As you may know, diabetes puts you at risk for many different heart problems. Luckily, the lifestyle choices you make can go a long way toward keeping your heart and blood vessels healthy. Eating right can help you control your blood glucose levels, lose weight and prevent heart attacks. Here are a few general rules to help you eat better and pick healthier food choices:
- Fresh, frozen or canned produce without added sugar or salt
- Healthy fats, like those from fish, avocados and olive oil
- Whole grains
Eat (and drink) less:
- Candy, ice cream and baked goods
- Chips, pretzels and other salty snacks
- Sugary drinks like soda, energy drinks and juice
- Margarine, lard and processed meats
How can I make these changes to my meal plan?
It’s not always easy to make lifestyle changes, so take it slowly. Keep these tips in mind as you gradually add healthy food choices to your meal plan:
- Eat fish with lots of omega-3 fatty acids, like salmon, sardines, mackerel, herring and tuna, 2-3 times each week.
- Have a handful of nuts if you’re hungry between meals.
- When buying breads and pasta, make sure a whole grain is the first ingredient.
- Cook with olive oil instead of margarine or lard.
- Slice fruits and vegetables and keep them in the fridge for quick snacks.
- Eat green and yellow vegetables once a day.
- Try beans or poultry (like chicken, turkey and duck) most days of the week, instead of red meat.
- Drink fruit-infused water instead of soda.
- Watch out for trans fat. Avoid any food with an ingredients label that lists hydrogenated oil, partially hydrogenated oil, or margarine.
- Eat out less.
- Try other ways of seasoning your food besides adding salt. Herb and spices mixes add a lot of flavor, and so do citrus juice, garlic and onions.
- Use an online tool to track the number of calories you take in each day, and make sure you’re in your target range.