Diagnosed with type 2 diabetes? Simple changes to make to your eating habits

April 04, 2022 | by Elizabeth Jones, RD, CDE
Categories: Healthy Driven Life

If you were diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, what’s next?

Your primary care doctor may recommend you visit with a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) and/or a Certified Diabetes Care and Education Specialist (CDCES). These individuals have knowledge and experience related to supporting people with diabetes.

What’s your first step?

Talk to your PCP for a referral to visit a RDN or CDCES. Check if your healthcare insurance covers in-person visits or telehealth visits (Video Visits) to address concerns related to diabetes.

To make an appointment with a RDN or CDCES, contact the Diabetes Learning Center in Elmhurst at 331-221-6440 or the Edward Diabetes Clinic at 630-527-3213.

What can you do to manage your diabetes?

The Academy of Diabetes Care and Education Specialists (ADCES) describes seven self-care behaviors as key to successful diabetes management. A RDN and/or CDCES can help you create a plan to achieve success in each of these areas:

  1. Healthy coping: Stress can increase blood glucose levels and lead to unhealthy habits, so it’s important to find support and healthy ways to cope with stress.
  2. Healthy eating: Eating healthy involves eating in moderation, choosing a variety of nutrient dense foods throughout the day.
  3. Being active: Physical activity has significant benefits for heart, body and mind. It can also keep your blood glucose closer to ideal target levels.
  4. Taking medication: Taking medication can be tricky. A CDCES can help you better understand your medications. They will chat with you about how medications work, specifically, how to best take them, reduce side effects, and overcome cost barriers.
  5. Monitoring: Monitoring can be an important tool in behavior change. A CDCES will create a plan individualized for you. Your plan may or may not include further assessment of your blood pressure, weight, cholesterol, sleep, food intake, physical activity, mood and overall health.
  6. Reducing risks: Engage in positive lifestyle changes to reduce your risk and catch and prevent problems early.
  7. Problem solving: Diabetes changes over time, so using problem-solving techniques can help you learn new ways to manage it.

What simple changes can you make to your eating habits now?

Continue to follow a healthy diet. A diet for diabetes consists of eating healthy foods in moderate amounts and sticking to three regular mealtimes (and possibly additional small snacks).

For meals, aim for MyPlate nutrition recommendations for each food group, including ½ plate non starchy vegetables, ¼ plate carbohydrates and ¼ plate protein. Learn more with this MyPlate visual.

  • Non-starchy vegetables: Fill the largest portion of your plate with vegetables: asparagus, broccoli, cauliflower, celery, jicama, lettuce, mushrooms, nopales, spinach, zucchini.
  • Carbohydrates: Add a small amount of starchy foods such beans, corn, peas, lentils, whole grain quinoa. Try to make this quantity closer to the size of a fist.
  • Protein: In the last quarter of the plate, add a palm size amount of chicken or turkey, or a checkbook size amount of salmon or tilapia. Eggs, low fat cheese and tofu are included as well.
  • Fruit/dairy: Add a serving of fruit or dairy. These foods count as carbohydrates, but they are important to include.
  • Fluids: Add a low-calorie drink, such as water, unsweetened iced tea or unsweetened coffee with your meal.

With the help of a CDCES, you can work together to create an individualized plan of care and get the support you need to achieve long-term success. To learn more, contact the Diabetes Learning Center in Elmhurst at 331-221-6440 or the Edward Diabetes Clinic at 630-527-3213.

Learn more about diabetes care at Edward-Elmhurst Health.

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