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A healthy diabetes diet

So you’ve just been diagnosed with diabetes and you don’t know what to eat. What does a healthy diabetes diet look like? We’ve all been there! While we have plenty of recipes to offer, and a balanced meal plan, it’s also helpful to understand carb counting, which foods to eat often, and portion control. This excellent article from Accu-Chek has all the info you need.

Carbohydrates and blood sugar

Carbohydrates (carbs) are sugars. They break down in the body to create glucose, a major source of energy. Choosing the right carbs and cutting out all refined carbs (white bread, white rice, pap, cakes, cookies etc) is very important, but it’s also helpful to be able to count your carbs. Counting the carbs you eat at every meal and pairing them with the correct dose of insulin can keep your blood sugar level closer to normal range. Take a closer look at the portion plate here.

healthy eating portion plate

Superfoods as part of a healthy diabetes diet

The below foods are particularly good for people with diabetes, because they have a lower glycaemic index or net carbs and help stabilise your blood sugar. Read up all about them here.

  1. Beans: full of protein. They are also a carb, so be aware of portion control.
  2. Dark green, leafy vegetables: eat as much as you like!
  3. Citrus fruits: full of vitamin C, but eat in moderation.
  4. Sweet potatoes: a much healthier choice than normal potatoes.
  5. Berries: full of goodness and low in carb.
  6. Tomatoes: full of vitamins C and E, and iron.
  7. Salmon, or any fish high in omega-3 fatty acids.
  8. Whole grains: if you’re choosing bread, choose whole grains.
  9. Raw nuts: full of healthy fats and fibre.
  10. Dairy: an important source of vitamin D. Plain, unsweetened yoghurt is full of probiotics, which are great for gut health.

Note: This isn’t a suggested eating list. Our approach to eating well with diabetes is to cut out refined carbs and reduce carbs as much as possible. But we understand that everyone approaches diet differently, and we want to empower each person to make up their own mind. If you understand carb counting, you can make better food choices.

diabetes superfoods

Portion control

Portion sizes are so important for blood sugar control. Even if you’re used to counting carbs, it’s worth measuring things out to be sure. This way, you’ll know exactly how many carbs you’re eating, instead of approximately how many. Over the course of a day, these little inaccuracies can really throw off your carb count. A meal plan can be helpful because you eat the same meals each week, and can test their effect on your blood sugar.

Get even more healthy diabetes diet tips from Accu-Chek here.

Photo by Jagoda Kondratiuk on Unsplash

Published inFoodJust Diagnosed

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10 Comments

  1. Thanks for the advice of how to inject the insulin. Would like more of it.

  2. Good Moring is it safe to use food with the approved diabetes sign like the bread,rice sereal ?Regards Neill

    • Hi Neill!
      Those are usually healthier options than others of their type – so if you’re going to eat bread / rice / cereal, it’s a good idea to choose the one with the approved diabetes sign. But portion control is really important – take a look at this article to find out how much of carbs (starch) like this you should be eating. https://sweetlife.org.za/how-to-do-carb-counting/

  3. Priscilla Priscilla

    I needed this

  4. I am battling and it’s more expensive to eat right.

    • I know, Cedric, and at first healthy food doesn’t taste as good (until you learn to use spices and your tastebuds get used to it). But it’s so much better for you, your body and your diabetes, and it’s saving you health problems down the line… You can do it! Join Diabetic South Africans on Facebook if you want some community support 🙂

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