(Alexes Papadopoli is the Registered Dietitian at Brown’s Your Independent Grocer in Stittsville.)
More than 11 million Canadians are living with diabetes or prediabetes. This November, in recognition of Diabetes Awareness Month, let’s talk about the prevention and management of the condition. Diabetes – a condition that affects how an individual’s body produces insulin – can be challenging, both physically and mentally, but fortunately, there are a variety of lifestyle changes that can be implemented to help Canadians feel more in control of the condition. One of the best ways to help with the management of diabetes is to maintain a balanced diet. As your Stittsville registered dietitian, here are some of my top tips around nutrition and diabetes.
Think about portion size – It can be a balancing act trying to maintain a healthy diet, but for people living with diabetes, it’s important to learn more about portion size. While portion sizes may look different from person to person, filling half your plate with fruits and vegetables and the other half with protein and whole grain foods is a great start. Loading up your plate with more vegetables can be helpful for people living with diabetes especially since they generally have less sugar. Remember, Canada’s Food Guide is a great resource to always keep in your back pocket.
Fill your plate with slow-digesting carbohydrates – One myth about nutrition and diabetes is that all carbohydrates are off-limits. There are a variety of slow-digesting carbs out there, from sweet potatoes to oats to quinoa. Complex carbohydrates are especially good for people living with diabetes as the body takes longer to break down their sugars and releases glucose at a more consistent rate throughout the day.
Monitor your sugar consumption – For people living with diabetes, monitoring blood sugar levels is always top-of-mind. While there are devices, such as blood sugar meters and flash glucose monitors, that can help with managing diabetes, thinking about sugar consumption can be valuable too. Next time you’re looking for something sweet, try opting for natural sugars, like strawberries and watermelon, since they are absorbed more slowly and less likely to cause your blood sugar to spike.
Nutrition is not “one-size-fits-all” – There is no such thing as a “magic bullet” when it comes to nutrition. While registered dietitians, like me, can provide you with generic guides and meal plans, it is important to remember that they may not help you reach your specific goals. Personalized plans are always best, so be sure to work with a registered dietitian to tailor your meal plans to fit your lifestyle! Whether you have been recently diagnosed with diabetes or have been living with the condition your whole life, it can be challenging to find the right balance when it comes to nutrition. As your local Stittsville registered dietitian at Brown’s Your Independent Grocer, I provide a range of services, such as virtual or in-store one-on-one consultations, store tours, and recipe ideas. To learn more, book a 15-minute discovery call with me at dietitianservices.ca.
Strawberry Cashew Breakfast Shake
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