It is often thought that diabetics need a special diet and that they have to cut out certain food items altogether, or replace them with special “Diabetic” items purchased from health food stores. This is not the case and is nothing more than a clever marketing ploy. In reality, diabetics can eat exactly the same food as everybody else.
Because diabetes is a metabolic disorder and requires the sufferer to control of glucose levels in the blood, diabetics do need to pay careful attention to their diet and must ensure that their diet is correctly balanced.
So, what sort of foods should diabetics be selecting when it comes to creating a balanced diet? Well, here are 7 suggestions:
1. Include a wide range of fruit and vegetables and avoid sticking to just your two or three favorites. One good test to apply to fruit and vegetables is the color test, which simply means that you should try to eat fruit and vegetables that span the colors of the rainbow. So, include a wide range such as bananas, oranges, apples, red cabbage, carrots and beans. Also, include vegetables which are either low in starch or starch-free, such as broccoli and spinach.
2. Wherever possible try to eat whole grain rather than processed food and choose things like whole wheat spaghetti and brown rather than white rice.
3. Add fish to your diet at least two times a week. Fish is an excellent source of protein and also contains a number of essential oils. Try to avoid frying fish, especially in batter, and boil, steam, bake or grill fish instead.
4. Choose lean cuts of meat and bake, grill, roast, braise or stew meat in preference to frying it. When buying meat choose cuts that include the word “loin” such as pork loin or sirloin. When cooking wildfowl and poultry remove the skin before serving and steer clear of particularly fatty meats such as duck.
5. Choose non-fat dairy products such as skimmed milk as well as non-fat cheese and yoghurt. Many people find that these products, although they are a very healthy option, simply any real taste. If you find that this is the case then try to meet the problem half way by choosing low-fat rather than non-fat products and compensate for this by using them sparingly in your diet.
6. Avoid high calorie sweetened drinks and carbonated drinks and try to drink more water and natural fruit juices. Also be careful not to drink too much coffee or tea and add only as much sugar as in needed for taste. You’ll be surprised by just how easy it is to cut out sugar altogether if you put your mind to it and you’ll end up enjoying tea and coffee just as much as you did before.
7. Finally, cut back on desserts and, while it’s alright to eat cake and ice-cream occasionally try to include these in your diet only once or twice a week rather than every day. Also, try to wean yourself away from full cream ice-cream and cakes to lower fat alternatives.
If by this stage you’re thinking that this looks like a normal healthy eating routine then you’re quite right. There is no such thing as a “diabetic diet” and all that you need to do to control diabetes in terms of diet is to adopt a simple and sensible habit of eating a good balance of healthy foods.