When you have prediabetes or diabetes, a healthy diabetes meal plan is key to managing your blood sugar. Sometimes it can be tricky to know which foods and drinks are good choices, but these 10 picks can help keep your numbers in check.
1. Beans (Of Any Kind!)
Whether they're lentils, kidney, pinto, black or garbanzo, beans are a low-glycemic index food. That means their carbohydrates are gradually released so they're less likely to cause blood sugar spikes. They're so beneficial that one study found that eating a daily cup of beans for three months as part of a low-glycemic index diet lowered HbA1c by half a percentage point.
Try it! Swap in beans for half the meat in tacos or your favorite chili recipe.
You might think that there's no room in a diabetic meal plan for fruit, but apples are also low glycemic. Aiming for foods like apples that are low or medium on the glycemic index is one way to manage blood sugar levels. And eating an apple a day has its benefits – they are high in fiber, vitamin C as well as fat-free! Not to mention a portable and easy snack option.
Try it! Toss an apple in your lunch bag or grab one between meals. Bake them and add cinnamon for warm treat.
These crunchy nuts are rich in magnesium, a mineral that may help your body use its own insulin more effectively. Try working more almonds into your diet — one ounce (about 23 whole nuts) supplies nearly 20 percent of your daily dose of this blood sugar-balancing mineral. Plus, nuts like almonds are high in monounsaturated fatty acids, protein, and fiber, which makes them a great way to help manage blood glucose levels.
Try it! For healthy snacking on-the-go, pack one-ounce portions of almonds into single-serve containers.
This leafy green has just 21 calories per cooked cup and is filled with blood sugar-friendly magnesium and fiber. Plus, you can enjoy spinach raw, sautéed with olive oil, cooked or even blended making it a versatile choice too!
Try it! Toss a heaping handful of baby spinach into your next smoothie or use it in place of lettuce in a salad.
5. Chia Seeds
You might have heard that losing or managing weight is one of the best things you can do to improve your blood sugar. Chia seeds can help with that. In one study, people with diabetes who added about an ounce of chia seeds per 1,000 calories day to a calorie-controlled diet for six months shed four pounds and trimmed an inch-and-a-half from their waistlines. Aside from being packed with fiber, these gems also contain protein and provide 18 percent of your recommended daily intake of calcium.
Try it! Combine a quarter-cup of chia seeds with one cup of one-percent or nonfat milk and one-half cup of diced fruit. Refrigerate overnight and enjoy for breakfast the next morning.
6. Glucerna® Shakes and Bars
When you're having a hectic day it can be difficult to eat right. Glucerna shakes and bars can make things easier. Made by Abbott, they have blends of carbohydrates that are slowly digested and absorbed to help minimize blood sugar spikes. With fewer than 200 calories per shake and less than 160 calories per bar, they're a smart, portion-controlled choice.
Try it! Stash a few Glucerna bars or shakes in your car or desk drawer so you'll always have a healthy snack on hand — no matter how busy your day is.
Another fruit option: the evidence of the health benefits of eating blueberries is pretty compelling. Blueberries contain compounds that have been shown to help reduce the risk of heart disease and help improve how your body uses insulin. One study showed that eating the equivalent of about two cups of blueberries daily improved insulin sensitivity in overweight people with insulin resistance. They're also a great source of fiber and other nutrients such as vitamin C and antioxidants, and blueberries are a fantastic way to get your fill.
Try it! Take a half-cup of fresh blueberries (or defrosted, frozen blueberries) and spoon over plain, unsweetened yogurt. Or add a cup of blueberries to your smoothie.
Oatmeal isn't just good for your heart. It can benefit your blood sugar too. Steel cut and rolled oats have a low-glycemic index and are a better choice than foods such as white bread, bran flakes or corn flakes. Just keep in mind that while steel cut and rolled oats are great picks, highly processed instant and quick oats tend to be higher on the glycemic index so they're not as blood sugar friendly.
Try it! Opt for steel or rolled oats cooked oatmeal with blueberries for a hearty, hot breakfast.
This golden spice contains curcumin, a substance that may keep your pancreas healthy and prevent prediabetes from turning into Type 2 diabetes. How well does it work? When researchers gave participants, who had prediabetes 1500 mg of a curcumin supplement daily or a placebo for nine months, 16 percent of people in the placebo group went on to become diabetic, while the entire curcumin group remained diabetes free. This study provides some insight into how an ancient spice like turmeric can help improve how the body can improve its sensitivity to insulin.
Try it: Curry powder is filled with turmeric. Sprinkle some into your next veggie stir-fry for a curcumin kick or talk to a health care professional about using a supplement.
10. Chamomile Tea
Chamomile tea has long been used for a variety of ailments. Existing research shows that it has antioxidant and anticancer properties, and a recent study has found that it may help you manage your blood sugar levels as well. When participants in the study drank one cup of chamomile tea after meals three times per day for six weeks, they showed a reduction in blood sugar levels, insulin, and insulin resistance.
Try it! Replace an after-dinner cocktail with a freshly brewed cup of chamomile tea. Try adding a slice of lemon for flavor and an extra dose of vitamin C.
With these tasty foods and drinks better blood sugar management is in the bag!
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Half of Americans Living with Diabetes May Not Get Enough Protein
Like everyone else, people living with diabetes should strive to eat a healthy, well-balanced diet. You don't need to cook one meal for yourself and another for the rest of your family. Well-balanced meals, which include lean protein, vegetables, healthy fats, and whole grains, are healthy for everyone and help manage blood sugar.
Small Dietary Changes Can Help Lower Your Blood Sugar and Manage Diabetes
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention says 1 in 10 Americans have diabetes and another 1 in 5 people don’t know they have the chronic condition. As the rate of diabetes continues to rise, it’s more important than ever to adopt healthy habits and strategies to manage diabetes. Keeping your glucose in check is of the utmost importance when you're managing type 2 diabetes. Often, ensuring your glucose levels stay within a healthy range requires a multifaced approach of a healthy eating plan and exercise along with potential medication. Managing diabetes doesn't have to feel like work, though. In fact, even slight behavior and eating plan changes may have a significant impact on your glucose management. And according to a new pilot study, diabetes specific nutrition as part of a balanced diet shows promise to help improve glucose management. How Diabetes-Specific Nutrition Shakes May Help Pilot data from Abbott and published in BMJ Open Diabetes Research & Care illustrates the important role diabetes-specific nutrition and continuous glucose monitoring can play on glycemic response management of people with type 2 diabetes. The study found that when participants with type 2 diabetes replaced their typical breakfast and an afternoon or evening snack with a diabetes-specific meal replacement, they experienced a lower glucose level after breakfast. The real-world study also demonstrates how continuous glucose monitoring with Abbott’s FreeStyle Libre® Pro can help physicians conveniently monitor glucose trends and patterns to make more informed treatment decisions for people with diabetes. The small randomized controlled trial looked at the impact of two daily servings of Glucerna Hunger Smart® shake, a diabetes-specific nutritional formula, on participants' glucose levels. Eighty-one adults with type 2 diabetes were enrolled in the study and followed a two-week intervention. In the baseline phase (days one through six), participants continued to follow their regular eating pattern. During the intervention phase (days seven through 14), participants were randomly divided into one of three groups: Group A: Control group with no dietary intervention. Group B: Participants drank one Glucerna Hunger Smart shake as a breakfast meal replacement and a second shake as a mid-afternoon snack. Group C: Participants drank one Glucerna Hunger Smart shake as a breakfast meal replacement and a second shake as a snack before bedtime. In assessing the glucose levels of participants throughout the study, researchers found that drinking a Glucerna Hunger Smart shake twice daily was associated with a 47% reduction in post-meal peak glucose after breakfast, as compared without/before Glucerna Hunger Smart[TS1] . What Does This Mean for Those Managing Type 2 Diabetes? Abbott’s Glucerna brand is one of the most clinically studied diabetes specific formulas with more than 50 clinical studies spanning 30 years.* This research shows that although diabetes is a complex disease, one tool that may make it easier to manage is with the help of a meal or snack replacement such as Glucerna Hunger Smart shakes. Scientifically formulated with CarbSteady®, a unique blend of slow-release carbohydrates to help minimize glucose spikes and 15 grams of protein to help satisfy hunger, Glucerna Hunger Smart shakes can serve as a meal or snack. It also packs zinc, vitamins A, C, D and E to support immune health, as well as 6 grams of fiber in 180 calories, and nutrients to help support immune health. While incorporating this nutrition shake to your everyday routine, as part of a balanced eating plan, may help you manage your blood sugar levels, there are a few other ways you can keep your health on the right track.