Eating right to manage diabetes and prediabetes
According to the CDC, 11.3% of Americans have a diagnosis of diabetes, with an additional 48.8% of adults over 65 living with prediabetes. That’s why good nutrition and following a diabetic-friendly diet is a key factor in managing diabetes and prediabetes. Eating well, exercising, avoiding alcohol and smoking, and taking proper medications all work together to help avoid additional health complications as well.
How carbohydrates affect blood sugar levels
Controlling the carbohydrates (or carbs) you consume plays an important role in a healthful diet for people with and without diabetes. While a balanced plate with nutrient-dense foods is the first step toward disease prevention or maintenance, taking control of your carb intake is a key factor for managing blood sugar levels.
Carbs provide the body with glucose (aka energy), which directly impacts blood sugar levels—and affects diabetic conditions. There are three main types of carbohydrates:
- Starches: Present in plant-based foods such as peas, corn, potatoes, beans, rice, and other grain products
- Sugars: Occur naturally in foods such as milk and fruit and are added to foods to make them sweet, like table sugar, honey, or corn syrup
- Fiber: Indigestible part of plant foods that have shown to help with digestive and heart health
The goal of choosing the best carbs is to select the most nutrient-dense versions, which contain more fiber, vitamins, and minerals and are low in added sugars, sodium, and unhealthy fats. When choosing diabetic-friendly carbohydrates, you should aim to:
- Eat These Most Often: non-starchy vegetables such as lettuce, tomatoes, broccoli, and green beans, starchy vegetables (listed above), whole fruits and whole grains like brown rice, quinoa, oats, and whole grain breads, pasta, and crackers; plain yogurt & fat-free or low-fat milk
- Eat These Less Often: sugary beverages such as soda, sweetened tea, or juices; refined carbs like white bread, pasta, tortillas, crackers, rice, and cereal; pastries like doughnuts, croissants, and sweet rolls; sweets or snack foods like cake, cookies, candy, chips, ice cream and sweetened yogurt; sugar-sweetened condiments
Manage diabetes and multiple health conditions with a meal plan service
Patients with diabetes are at risk for, or may already be managing, multiple health issues such as obesity, heart disease, hypertension, high cholesterol, and others. Fortunately, much of the dietary advice for managing diabetes is also heart-healthy and can help with stabilizing weight, cholesterol, and blood pressure, as well as blood sugar and A1C. But some of this advice can be difficult to follow, especially for older patients with comorbidities. Multiple doctors’ orders may cause stress or confusion, making it hard to stay on a diabetic-friendly or other medically tailored diet.
In these situations, case workers may suggest the individual enroll in a diabetic diet meal plan which is medically tailored to their needs.
LiveWell with Traditions: helping diabetic patients meet their goals
LiveWell with Traditions is a direct-to-door meal benefit provider that helps health plan members with chronic conditions manage various health conditions through proper nutrition. Among our specialty diets is a diabetic-friendly, lower sodium menu created to help patients achieve their A1C goals without the guesswork often involved in making supermarket choices.
LiveWell with Traditions’ diabetic diet menu is carbohydrate-controlled and lower in sodium to help diabetic patients avoid dietary-induced blood sugar spikes and support blood pressure control. Each meal in our diabetic-friendly menu contains <30 gm carbohydrate and <600 mg sodium, making it an excellent choice for patients who want assurance that they are meeting their daily numbers even if they have trouble reading nutrition labels.
LiveWell with Traditions offers excellence in taste, nutrition, and customer service
Each diabetic-friendly menu item is designed by our team of dietitians and created by our chef. The heat-and-eat meals are hand delivered directly to recipients’ homes by a courteous and caring driver. This winning combination ensures that flavor is never sacrificed, that preparation aligns with patients’ dietary guidelines, and that patients will have nutritionally-sound food security without regard to their mobility.
Learn more about our hand-delivered, diabetes diet meal benefit that can help your patients manage their A1C and keep their type 2 diabetes under control.