Did you know there are 25.8 million (8.3% of the population) children and adults in the US with diabetes? Meanwhile there are 79 million with prediabetes – those whose blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not yet high enough to be diagnosed as diabetes (according to the 2011 National Diabetes Fact Sheet).

November is National Diabetes Month. It’s important to be aware of diabetes and its health consequences so you can prevent or delay its onset through a healthy lifestyle. CheckUp America is an American Diabetes Association program working to help people lower their risk for type 2 diabetes and heart disease.  On their website, www.diabetes.org, you’re also able to check your risk for type 2 diabetes in less than ten minutes by completing a risk assessment. Knowing your risk is the first step you and your family can take to stop diabetes.

How can you make healthy meals to prevent or improve diabetes? If you or a loved one has diabetes, you know eating regular meals goes a long way to keeping your blood glucose level even. Life can be hectic. Still, make time for yourself and avoid skipping meals, especially breakfast, even when pressed for time.

Create your Plate is a fast and easy method to choose and eat the foods you enjoy, focusing on portion sizes. By changing the amount of food on your plate and choosing quality (high nutrient value) over quantity (bigger is not always better) you’ve made a positive step towards your health!

Draw an imaginary line down the middle of your plate. Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables such as:

  • Dark leafy greens (kale, spinach, swiss chard) – high in vitamin A, C and fiber
  • Salad greens – Join our Salad a Day CSA Program at Duncan Farms!
  • Cruciferous vegetables: cabbage, broccoli, cauliflower, bok choy, collard greens – high in antioxidants
  • Carrots, tomatoes, cucumbers, mushrooms, peppers  – high in beta-carotene, lycopene

On the other side of the plate, divide it in two small sections. One third will have starchy foods such as:

  • Whole grain breads and crackers – check the ingredients on the nutrition labels for whole products
  • Whole grain fiber cereal
  • Cooked beans and peas – high in fiber
  • Brown rice or whole wheat pasta

The last third will emphasize protein rich foods such as:

  • Lean cuts of beef and pork
  • Chicken or turkey without the skin
  • Fatty fish high in omega-3 – good for your heart – tuna, salmon, trout
  • Tofu, eggs, low-fat cheese

Finish off your plate by adding an eight ounce glass of non-fat or low-fat milk or equivalent: fat-free or light yogurt (or substitute) and a small piece of fruit or ½ cup homemade fruit salad.

Yes, it’s possible to make gradual changes and feel healthier. What changes will you make this month?

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