Healthy food choices

A di­a­betes diet is ac­tu­ally a healthy ap­proach to eat­ing that would ben­e­fit any­one con­cerned about health.

Diabetes Care Guide (English) - - CONTENTS -

When di­ag­nosed with di­a­betes, was one of your first thoughts that you’d never be al­lowed to have sweets again? If so, you’re not alone! The thought that di­a­betes means you have to elim­i­nate your favourite foods – es­pe­cially the sug­ary ones – can stop you in your tracks and keep you from learn­ing about healthy food choices.

For­tu­nately, foods con­tain­ing su­gar can be part of a healthy meal or snack. Mod­er­a­tion is the key. To­day, much of the fo­cus in choos­ing meals re­volves around bal­anc­ing the four food groups and con­trol­ling por­tion sizes.

Choos­ing Your Food

Whether you have di­a­betes or not, the best ap­proach for healthy nu­tri­tion is to fol­low Canada’s Guide for Healthy Eat­ing. Eat a va­ri­ety of foods as out­lined in this food guide.

● Have whole grain ce­re­als and, breads, fruits and veg­eta­bles more of­ten.

● Choose dairy prod­ucts that are lower fat, lean meats and foods pre­pared with lit­tle or no fat.

● Achieve a healthy body weight through phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity and healthy eat­ing.

● Limit salt, caf­feine and al­co­hol.

Por­tion Size Mat­ters

As they say, too much of a good thing is not al­ways a ‘good thing’. A sim­ple ap­proach to keep­ing an eye on por­tions and mak­ing sure you have a va­ri­ety of food is to use the plate method. It is easy and can help you man­age any meal, any­where.

First, di­vide your plate in half. Fill one half with veg­eta­bles, prefer­ably with more than one colour. Di­vide the re­main­ing half into two, fill one quar­ter with a starch such as pota­toes, rice, whole wheat pasta or whole grain bread, and the re­main­ing quar­ter with lean meat or meat al­ter­na­tive. Add a fruit and a serv­ing of milk and you are on your way to healthy por­tions and bal­anced meals.

Eat­ing out

Hav­ing di­a­betes doesn’t mean that you can’t en­joy restau­rants. Fol­low the same ap­proach you do at home. More and more restau­rants are in­clud­ing heart healthy choices on their menu. Ask about in­gre­di­ents and prepa­ra­tion when you’re un­sure. If por­tions are too large, share a serv­ing or ar­range to have some boxed as take­out. Avoid fried and bat­tered foods.

Have sauces, gravies and dress­ing served on the side so that you can con­trol the quan­tity.

Eat­ing out can of­ten mean eat­ing later than usual. If you take in­sulin or di­a­betes pills, talk to a mem­ber of your di­a­betes team about how to man­age a de­lay in meal­time. Eat­ing a small snack may help pre­vent a drop in your blood glu­cose.


Dis­cuss safe use of al­co­hol with a mem­ber of your di­a­betes team.

The Cana­dian Di­a­betes As­so­ci­a­tion 2013 Clin­i­cal Prac­tice Guide­lines for the Preven­tion and Man­age­ment of Di­a­betes in Canada note the rec­om­men­da­tion for al­co­hol con­sump­tion for peo­ple with type 2 di­a­betes is the same as for any other adult:

● for women, no more than two stan­dard drinks a day or 10 drinks a week;

● for men, no more than three stan­dard drinks a day or 15 drinks a week.

One stan­dard drink con­tains 10 g al­co­hol as de­scribed:

● 341 mL beer (5% al­co­hol)

● 43 mL spir­its (40% al­co­hol)

● 142 mL wine (12% al­co­hol) (Note: stan­dard sizes may be smaller than typ­i­cal serv­ing.)

Al­co­hol is not rec­om­mended if you have high triglyc­erides, high blood pres­sure, liver prob­lems or you are preg­nant or breast feed­ing.

Eat a car­bo­hy­drate­con­tain­ing snack when you drink al­co­hol. Al­co­hol can also mask the usual symp­toms of low blood glu­cose. Speak to your ed­u­ca­tors about the safe use of al­co­hol.

If you take med­i­ca­tions, check with your doc­tor or phar­ma­cist to make sure it is safe to drink al­co­hol.

For a nu­tri­tional as­sess­ment and help with your in­di­vid­ual nu­tri­tional re­quire­ments, book an ap­point­ment with your di­eti­tian. You can also find help­ful re­sources and de­tailed nu­tri­tion in­for­ma­tion on the Di­eti­tians of Canada web­site at di­eti­

Rec­om­men­da­tions for drink­ing al­co­hol are the same as for an adult with­out di­a­betes.

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