Start Now: Healthy Eating Strategies

In honor of National Nutrition Month, I wanted to share some healthy eating strategies that you can incorporate NOW!  Each tip is straight-forward and easy to implement.

Nutrition tips for people living with diabetes1) Stop DRINKING your calories: Whether it’s regular soft drinks, juices, performance drinks or teas, we forget that 1 cup of any of these items can add an extra 100 calories.  A can of regular soft drink = 150 calories, 45 grams of carbs.  A typical 16 oz. glass will add an additional 50 calories and 15 grams of carbs, leading to extra calories we don’t need and an increase in blood glucose levels.

2) Do not skip meals, especially breakfast: One may think that by eliminating breakfast, we are also eliminating calories. Not true.  By eating breakfast, we BREAK the FAST and our body’s metabolism kicks into gear, meaning we will burn calories. When we do not eat, it will still think we are sleeping and not burn many at all.  In addition, our body may compensate and eat more calories throughout the day to make up what was lost, leading to possible overeating.

Nutrition guidelines for people living with diabetes3) Remember CONDIMENTS have calories (and carbs) too. Always check the serving size for all condiments. 2 tablespoons of BBQ sauce = 40 – 60 calories and 10 grams of carbs; 1 tablespoon of ketchup = 15 calories and 4 grams of carbs; 1 tablespoon of tartar sauce = 60 calories and 2 grams of carbs. We tend to underestimate our servings, so know what 1 or 2 tablespoons looks like, since it’s not as much as we think. We tend to eat 3 – 4 times the actual amount, adding far more calories (and carbs) than we presumed.

4) Learn to use the Nutrition Facts label: Focus on the serving size and total carbs when carb counting. When comparing items, focus on the serving size, calories, fat and total carbs. If you don’t know what a serving size looks like, measure it at home so you can better estimate when out.

Stay tuned next week, when I’ll post a blog about food myths for people living with diabetes.  In the meantime, you can follow us on Twitter and Facebook throughout National Nutrition Month, or visit eatright.org for additional tips and resources.

Amy Hess-Fischl of the University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes CenterHere’s to healthy eating!

Amy Hess-Fischl
Registered Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, Program Coordinator of InTransit Program
The University of Chicago Kovler Diabetes Center

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