‘Stay well and safe while keeping blood sugar level under control.’
5 tips for eating well with diabetes
Eating a healthy diet is of the utmost importance for people living with diabetes. This is especially true in keeping your blood sugar under control to stay well and safe when you are at home amid movement control order (MCO) period.
Eating well is essential for people living with diabetes. Incorporating healthy foods into your diet during this movement control order (MCO) period is probably more critical than at any other time due to the drastic shift in our day-to-day activities. By being mandated to remain at home, most of us are likely to burn far fewer calories than we usually do simply by reducing our physical activity, causing your blood sugar swings.
These are the 5 tips to stay well and safe with diabetes while keeping blood sugar under control when staying home.
- Plan your meals and, if possible, cook your simple healthy foods.
- Plan your meals for at least 1 week in advance.
- When planning your menu, include a healthier choice such as vegetables, high-fiber foods, and whole grains such as brown rice, brown vermicelli, wholemeal bread, and oats.
- Shop for groceries according to your needs and based on the planned menu.
- This is a time for you to try out new and delicious, yet diabetes-friendly recipes that are available on the internet.
- Get smart on carbs
- Carbohydrates, or in short known as carbs, is not limited to just a pure sugar or desserts. Foods such as rice, bread, flour, milk, and fruits do contain carbs. When taking excessively, carbs cause your blood sugar to spike.
- Manage your carbs using a simple ‘3T’ concepts, and these include:-
- Total Amount (Jumlah)
- Check on the total amount of carbs. Take roughly 1 to 1 ½ fist-sized portions of carbs like rice or noodles at one time.
- Type (Jenis)
- Choose the right type of carbs, such as whole grains and high-fiber like brown rice, brown vermicelli, wholemeal bread, oats, and vegetables.
- Timing (Jam)
- Be sensible about your eating time. Eat about the same time every day of three main meals (breakfast, lunch, and dinner).
- Avoid skipping meals because it can cause your blood sugar levels to dip (hypoglycemia) or spike.
- If you need to snack, do so healthily. Choose snacks like a serving of fruit (a slice of papaya or an orange), 1-2 pieces of wholemeal bread with sardines and salads, or one popiah basah (wet spring roll). Even spicy kuih does contain carbs and can cause blood sugar levels to spike.
- Total Amount (Jumlah)
- Beautify your plate
- Control your portion at mealtimes by using the Healthy Plate portion of ‘quarter-quarter-half’ (#SukuSukuSeparuh).
- Eat your vegetables first before consuming rice and side dishes. Studies show that eating vegetables first and carbs last help to control after-meal blood sugar levels.
- Ensure that there is the only one-fried dish on your plate. Cut down fatty meals is essential to control the fat intake. A high fat intake causes weight gain and makes your sugar control even more challenging to manage.
- Staying hydrated
- People with diabetes can be more prone to dehydration, especially when blood sugar rises, so it’s vital to stay hydrated. Drinks lots of water and avoid sugary drinks.
- Caffeinated drinks and high-sodium foods can cause your body to lose much water.
- Stay Active
- Make sure you stay active and exercise even though you are at home.
- Use the right shoes, socks, and clothes when exercising to avoid injury or cuts, especially on your legs.
Besides, practicing good personal hygiene and getting good sleep is essential amid movement control period in keeping blood sugar level under control.
Stay well and safe
Prof Madya Dr Barakatun Nisak Mohd Yusof
Lecturer and Dietitian
Universiti Putra Malaysia