You're diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. You're at a birthday party and the cake is served. What do you do - reach for a slice or politely say, “no thank you”? Can you have your cake and eat it too?
We turn to Leanne Katzenellenbogen, a dietician and nutritionist based in Sandton, Johannesburg, for the answer...
Diabetics can have a cheat meal every now and again – as long as they follow a balanced diet
According to Katzenellenbogen, there’s nothing wrong with a diabetic indulging in the odd cheat meal – as long as he or she follows a balanced diet. She explains, “Make sure your food tastes good, otherwise it becomes difficult to sustain. Eating and food are such a big part of day-to-day life.”
Katzenellenbogen adds that it’s also important that diabetics follow an eating plan that isn’t totally dull and boring. She suggests keeping it as close to what you enjoy eating as possible – within the parameters of nutritional guidelines, of course.
If you’re struggling to find an eating plan that works for you and keeps you satisfied after every meal, consider seeing a dietician who specializes in diabetes
. They’ll be able to provide you with lots of suggestions, ideas and recipes to ensure that you feel satisfied rather than guilty after scoffing down a pudding at a friend’s wedding or a cupcake at an office party.
“You shouldn’t need to turn your world upside down over your eating plan. Rather fit it into your life while considering the guidelines as well,” Katzenellenbogen clears up.
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Check out these tips to keep your blood sugar levels stable in-between cheat meals!
Katzenellenbogen offers a couple of suggestions for keeping your blood sugar
steady. Most importantly, your diet should be balanced and include foods from all food groups – carbohydrates, protein and fats. She suggests going for lean proteins and monounsaturated fats, such as olive oil, avocados, olives, peanut butter and canola oil.
As far as carbohydrates are concerned, only eat ones that are low on the glycaemic index (or GI index). This may depend on how regularly you exercise and what medication you take (if any), Katzenellenbogen notes.
Portion control is also critical – even though you absorb low-GI foods slower, large portions can spike your blood sugar!
Lastly, Katzenellenbogen recommends eating one fruit as well as lots of vegetables every day to make sure you’re providing your body with all the vitamins and minerals it needs to function at optimal level and maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
For when you watch to give in to your sweet tooth and enjoy a carbohydrate-rich dessert (like cake), simply make sure you leave out the carbohydrate component of your daily meal plan to allow for this.