Food That Are Good For Diabetes

Eat your favourite meals, even when you have diabetes

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes, your first reaction may be panic: “I’ll be missing out on delicious food for the rest of my life!” The good news is that diabetic patients can enjoy their favorite meals by adjusting the amount taken (quantity) and frequency of consumption.

Living a healthy lifestyle with diabetes means having a balanced diet that maintains blood glucose or blood sugar within the desired range. Your doctor and dietician can suggest an individualized meal plan that will help you manage your diabetes and meet your nutritional needs.

To optimize your blood glucose levels, you will need to regulate your meal and medication timings, opt for healthy eating based on the food portion recommended by your dietitian and exercise to maintain a healthy body weight.

READ ALSO: Warning Signs Of Diabetes


Are all fruits equal?

It is a misconception that people with diabetes should not eat fruits since they contain fructose, a sugar that causes your blood sugar levels to rise. Having a variety of fruits in different colors not only entices you to have your daily serving of fruits, it also provides a mixture of nutrients your body needs.

Fruits contains good sources of fiber, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants that can help strength your immunity and manage your chronic diseases.

It is recommended to have 2 servings of fruits/day taken 1-2 hours post meals as an in between meal snack. This can also prevent you from snacking unnecessarily.

Most fruits taken in moderation and in the serving, size recommended will not have much effect on your blood glucose levels.

Fruit juices are not recommended as every cup if juice contains more than 1 serving of fruits thus containing more sugar, resulting in an increase in high blood glucose.

Can I eat sweets?

Some people have the perception that if they do not take sugar/ sweets, they will not have energy to function

Sugar can be found in our daily meals in the form of carbohydrates in out staples e.g., rice/ noodles/ breads/ oats/ potato; vegetables and fruits; in dairy products e.g., milk/ yogurt etc.

It is advisable, for better glucose, to replace all forms to sugar/ honey/ sweets with artificial sweetener/ sugar free sweets to avoid consumption of additional sugars.

For example, to replace condense / evaporated milk with low fat milk. Low fat milk contains natural lactose (milk sugar) and can provide some sweetness in the beverage + increase calcium intake.

If you are keen on some carbonated drinks, opt for the sugar free versions e.g., “Light’, “Zero” to enjoy the empty calorie fizz

It is only when you experience low blood glucose (hypoglycemia) that sweets/ sweetened beverage is encouraged to help you bring up your blood sugar quickly before you seek treatment.

How much rice and grain can I have?

Based on My Healthy Plate, it is recommended to have at least 5-7 servings of brown rice and whole meal bread. The number of servings is dependent on your nutritional needs

Food that is recommended in this category includes

  1. Brown rice
  2. Whole meal bread / biscuits
  3. Oats
  4. Wholegrain noodles
  5. Cereals

Spread out your carbohydrate intake throughout the day in small amounts to prevent sudden rise in blood sugars for better diabetes control.

READ ALSO: Guide to Healthy Eating

What vegetables are good for me?

Vegetables are not only low in kcals; its fiber content promotes early satiety (feel full for a longer period of time) resulting in better diabetes control.

Fiber helps regulate the release of sugar into the blood stream, allowing time for the body to absorb the sugars.

It is encouraged to have a variety of vegetables to enjoy the different taste, texture, vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants it has to offer.

If you are having some starchy vegetables e.g., potato / pumpkin/ corn etc., reduce the amount of rice/ noodles/ porridge taken at the meal for better glucose control.

What oils are healthy?

Fats are still fats even if they are the healthier fats.

Excessive fats intake will hinder sugar absorption into the body, resulting in poor glycemic control

If cooking, opt for healthier oils such as Monounsaturated Fats (MUFA) or Polyunsaturated Fats (PUFA) and use in moderation. This may help in cholesterol management and reduce risk of heart attack and stroke.

Examples of MUFA / PUFA oils includes Canola, Olive, Corn, Rice Bran etc.

It is also advisable to limit intake of fried food items to not more than two times per week, remove skin of meats and reduce gravy intake to reduce your overall fat intake.

In summary

Diabetic Diet is a healthy eating diet for everyone.

It encourages one to opt for high fiber food options through consumption of wholegrain/ whole meal food items, fruits, and vegetables daily. One can opt for sugar free drinks and snacks if you have some sugar cravings without affecting your blood sugar.

Make time too for some exercise to keep fit and for better sugar absorption.

READ ALSO: Do More For Your Health, Go For Health Screening!

For more information about St Luke's Hospital Community Clinic - Diabetics Care Services, click here to learn more.

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