Guidelines for Maintaining Healthy Blood Glucose Levels
By Donna G., R.N.
Carbohydrate is the nutrient in your food that affects your blood sugars the most. In fact, carbohydrates turn into 100% glucose which is the type of sugar in your blood. Most of the food we eat contains carbohydrates; therefore, most everything you eat will raise your blood sugar. The following food groups contain primarily carbohydrates: fruit and fruit juices, milk, breads, starches (including starchy vegetables such as potatoes and corn), sweets, and regular sodas. It’s important to maintain portion size when choosing carbohydrates. As you plan your meals, use the following as a guideline to select the correct amount of carbohydrates.
1 Serving Size of Carbohydrate =
1 slice of bread
½ cup pasta
1/3 cup rice
½ cup potatoes
1 small apple
17 small grapes
½ cup juice
1 cup skim milk
¾ cup dry cereal
½ cup oatmeal
½ cup corn
½ cup beans/peas
½ cup canned fruit (light or in own juice)
Protein foods do not affect your blood sugar like carbohydrates. However, it is important to consume these foods in moderation to prevent unwanted weight gain and high cholesterol. One serving of meat, fish, or poultry is 2-3 ounces, approximately the size of a deck of cards. Eggs, nuts, seeds, tofu, and cheese are also sources of protein. Choose lean cuts of meat and trim/skin fat from chicken and meats.
Fat does not necessarily cause your blood sugar to rise; however, it does slow down the digestion process. This means that if you eat a high fat meal containing carbohydrates you may not experience a high blood sugar at the time, but a few hours later you will see your blood sugar rise. A person with diabetes is at greater risk for heart disease, so it is important to follow a low-fat diet.
General Tips for Healthy Eating
- Eat regularly scheduled meals
- Don’t skip meals
- Measure portion sizes
- Males can choose 4-5 carbohydrate choices for meals
- Females should chose 3-4 carbohydrate choices for meals
- Choose more non-starchy vegetables (lettuce, tomato, carrots, greens, green beans, broccoli, etc.)
- Choose a low-fat/low sodium diet
- Drink plenty of water
- Diabetics should check his/her blood sugars
Have a great week!