Eat well with diabetes: how to fit in foods you enjoy

Registered Dietitian Emily Aughtman said green leafy vegetables will help keep blood sugar levels under control. (KRCG).

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, and experts say eating healthy can help keep diabetes under control.

In this week's Family First segment, KRCG 13 spoke with SSM Health Registered Dietitian Emily Aughtman about tips and tricks for staying on top of your blood sugar levels - while still enjoying what you eat. "We don't tell people that they have to eliminate the foods they love. If there's something you're craving, it's better to enjoy a little bit and move on, instead of continuing to crave it and then finally break down and overindulge in it," she said.

Aughtman said the idea of "everything in moderation" is her main philosophy when it comes to advising patients who have diabetes.

She also said it's important for those with diabetes to remember that paying attention to blood sugar means more than simply avoiding sweets. "Look at total carbohydrates when you're fitting the food into your meal plan rather than just looking at sugar," she said.

If your diabetes meal plan feels restrictive at times, Aughtman suggested trying to focus on what you can eat, instead of what you can't. "All your green leafy vegetables, broccoli, cauliflower, carrots... all those things are wonderful for you and they don't have a big effect on your blood sugar," she said. "Lean protein - whether it be beef, pork, chicken, fish, eggs, cheese, peanut butter, nuts, dry beans and peas, those are all great sources of protein that won't cause your blood sugar to go up as much either."

Aughtman said eating healthy doesn't have to be a chore if you stay on top of total carbohydrate counts, and eat foods high in fiber and protein first. Then, she said, you can still work in the foods you really enjoy in moderation.

Watch KRCG 13 at 5 p.m. next Friday for the next Family First topic - we'll talk to a certified diabetes educator about the importance of staying active if you have diabetes.

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