1. Choose Low GI foods
Foods high on the glycemic index (GI) can raise someone’s blood sugar level too quickly, which is not good for someone with diabetes. The GI measures how carbohydrates in food are converted into glucose, and foods with a GI around 55 or lower – like brown rice, quinoa and cous cous – are preferable to high GI foods like white rice, and white bread.
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Photo: Bauer/Rob Shaw
2. Eat Higher GI Foods In Moderation
“My clients ask me if they can still eat foods like mangoes for dessert if they have diabetes, as they have a higher GI (55) than other fruits,” says Jaclyn. “The answer is, you can still have foods with higher GI – you just have to eat less of them. For fruits with lower GI, you can eat them in larger quantities without raising your blood sugar level as quickly.”
Try fruit salads for dessert, which are a great way to introduce a healthy variety of fruits into your diet.
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3. Cut Down On Carbs
“Most of us eat too many carbohydrates,” says Jaclyn. “Most diabetics should have about three to four servings of carboyhydrate exchange per meal. Each exchange is 15 g of carbs, so this works out to 45-60 g of carbs per meal, and normally includes one serving or carb exchange of fruit.”
If you’re having brown rice, you can have 180 g of rice to meet 3 carb exchanges (a full rounded Chinese rice bowl is 200 g). For white rice, you can have a 145 g portion.
4. Include Healthy Proteins
Proteins keep you full for longer, and also do not elevate one’s blood sugar level. Jaclyn recommends a palm-sized amount of protein per meal, which is about 90 to 120 g of cooked meat. Be sure to grill, bake or steam meat if possible, as deep-fried meat is higher in calories and fat.
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Photo: Sam Leong
5. Choose Low-Sodium Condiments
There’s no need to cut out condiments you love, like oyster sauce and soy sauce, says Jaclyn. Just look for these products with the Healthier Choice symbol, which are lower in sodium and sugar.
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Photo: Health Promotion Board
6. Cook With A Variety Of Veggies
Don’t just stick with green veggies; having multi-coloured vegetables in your diet (purple cabbage, orange carrots, etc.) is healthier as they all have different nutrient profiles.
Pro tip: red bell peppers, which are fully ripe, contain more nutrients than their green counterparts. They have more beta-carotene, vitamin C and vitamin A, which is also why they are costlier at the market.
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