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Tips to Prevent or Manage Diabetes

couple eating a healthy lunch

Diabetes presents patients with challenges, such as what to eat and what not to eat as well as exercise frequency in order to best manage the disease. The Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers tips on how to stay on track.

Diet

With diabetes, it’s important to understand how foods and nutrients affect your body. Portions are also important. Balancing carbohydrates, fat and protein can help ensure blood sugar levels stay stable, which is especially important for those with Type 1 diabetes.

A few daily rules to live by include:

  • Eat meals and snacks frequently, at the same time each day.
  • Eat about the same portion size of food at each meal or snack.
  • Choose nutritious foods that will help support a healthy weight and heart.
  • People with diabetes should incorporate the following foods into their daily diets:
    • Starchy foods such as whole grain cereals, pasta and rice and starchy vegetables like beans, corn and peas
    • Non-starchy vegetables such as carrots and broccoli
    • Fruits
    • Lean meat, fish, poultry and low-fat cheese
    • Fat-free or low-fat milk or yogurt
    • Healthy fats, including plant-based oils and trans-fat-free spreads

The actual amount of each food group that you require depends on the number of calories you require, which also depends on age, gender, size and activity level. Make an appointment with a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist to develop a plan tailored to your individual needs.

Exercise

Regular, moderate exercise can help prevent Type 2 diabetes and reduce or slow complications from Type 1 or Type 2, according to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics. With diabetes, however, it is important to avoid hypoglycemia before, during and after endurance training. For exercise that lasts longer than 60 minutes, additional carbohydrate may be required to keep blood sugar within a safe range.

When taking on an endurance sport, remember these tips:

  • Check your blood sugar often, and make sure you stay in the blood glucose range that you have determined with your physician.
  • Always have a quick-absorbing form of glucose on hand – whether it be tablets, sports drinks gels or energy bars.
  • Wear a medical alert identification bracelet or a tag that would help paramedics in case of an emergency.
  • Eat and drink before, during and after exercising. Dehydration worsens hypoglycemia.