Life sometimes doesn’t seem fair – you love sweets and are known for your sweet tooth but now that you have been diagnosed with diabetes you are afraid you can’t have them anymore. This isn’t entirely true. Yes, if you previously indulged in many sweets you can no longer do that (and it may be a contributing factor to way you have type 2 diabetes). But there are ways that you can satisfy your sweet tooth and stick to your diabetic diet.
Even though sugar isn’t the only reason blood sugars raise the combination of a high-sugar item and carbohydrates are. There are many sugar substitutes and artificial sweeteners that are available to purchase on their own or in sweets such as chocolate and hard candies.
Another way to add sweets into your diet is to substitute them for other carbohydrates in a meal. If you were planning on having a tuna salad sandwich for lunch instead of having the bread try eating the tuna on its own and use the saved carbohydrates on a cookie or two (depending on size and serving information). This can be done with many different variations, but should be done in moderation – your body really will function better on those two pieces of whole wheat bread than it will on two chocolate chip cookies.
Speak with your dietician too. A dietician is full of ideas and suggestion on how to improve your diabetic diet. He or she may have suggestions on snacks or meals that you would not have considered to be sweet but can certainly satisfy your sweet tooth. Such as eating a banana to satisfy a chocolate craving. As time goes on you will begin to appreciate the natural sweet things in life too – such as a juicy apple or a fresh orange.
The Exchange Diet
The exchange diet is a method of eating that provide diabetic with a set of guidelines necessary to eat healthy. A dietician will help prepare and educate you on the exchange diet – the food groups and what substitutions you can make.
On the exchange diet all foods are divided into six food groups:
* Breads and other Starches
* Dairy Foods
* Meat and Meat Substitutes
Your dietician will provide you with the number of servings you should have from each group daily and at individual meal or snack times. Within each of the categories there are many food options. Each food has a specific serving size that equals one serving, in cases such as fruits and vegetables you probably will not have to measure your foods but for meats and other groups a food scale and measuring cup is recommended.
The exchange part of the diet refers to being able to swap a food in one food group for another in the same group as long as you adhere to the serving suggestion. For instance ½ cup of cooked pasta can be exchanged for 2 rice cakes in one meal. The list your dietician gives you will be pretty complete but there are bound to be items not listed. In that case, you can call your dietician for advice or keep a list of items that you need to know the proper serving size for.
At the beginning the exchange diet may seem like a lot of work, but as time goes on and you become accustomed to the serving sizes of your favorite foods it will become less so. Proper eating habits are crucial to managing diabetes and the exchange diet is a way to eat a healthy balanced diet full of variety.