Eating healthy with type 2 diabetes

One thing we strive to communicate at Village Pharmacy is that prevention is the key to staying healthy. While not every illness is preventable, some, including type 2 diabetes are. If you are at risk of type 2 diabetes, some changes to your diet can help lower your chances of developing this deadly, yet preventable disease. Here are some simple ways you can take control of your diet.

  1. Swap out white flour for whole-grain flour or oat flour. Anytime you can choose whole grain and multigrain over white slices of bread and pasta is a good opportunity to decrease your sugar intake. 
  2. Eat more whole grains. Whole grains reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes for those who do not have the disease. They also prevent constipation, help with weight control, and protect against cardiovascular disease. 
  3. Choose low-fat dairy products. Many recipes call for whole milk and cream, but you can lower the fat without changing the flavor of the foods you cook. Instead of whole milk or half-and-half, use 1% milk, evaporated skim milk, or nonfat half-and-half. Plain nonfat yogurt is also a good substitute for sour cream. Cornstarch combined with skim milk is an alternative to cream or whole milk when making creamy sauces.
  4. Use liquid fats instead of solid fats. Avoiding saturated fats and trans fats makes a big difference in calorie and fat intake. Use trans-fat-free margarine, or shortening if a recipe calls for butter. Canola, corn, and olive oils can be a healthy alternative to anything labeled “partially hydrogenated”.
  5. Drink black tea. According to a study published by the National Center for Biotechnology Information, “black tea extract reduced the blood glucose level and improved the body’s ability to metabolize the sugar.” Not only does black tea contain anti-cancer properties, but it also reduces the chances of cardiovascular disease.
  6. Avoid fatty meat. Instead of the typical ground beef, try ground turkey burgers. They are juicy and still give you the burger you crave. Fish, poultry, and lean red meats can be baked, broiled, grilled, boiled, and roasted to cut down on the unhealthy fat associated with frying foods.
  7. Eat more beans, berries, and veggies. Broccoli, carrots, green beans, spinach, and other leafy greens like celery and lettuce, kidney beans, lentils, and all types of berries like blueberries and raspberries, should be part of your daily diet. Eat five cups of vegetables and fruits every day as part of a healthy diet.
  8. Watch the carbs. Carbs can be hidden in all sorts of food, including salad dressing and condiments. Choose lower-fat gravies and salad dressings, and remember to watch the carbohydrate count of condiments and dressings. Avocado oil mayo, mustard, organic unsweetened ketchup and barbeque sauce, and hot sauce all provide the taste without adding to your carb intake. Look for salad dressings that are keto-friendly or make your own so you know exactly what is in it! 
  9. Snack smart. Just because you are eating healthier, doesn’t mean you can’t snack. Choose low-calorie options like part-skim string cheese, a hard-boiled egg, or two ounces of turkey or ham wrapped in lettuce. Need something crunchy? Dip carrots or celery in hummus, grab a handful of whole nuts like almonds, pecans, and pecans, or a snack of soy crisps instead of chips to give you protein without the carbs.
  10. Need help planning meals? Rather than staring at your pantry or fridge trying to decide what to eat, or going to the grocery store without a plan, consider working with a dietitian for some guidance. Your doctor or pharmacist can refer you to a dietician who can help you plan meals specifically for your health issues.