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Diabetes Diet, Eating, and Physical Activity : Overview

Diabetes Diet, Eating, & Physical Activity

Nutrition and physical activity are important parts of a healthy lifestyle once you have diabetes. Along with other benefits, following a healthy hotel plan and being active can assist you keep your blood sugar level, also called blood glucose, in your firing range. To manage your blood sugar, you would like to balance what you eat and drink with physical activity and diabetes medicine, if you're taking any. What you choose to eat, how much you eat, and when you eat are all important in keeping your blood glucose level in the range that your health care team recommends.

Becoming more active and making changes in what you eat and drink can seem challenging at first. You may find it easier to start with small changes and get help from your family, friends, and health care team.

Eating well and being physically active most days of the week can help you:


Ø  keep your blood glucose level, blood pressure, and cholesterol in your target ranges

Ø  lose weight or stay at a healthy weight

Ø  prevent or delay diabetes problems

Ø  feel good and have more energy


What foods can I eat if I have diabetes?

You may worry that having diabetes means going without foods you enjoy. The good news is that you can still eat your favorite foods, but you might need to eat smaller portions or enjoy them less often. Your health care team will help create a diabetes meal plan for you that meets your needs and likes.

The key to eating with diabetes is to eat a variety of healthy foods from all food groups, in the amounts your meal plan outlines.
The food groups are



Ø  no starchy: includes broccoli, carrots, greens, peppers, and tomatoes

Ø  starchy: includes potatoes, corn, and green peas


·         fruits—includes oranges, melon, berries, apples, bananas, and grapes

·         grains—at least half of your grains for the day should be whole grains


Ø  includes wheat, rice, oats, cornmeal, barley, and quinoa

Ø  examples: bread, pasta, cereal, and tortillas



Ø  lean meat

Ø  chicken or turkey without the skin

Ø  fish

Ø  eggs

Ø  nuts and peanuts

Ø  dried beans and certain peas, such as chickpeas and split peas

Ø  meat substitutes, such as tofu

dairy—nonfat or low fat


Ø  milk or lactose-free milk if you have lactose intolerance

Ø  yogurt

Ø  cheese

Eat foods with heart-healthy fats, which mainly come from these foods:


Ø  oils that are liquid at room temperature, such as canola and olive oil

Ø  nuts and seeds

Ø  heart-healthy fish such as salmon, tuna, and mackerel

Ø  avocado


What foods and drinks should I limit if I have diabetes?

Foods and drinks to limit include


Ø  fried foods and other foods high in saturated fat and trans fat

Ø  foods high in salt, also called sodium

Ø  sweets, such as baked goods, candy, and ice cream

Ø  beverages with added sugars, such as juice, regular soda, and regular


sports or energy drinks

Drink water instead of sweetened beverages. Consider using a sugar substitute in your coffee or tea.

If you drink alcohol, drink moderately—no more than one drink a day if you’re a woman or two drinks a day if you’re a man. If you use insulin or diabetes medicines that increase the amount of insulin your body makes, alcohol can make your blood glucose level drop too low. This is especially true if you haven’t eaten in a while. It’s best to eat some food when you drink alcohol.


When should I eat if I have diabetes?

Some people with diabetes need to eat at about the same time each day. Others can be more flexible with the timing of their meals. Depending on your diabetes medicines or type of insulin, you may need to eat the same amount of carbohydrates at the same time each day. If you take “mealtime” insulin, your eating schedule can be more flexible.

If you use certain diabetes medicines or insulin and you skip or delay a meal, your blood glucose level can drop too low. Ask your health care team when you should eat and whether you should eat before and after physical activity.


Why should I be physically active if I have diabetes?

Physical activity is an important part of managing your blood glucose level and staying healthy. Being active has many health benefits.

Physical activity


Ø  lowers blood glucose levels

Ø  lowers blood pressure

Ø  improves blood flow

Ø  burns extra calories so you can keep your weight down if needed

Ø  improves your mood

Ø  can prevent falls and improve memory in older adults

Ø  may help you sleep better


What physical activities should I do if I have diabetes?


Ø  Walk around while you talk on the phone or during TV commercials.

Ø  Do chores, such as work in the garden, rake leaves, clean the house, or wash the car.

Ø  Park at the far end of the shopping center parking lot and walk to the store.

Ø  Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

Ø  Make your family outings active, such as a family bike ride or a walk in a park.



Notice: Please consult your doctor before following any instruction of

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