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Healthy Eating Plan

Diabetes: Healthy Eating Plans & Tips

October 13, 2015

I have been compensated for my time by McNeil Nutritionals, LLC, the maker of SPLENDA® Sweetener Products. All statements and opinions are my own. I have pledged to Blog With Integrity, asserting that the trust of my readers and the blogging community is vitally important to me.

Is there only one “diabetic diet”? The cut to the chase answer is a resounding NO! However, you will continue to see and hear the terms “a diabetic diet” or “an ADA (American Diabetes Association) diet” used though they’ve been outdated for upwards of 20 years in the ADA’s nutrition recommendations and by diabetes nutrition management experts.

Why? Several reasons. For starters, we know much more today about the origins of and treatments for the different types of diabetes. We also have more tools and dietary strategies than ever before to help people manage their diabetes to live a long and healthy life.

Experts also now realize how very challenging it is for people with diabetes to eat healthfully. Especially in our fast-paced convenience-food focused world, to follow a rigid, so called, diabetic diet. The most recent ADA nutrition recommendations say, “…the most challenging part of the treatment plan is determining what to eat.”

ADA’s nutrition therapy recommendations now acknowledge that every person is an individual who needs to seek and find a healthy way of eating that factors in their personal food preferences, lifestyle and daily schedule. Other considerations? Whether you like or dislike having to eat snacks, when during the day you eat your biggest meal, your weight and weight loss goals, your blood pressure and blood lipid levels and myriad other factors. The ADA states, “…there is not a ‘one-size-fits-all’ eating pattern for people with diabetes.”

Healthy Eating Plan Tips

But don’t go thinking it’s time for a food free-for-all. Experts in nutrition and diabetes have good consensus about the foods that should be central to any healthy eating plan to help people achieve their health and weight goals. Let’s consider these:

  1. Eat sufficient servings of fruits, vegetables each and every day (2 ½ cups of each)
  2. Enjoy whole grains and legumes/beans
  3. Use low or fat-free dairy foods
  4. Pour and spread moderate amounts of healthier fats and oils that are higher in polyunsaturated and/or monounsaturated fats and lower in saturated fats
  5. Go light on full fat cheese and red meats to reduce saturated fats
  6. Limit added sugars in the form of regularly sweetened drinks, cakes, cookies, candy, and pastries

And as much as you see headlines that tout one type of diet for diabetes, know that research shows people can successfully accomplish their diabetes goals using a range of eating plans from lower carbohydrate to a Mediterranean-style eating, to vegetarian. Choose an eating plan that best fits your needs.

Achieving Healthier Eating Habits

The more important focus today is on how to transition your eating habits from not-so healthy to healthier. As human beings we resist change. That’s particularly true with our eating habits and food choices. We may do so for a short time, but we often slowly but surely gravitate back to our old ways.

Let this observation be the key for you taking a different tack, one that you’re more likely to be successful with. Step one. Honestly observe your current eating habits, food choices and, particularly, the amount of foods and beverages you consume. Next, take time to consider what may be the easiest habits or food choices to change. Then set a few easy-to-achieve goals. Implement them and experience success.

Can you make one or more of these changes?

  • Prepare smaller amounts of food at home.
  • Put less sugar in your coffee or tea or drink less regular soda and use a low calorie sweetener like SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener instead.
  • Set aside half of your restaurant meal portions and take them home for a second meal or split and share portions with dining companions.
  • Indulge less often in high sugar sweets made with less healthy fats. Instead make some satisfying treats with SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener. Check out a wide variety of less added sugar recipes using SPLENDA® No Calorie Sweetener, or enjoy a piece of fruit.
  • Eat home more, eat out less. 

As a side note, though you may have heard that low calorie sweeteners cause people to gain weight, recent studies show the opposite is true. Using low calorie sweeteners and foods sweetened with them as part of an otherwise healthy, calorie controlled eating plan can help you lose weight and keep it off.

This slow and steady approach to tweaking your habits towards healthier eating is more likely to succeed and stick over the years. Are you willing to give this a try?

Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM, is a nationally recognized dietitian and diabetes educator who applies nearly 35 years of expertise as an author, freelance writer, media spokesperson, consultant and diabetes educator. Hope notes: “Healthy eating today is one tough job! The good news is simple tweaks in your food choices and how you prepare foods can often set you on a path to healthier eating. A step in the right direction for a long and healthy life.”

Diabetes Diet ManagementFor more information about planning a healthy diet, visit the Diabetes Management section of this blog.

October 13, 2015  |  POSTED BY: Hope Warshaw, MMSc, RD, CDE, BC-ADM  |  IN: Diabetes Management


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