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Health tips: dining to prevent diabetes

Healthy eating starts by developing new habits. It’s a challenge to give up some of your beloved comfort foods. Start swapping your unhealthy favorites for smart substitutions. Your health and family will be grateful for it. Learning to eat well-balanced meals can help prevent or reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes.

Get started

Take a step back to evaluate what you consume. Think about where you can cut back on salts and sugars — and where you can add foods to meet your nutritional needs. The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends enjoying these “superfoods”:

  • Beans
  • Dark green leafy vegetables
  • Citrus fruits
  • Sweet potatoes
  • Berries
  • Tomatoes
  • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids
  • Whole grains
  • Nuts
  • Fat-free milk and yogurt

The challenge

Work one superfood into your daily meal. Instead of sugary cereal for breakfast, dip your spoon into Greek yogurt. Add some blueberries on top. For lunch, turn your chicken sandwich into a salad. Eighty-six the bread, slice the chicken into bite-sized pieces and lay it on a bed of field greens.

Stay on track

Keeping track of what you eat in a food diary may help you lose weight. Jot down everything — food and drinks. You may see where your calories are going. Write as soon as you eat. It’ll help you remember what you’ve eaten earlier in the day. And possibly prevent you from indulging in after-dinner desserts or midnight snacks.

The challenge

Start journaling. MyFoodAdvisorTM is an online tracking tool to help you manage your diabetes and prevent complications. You can track your foods, search for recipes and set goals. It doesn’t matter if it’s an online tool, a pen and notepad, or an app on a smart phone. Just hold yourself accountable.

Plan ahead

Meal planning can help keep your blood sugar under control. It’s nearly impossible to know how restaurants prepare their meals. It doesn’t help that we’re surrounded by obesity-encouraging factors. If you create your plate at home, you know exactly what’s in your dish. Eating well — like any new skill — requires planning, practice and patience.

The challenge

Create a meal plan at the beginning of the week or before you shop for groceries. Ensure that you’re eating a balanced diet. Create your meal plan with the American Diabetes Association Create Your Plate plan. Factor in more grains, fruits and vegetables. Reduce meats, sweets and fats.

Did you know? Carbohydrates have the biggest impact on your blood sugar.

Physical fitness is equally important as a nutritious diet. Do activities that you enjoy with your family or friends. Reconnect with your girlfriends over a one-mile walk. Shoot hoops with your friends. Need some motivation to get moving? Charles Boyd found out that he has type 2 diabetes and is now living a healthier life. Read his full story.