Healthy Eating

The control of Type II Diabetes is hugely affected by the choices we make everyday regarding food and drink.

Eat a variety of foods. Choose a variety of foods to eat so that your body gets the nutrition it needs.

Eat less fat.  Avoid fried foods. Foods that are baked, broiled, grilled, boiled, or steamed are more healthy to eat. Eat meats that have little fat. When you eat dairy products (cheese, milk, yogurt, and others), choose those that have little or no fat or cream.

Eat less sugar. You may find that eating less sugar helps you control your blood glucose level. Here are some things you can do to eat less sugar:

  • Eat more high-fibre foods, like vegetables, dried beans, fruit, and whole grain breads and cereals.
  • Drink water and other drinks that have no added sugar.
  • Eat fewer foods that have extra sugar, such as cookies, cakes, pastries, candy, brownies, and sugared breakfast cereals.
  • Talk with your health care team about ways to sweeten food and drinks without using sugar.

Eat less salt. Eating less salt may help control your blood pressure. Here are some ways to eat less salt:

  • Use less salt when you prepare foods.
  • Cut down on processed foods, such as foods you buy in cans and jars, pickled foods, lunch meats (“cold cuts”), and snack foods, such as chips.
  • Taste your food first before adding salt. You may not need to add any.
  • Use herbs and spices instead of salt to flavor your food.

Eat regular meals.  Ask your GP to help you choose a meal plan. He or she may suggest you eat three meals and a snack or two every day at about the same times. Eating every 4 to 5 hours can help control blood sugar.

A word about drinking alcohol: Alcohol can cause health problems, especially for people with diabetes. It adds calories and doesn’t give your body any nutrition. Drinking alcohol may cause dangerous reactions with medicines you take. Your blood glucose can go down too low if you drink beer, wine, or liquor on an empty stomach. If you want to include a drink in your food plan once in a while, ask your GP how to do so safely.

Where to get further information and expert advice:  Some useful advice on food, diet and diabetes from the HSE Community Nutrition and Dietetic Service can be read here : Food and Diabetes the First Steps.  Other useful information on healthy eating can be found at the Irish Nutrition and Health Foundation, the Irish Heart Foundation, and on Diabetes Ireland websites


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