Living with type 2 diabetes often means navigating food choices to manage blood sugar levels. While this can sometimes feel like an impossible task, improving your overall health and well-being is important. Let’s look at some practical things you can do to make eating for your type 2 diabetes more manageable.

1. Watch Sodium and Added Sugar Intake

Eating a lot of sodium (salt) and added sugar can be bad for your blood sugar levels. Read food labels carefully and choose products with little or no added sugars or salt. When sweetening food or drinks, choose a natural sweetener like stevia instead of pure sugar, and use herbs or spices to season your food instead of salt.

2. Choose Healthy Fats

When you think of fats, what comes to mind? You probably think of “bad” fats like saturated and trans fats from fried food. However, there are several “healthy” fats that you should include in your diet. Fats like those found in nuts, seeds, avocados and olive oil can help improve your cholesterol levels and give your body energy without causing a spike in your blood sugar.

While you should look for ways to include “healthy” fats, it is also important to limit “bad” fats. Food with “bad” fats include fatty meats like beef and bacon, full-fat dairy like butter and cream and processed foods (like packaged snacks and fried foods). While these items are okay sometimes, you should try to reach for low-fat meats, dairy products and whole foods.

Meal Planning is a great way to ensure you make good food choices and stay on track.

3. Practice Portion Control

Too much of a good thing can be bad. Controlling portion sizes is important to managing your blood sugar levels and maintaining a healthy weight. Make sure to check food labels to see what the recommended serving size is. You may be eating two or even three servings of food when you think you’re just eating one! Try using a smaller plate and avoid doing other activities like watching TV while eating.

4. Stay Hydrated

Drink plenty of water during the day to stay hydrated. Dehydration, even if it is mild, can lead to an increase in your blood sugar levels and can damage your health over time.

If you get tired of plain water, reach for refreshing drinks that won’t affect your sugar levels. Try herbal teas, fruit- or herb-infused water or sparking water. Try to avoid drinks like soda and fruit juice as they can increase your blood sugar.

5. Ask for Help

Managing your type 2 diabetes is a journey you do not need to go on alone. It is important to talk with your medical provider about lifestyle changes you can make to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Registered dietitians are also helpful when planning a new diet that helps meet your health and wellness goals. Have questions about starting a new diabetes-friendly diet? Schedule an appointment with your medical provider today!

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