What happens when someone brings cupcakes to the office for your birthday? What if you'd like to grab a beer with friends?
It's true that total spontaneity may be a casualty of your eating plan. But let's face it, almost everyone -- diabetic or not - has to do some dietary planning. No one stays healthy on a daily regimen of cupcakes and beer. If you use your exchanges judiciously, you can have an occasional treat and still keep your blood sugar in check. Keep a food diary so that you know what you've already eaten, and understand the impact of every splurge.
Eating is an important social activity for many of us. Let your friends know about your eating plan, so that social activities can include healthful foods. Most friends will support your efforts -- they don't want to lose you. Similarly, if one person in the family develops diabetes, let that be a sign to everyone to adopt more healthful eating habits.
One strategy for avoiding temptation is to fill up on low-carb vegetables, water and free foods. For example, a serving of spinach has a mere 20 calories, and it's packed with nutrients and fiber. High-fiber foods help you feel full for longer.
Remember to eat often throughout the day. Long stretches of not eating can lead to crashes in blood sugar. They also -- big surprise -- make you hungry. When you feel as though your stomach's about to cave in, it's much harder to say no to a sugar-laden snack.
Keep desirable foods, such as fresh fruit and vegetables, visible. We tend to eat based on visual cues, so have a fruit bowl in the kitchen, and use clear plastic containers in the fridge.
Go for cuisines that don't require a lot of fancy chemical tinkering to taste good. For example, Asian and Mediterranean diets are naturally flavorful, high in vegetables and low in sugar.
Caloric restriction may feel like a giant, painful imposition -- especially if unrestricted eating has been your norm, but a diabetic diet is your first step toward regaining control of your health and your body.
To learn more, visit the links below.
Related HowStuffWorks Articles
- American Diabetes Association. "Managing Diabetes." (Accessed 3/26/09) http://www.diabetes.org/for-parents-and-kids/diabetes-care/managing-diabetes.jsp
- American Diabetes Association. "Overcoming Barriers." (Accessed 3/26/09) http://www.diabetes.org/weightloss-and-exercise/exercise/overcoming-barriers.jsp
- American Diabetes Association. "Portion Control -- For Parents and Kids." (Accessed 3/25/09) http://www.diabetes.org/for-parents-and-kids/diabetes-care/portion-control.jsp
- American Dietetic Association. "Food Nutrient Data for Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetics." (Accessed 3/26/09) http://www.eatright.org/cps/rde/xchg/ada/hs.xsl/nutrition_13961_ENU_HTML.htm
- CBS News. "24 Million Americans Have Diabetes." June 25, 2008. (Accessed 3/26/09) http://www.cbsnews.com/stories/2008/06/25/health/main4207503.shtml?source=related_story
- Cheung, Sophie. "Keeping a Healthy Kitchen with Diabetes." 2008. The Joslin Diabetes Center. (Accessed 3/25/09) http://www.joslin.org/managing_your_diabetes_4618.asp
- The Joslin Diabetes Center. "Healthy Grocery Shopping When You Have Diabetes." 2008. (Accessed 3/26/09) http://www.joslin.org/managing_your_diabetes_4257.asp
- Lawson, Nigella. "Low-Fat Menus." How to Eat: The Pleasures and Principles of Good Food. Wiley. August 2002.
- MedlinePlus. "Diabetic Diet." National Library of Medicine. March 22, 2009. (Accessed 3/25/09) http://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/diabeticdiet.html
- National Diabetes Information Clearninghouse. "Complications of Diabetes." (Accessed 3/26/09) http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/complications/index.htm
- Nemours. "Carbohydrates and Diabetes." 2007. (Accessed 3/26/09) http://kidshealth.org/parent/managing_diabetes/nutrition/carbs_diabetes.html
- Norman, James. "The Diabetic Diet: How Diabetics Count Calories and Plan Their Diets." EndocrineWeb. 2007. (Accessed 3/26/09) http://www.endocrineweb.com/diabetes/treatment.html
- Patrick, Timothy B.; Monga, Harpreet K.; Sievert, MaryEllen C.; Houston Hall, Joan; Longo, Daniel R. "Evaluation of Controlled Vocabulary Resources for Development of a Consumer Entry Vocabulary for Diabetes." Journal of Medical Internet Research. August 28, 2001. (Accessed 3/25/09) http://www.pubmedcentral.nih.gov/articlerender.fcgi?artid=1761907