Healthy diet for diabetes
Whether you are living with diabetes or not, eating well is important.
What is healthy balance diet for diabetes?
The foods you choose to eat in your daily diet make a difference not only to managing diabetes, but also to how well you feel and how much energy you have every day.
How much you need to eat and drink is based on your age, gender, how active you are and the goals you are looking to achieve.
Portion sizes have grown in recent years, as the plates and bowls we use have got bigger. Use smaller crockery to cut back on your portion sizes, while making the food on your plate look bigger.
No single food contains all the essential nutrients you need in the right proportion. That’s why you need to consume foods from each of the main food groups to eat well.
Fruit and vegetables
Naturally low in fat and calories and packed full of vitamins, minerals and fibre, fruit and vegetables add flavour and variety to every meal.
They may also help protect against stroke, heart disease, high blood pressure and some cancers.
Everyone should eat at least five portions a day. Fresh, frozen, dried and canned fruit in juice and canned vegetables in water all count. Go for a rainbow of colors to get as wide a range of vitamins and minerals as possible.
Adding an apple, banana, pear, or orange to your lunchbox
Sliced melon or grapefruit topped with low-fat yogurt, or a handful of berries, or fresh dates, apricots or prunes for breakfast.
carrots, peas and green beans mixed up in a pasta bake.
Adding an extra handful of vegetables to your dishes when cooking – peas to rice, spinach to lamb or onions to chicken.
Potatoes, rice, pasta, bread, chapattis, naan and plantain all contain carbohydrate, which is broken down into glucose and used by your cells as fuel.
Better options of starchy foods – such as wholegrain bread, whole wheat pasta and basmati, brown or wild rice – contain more fiber, which helps to keep your digestive system working well.
They are generally more slowly absorbed (that is, they have a lower glycaemic index, or GI), keeping you feeling fuller for longer.
Try to include some starchy foods every day.
Two slices of multi grain toast with a scraping of spread and Mar mite or peanut butter
Rice, pasta or noodles in risottos, salads or stir-fries
Potatoes any way you like – but don’t fry them – with the skin left on for valuable fiber. Choose low-fat toppings, such as cottage cheese or beans
Baked sweet potato, with the skin left on for added fiber
Boiled cassava, flavored with chilli and lemon
Chapatti made with brown or wholemeal atta.
Meat, fish eggs, pulses, beans and nuts
These foods are high in protein, which helps with building and replacing muscles. They contain minerals, such as iron, which are vital for producing red blood cells.
Oily fish, such as mackerel, salmon and sardines, also provide omega-3, which can help protect the heart. Beans, pulses, soya and tofu are also good sources of protein.
Aim to have some food from this group every day, with at least 1–2 portions of oily fish a week.
Serving meat, poultry or a vegetarian alternative grilled, roasted or stir-fried
A small handful of raw nuts and seeds as a snack or chopped with a green salad
Using beans and pulses in a casserole to replace some – or all – of the meat
Grilled fish with masala, fish pie, or make your own fish cakes
Eggs scrambled, poached, dry fried or boiled – the choice is yours!
Milk, cheese and yogurt contain calcium, which is vital for growing children as it keeps their bones and teeth strong.
They’re good sources of protein, too.
Some dairy foods are high in fat, particularly saturated fat, so choose lower-fat alternatives (check for added sugar, though).
Semi-skimmed milk actually contains more calcium than whole milk, but children under 2 should have whole milk because they may not get the calories or essential vitamins they need from lower-fat milks.
Don’t give children skimmed milk until they’re at least 5.
Aim to have some dairy every day, but don’t overdo it.
milk straight in a glass, flavored with a little cinnamon, or added to breakfast porridge
yogurt with fruit or on curry
cottage cheese scooped on carrot sticks
a bowl of breakfast cereal in the morning, with skimmed or semi-skimmed milk
a cheese sandwich at lunchtime, packed with salad
Foods high in fat and sugar
You can enjoy food from this group as an occasional treat in a balanced diet, but remember that sugary foods and drinks will add extra calories – and sugary drinks will raise blood glucose – so opt for diet/light or low-calorie alternatives. Or choose water – it’s calorie free!
Fat is high in calories, so try to reduce the amount of oil or butter you use in cooking. Remember to use unsaturated oils, such as sunflower, rapeseed or olive oil, as these types are better for your heart.
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