Late night snacks

If you love to have late night snacks remember to make the right choices.

Late-night snacks add extra calories to your daily intake, and this can lead you to gain weight. If you have a snack at night which is rich in carbohydrates you may wake up with a high blood sugar level.

So try to choose a “free” food, such as:

  • A can of diet soda
  • Five baby carrots
  • Two saltine crackers
  • One vanilla wafer

Or swap the snack for a piece of gum or hard candy. These “free” foods have few, if any, carbohydrates and calories, so they won’t contribute to weight gain or increased blood sugar.

If you take insulin or other diabetes medications and must snack before bedtime to prevent low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) during the night, talk to your doctor. He or she may adjust the dose of your medications to prevent the need for a late-night snack.

How to read food labels

A healthy diet is fundamental in your treatment plan. But how can you know what you are eating? Reading food labels is a recommendation that should become integrated into your daily routine, or at least whenever you are eating something which you are not familiar with. This can help you make good choices.

What should you look for first?
Pay attention at the list of ingredients. Remember that the list of ingredient is in a decreasing order by weight. The heaviest ingredient is the first and so on.

What should you choose?
Go for ingredients like whole-wheat flour, soy and oats, or monounsaturated fats such as olive, canola or peanut oils. These ingredients are good for your hearth too. You should also choose foods that are high in fiber. If an item has more than 5 grams of fiber you can subtract half of this from your counting of carbohydrates since fiber allows for better absorption of carbohydrates.

What should you avoid?
Try avoiding ingredients such as hydrogenated oil (or partially hydrogenated).

How to pay attention to carbohydrates?
Reading food labels is very important when it comes to calculating the carbohydrates in your eating plan. You should evaluate the grams of carbohydrates in total, not just the sugar.

What should you pay attention to?
Some extra labels such as “sugar-free” or “fat-free” may be misleading. Sugar-free does not necessarily mean less carbohydrates, so you should pay attention to the whole of the nutrition facts. Similarly fat-free food can be rich in carbohydrates. Therefore, you should compare labels before making a choice.

Be aware also that products with sugar alcohols (sorbitol, xylitol, mannitol) contain carbohydrates as well.

Remember to calculate…
The labels are written based on serving sizes. Pay attention to them and to the ones of your eating plan. Remember to double the calories, fat, carbohydrate, proteins and others if you double the serving.

Another useful piece of information is the daily value. The percentage is based on a 2000 calories per day diet. This may help you compare the food with the daily recommendations.

You have to set your own goals with your doctor and dietitian. Knowing how to read food labels will give you more chances to choose what you eat in a correct way.

Eating Plan

If you suffer from diabetes you need to have an eating plan in order to have the correct nutrients in moderate amounts and to eat regularly.

When thinking about a diet one may think about restrictions. But the diabetes eating plan simply organizes meals rich in nutrients and low in fat and calories. A large proportion of the meal is constituted by fruit, vegetables and whole grains. This kind of diet is suitable and healthy for any adult.

Why? The doctor may suggest for you to see a dietitian in order to organize your eating plan and help you with changing eating habits. The main goal is to control your blood sugar level and your weight. In modern societies we are generally eating more than needed and when you exceed in calories and fat intake your body reacts by rising its blood glucose. This can lead to complications. Controlling nutrition can help you avoid these complications, by maintaining the blood sugar levels in a safe range.

How? It is recommended to start planning your diet with a doctor or a dietitian. Talk to him/her in order to avoid frustration and to personalize your diet.

What else? An eating plan good for diabetes is also beneficial to other health related aspects. By following a diet rich in fiber, fruit and vegetables you will reduce the risk of other diseases (e.g.. cardiovascular disease, cancer).

Be aware: It is important that you follow the eating plan, but it is important as well that your eating plan is tailored on you (goals, lifestyle, body).

The right balance in nutrition is important!

Together with physical activity and treatment, healthy eating is one of the most important parts of diabetes management. Sometimes you may be concerned with specific ingredients that may affect your blood sugar level, but you must remember the overall picture. You shouldn’t be excessive with quantities and you should stick to a schedule. Here you’ll find some suggestions on how to balance your nutrition:
Keep to a schedule. Eating at the same time every day helps to maintain stable blood sugar levels. As you monitor your levels you should be able to recognize patterns: the blood sugar levels is highest after eating and decreases after a couple of hours.

Make every meal well-balanced. Try to cook or order food with the right mix of nutrients (starches, fruits and vegetables, proteins, and fats). Remember that carbohydrates are particularly important, and try to eat the same amount of them at each meal.

Eat the right amount of foods. Try to divide the food into portion sizes. Keep track of portions for your typical food thus to simplify the process. Be precise by using a scale or any appropriate measurement tool.

Coordinate your meals and medication. Be aware that if you are eating too little or too much this can be dangerous. You should also balance the quantity of food food you eat with your medication intake.

These suggestions could be more safely implemented in your routine if initiated with your dietitian or your doctor!