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Tips for eating healthier

When I decided to get real about my diabetes, my doctor showed me how much my current diet was going to hurt me in the long run. They say nothing works unless you do, so when I cleaned up my diet, I wasn’t messin’ around. But changing the way you eat is a process, and it doesn’t happen overnight.

If you prepare for the obstacles that may get in your way, you’re less likely to want to throw in the towel. Check out these tips and suggestions from the American Diabetes Association (ADA). And don’t forget to talk to your health care provider before starting any meal plan. They’re going to help steer you in the right direction and make sure that you’re making decisions that are right for you.

Start small
Focus on 1 or 2 changes at a time. Here are some options to try: try eating regularly and balancing the amount of carbohydrates, fats, and protein that you eat. Try to use less salt. Reduce your portion sizes. This was a tough one for me, but it's gotta be done. Baby steps are the way to go. Once you've made these changes a routine part of your meal plan, you’ll likely be feeling proud of yourself and be ready to move on to more changes.

Get support from others
Healthy eating is good for everyone, not just for people like us living with diabetes. Make it a family affair! Ask your family or others you live with to eat better with you. When everyone is following a healthy meal plan, you can support each other.

If you slip, get back on track
Temptation is real! If you go off your plan, get back on track as quickly as you can with more determination. If you’re really struggling, talk to your diabetes care team about ways to help you stick to your meal plan.

Pat yourself on the back
When your new meal plan is going well, you should be proud! You may notice some weight loss, a boost in energy, and even blood sugar levels moving into your target range. You deserve to strut!

The more results you see from healthy eating, the more you’ll want to continue. So keep at it!

Reading a nutrition label

Don’t let nutrition labels confuse you.

Overcoming healthy eating challenges

I’m always up for a challenge, but when I first started trying to eat healthier, it really tested my skills. You’ve got to be prepared for anything that could keep you from finding the meal plan that works for you. Here are some tips to help you overcome some of the eating challenges you may face:

  • Eat smaller portions of the foods you love, or swap ingredients with a low-fat substitute. Bring out your inner master chef!
  • Make a plan for when you’re eating away from home. You may need to prepare by eating a snack before you leave home. At restaurants, look for healthy menu options or ask for a substitute. Share a meal with a friend to help get the right portion size
  • After eating healthier foods for a while, you may actually start to like them. You may start to choose healthier foods because you actually prefer them, especially once you see how much better you feel on your new meal plan. That’s the sweet spot right there!
  • You might not have to completely cut out certain foods from your meal plan. But you may need to adjust how much you eat them based on their effect on your blood sugar. So, if your momma makes delicious homemade cookies like mine does, for example, speak with your diabetes educator or dietitian. He or she may be able to give you ideas on how to work this treat into your meal plan
  • Remember the goals of a healthy meal plan:
    • Keeping your blood sugar within your goal range
    • Managing your weight
    • Reducing your risk of diabetes-related health problems

I’m not asking you to go on a diet. Meal planning is a completely different thing. Dieting is short term. Meal planning is a way of life with a long-term goal—managing your diabetes.

Dining out?

Learn how to practice healthy eating when dining away from home.

In addition to your diet, staying active helps manage your blood sugar

Anthony Anderson's diabetes story

Diabetes is diabetes, even if you’re a celebrity. Hear how I got real about healthy eating, being active, and taking my medicine as discussed with my doctor.

Start your own story

Are you ready to put what you’ve learned into practice? Register for Cornerstones4Care® to get more content and resources to help you get started.

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