Fun and Fit Ways to Control and Prevent Diabetes
Exercise helps your body use glucose more efficiently and will help you to get to or keep an ideal body weight. Find something that you like to do that gets your heart rate up for at least 20-30 minutes, 3-4 times per week. Here are some examples of easy and fun ways to stay active:
- Dance to your favorite music.
- Walk with your dog or a friend.
- Go ice skating with the kids.
- Walk in the mall or window shop.
Every little bit counts. Some ways you can work fitness into your everyday life are:
- Park farther away when you go to the store.
- Take a flight of stairs instead of the elevator.
- Walk in place while watching your favorite ½-hour TV show.
Eat sensibly and watch portion sizes.
Eat healthy foods. Easy, yet effective changes that you can make to your diet include choosing more:
- whole grain foods
- lean meats.
Watch your carbs. It is important for people with diabetes to keep an eye on the amount of carbohydrates – also called “carbs” – they eat in a day. A great way to balance carbohydrates throughout the day is to count carbs. This will also help you control the portion size of your food. Watching your carbs is a good thing to do whether you have diabetes or not.
Your whole family can take part. In fact, counting carbohydrates is a great tool to use if you are trying to lose weight. Women who are trying to lose weight should aim for 30-45 grams of carbohydrates per meal. Men who are trying to lose weight should aim for 45-60 grams of carbohydrates per meal.
Sample menu. Listed below is a sample menu for a day using carbohydrate counting. You could have:
- Breakfast: 1 slice of toast with peanut butter (15g), 1c milk (15g) and ½ banana (15g)
- Lunch: A sandwich with 2 slices of bread (30g), salad (0g), and a small cookie (15g)
- Dinner: A grilled chicken breast (0g), salad (0g), small dinner roll (15g), 2/3c rice (30g), and sugar free jello (0g)
When planning and preparing meals while using carbohydrate counting, look at the total carbohydrate line on a food product’s nutrition label. It will tell you how many grams of carbohydrate are in one serving of the food. The serving size is listed on the top of the label.
Control portion size. Another helpful tip is to measure out your foods to be sure that your portion sizes are accurate. One nice thing about “carb counting” is that any food can be included in a meal plan when done properly. Remember that a certified diabetes educator or registered dietitian can help you develop a tailored diet plan that meets your nutrient needs and your food preferences.
Listen to your body and your feelings. When you are on medicines that lower your blood sugar, such as insulin or medicine you take by mouth, it is important to eat regularly to keep your blood sugar normal. However, our urge to eat is not always from hunger. Sometimes it is from feelings and stress. Learn to listen to yourself. Eat when your body is really saying you are hungry. Avoid having your feelings or a stressful situation be the reason to eat.
Visit Your Doctor.
Becoming educated about living with diabetes and having regular checkups with your doctor can teach you how to keep your blood sugar under control. This will reduce your risk of problems later on. If you do not have diabetes, but feel you are at risk, regular screenings are important so that you can get treatment earlier rather than later.
To Learn More
- Exercise and Fitness Health Topic
- Diet and Nutrition Health Topic
- Diabetic Recipes: Crockpot Cooking
- Diabetic Recipes: Desserts and Quick Breads
- Diabetic Recipes: Dips, Salsa, Salads, and Dressings
- Diabetic Recipes: Summertime Fare
For more information:
Go to the Quality Health Care and You – Diabetes health topic.