Eating a well-balanced diet is essential in taking care of yourself. Regular physical activity is equally important for maintaining a healthy and balanced life. Combining a well-balanced diet with physical activity is extremely important for those who have diabetes and are at the risk of getting it. Food that's good for someone with diabetes is good for all. Eating healthy and ensuring good nutrition does not mean you have to eat bland and tasteless meals.
Quality, Quantity and Timing
People with diabetes have the same nutritional needs as anyone else. The key is to plan your meals to help manage diabetes. After all diabetes shouldn’t keep you from eating a wide variety of foods including some of your favorites. The golden rule with any meal is Quality, Quantity and Timing. Follow these guidelines to ensure healthy nutrition;
Quality is very important. Eat a healthy, nutritious and well balanced diet. Food high in fiber, low in calories and low fat are great for healthy living.
It's important to eat an adequate amount of food to ensure your energy requirements are met and to maintain ideal body weight. Eating more than required will lead to fat being stored while eating less will result in you feeling lethargic and low on energy.
Delaying or skipping meals will lead to increased hunger and result in consuming larger amounts of food. Eating 3 small healthy meals and 2 snacks at mid day and for tea is advocated for adults and children.
What should we eat?
Living with diabetes does not mean giving up all your favorite types of foods. It’s all about planning and making healthy food choices. Replace some of the key ingredients in your meals to make your favorite dish a healthy one.
Rice – Replace white rice with high-fiber red rice.
Vegetables and Fruits: Both vegetables and fruits are a great source of vitamins and minerals low in calories. However, everything should be consumed in moderate quantities. Half ripe sour fruits are better than sweet fully ripe ones. Having one of two slices of fruit as a dessert can be a great way to satisfy your sweet tooth.
Meats: Switch to fish or chicken. Fish is high in proteins and low in fat. Prepare chicken without the skin.
Grains: Green gram, cowpea, gram, red rice, mineri, olu rice, whole wheat flour, soya, uludu, kurakkan.
Dairy: Dairy products are high in calcium and vitamin D and protein. Best choices are non-fat milk, non-fat yoghurt, unflavoured soy milk.
Drinks: Water is the best drink. Tea and coffee without added sugar is good, fruit juice with the pulp is fine. However, eating fruit is better than making it into juice.
Foods to avoid
There are some food and drinks that you should avoid to maintain a healthy diet and lifestyle. Avoiding these will help you to steer clear of diabetes and related complications.
- Sugar, honey, jaggary, treacle
- Polished wheat flour and products made with polished wheat flour
- Polished white flour and products made with polished white flour
- Excess salt, oil and fats
- Beef, mutton and pork
- Fried and tempered food
- Processed food such as sausages, ham and bacon
- Fast food such as burgers, french fries, fried chicken and packaged desserts
- Carbonated (fizzy) drinks
- Alcohol and cigarettes