can include: 

  • Breakfast options: a veggie omelet (a whole egg and two egg whites) with reduced-fat cheese, fruit, fruit smoothies with low-fat yogurt, or oatmeal with fruits and nuts
  • Lunch options: chicken breast salad, chickpeas with olive oil and vinegar dressing, turkey chili with reduced fat cheese, whole wheat turkey sandwich with sliced veggies
  • Snacks: celery or carrot sticks in nut butter, sliced vegetables with hummus, low-fat cottage cheese with sliced fruit
  • Dinner: grilled salmon with steamed broccoli and quinoa, tofu veggie stir fry with brown rice, shrimp, and vegetable tray bake

Drink plenty of water, watch your caffeine intake from coffee and tea, avoid artificially sweetened beverages, and lower your alcohol intake. Moderate your carbohydrates, choose healthy carbs, eat lean proteins, and avoid unhealthy fats.

Diet is an essential part of your life, but it becomes even more significant to eat healthy with diabetes. If you’re struggling with this chronic condition and need help, make an appointment today with Dr. Okafor and Sugarland Primary Care Physicians to get healthier.