Everyone’s diet, diabetic or not, should include plenty of carbohydrates. The tricky part of a diabetic diet is to a) know which foods ARE carbohydrates (and which kinds are the best) b) have the correct serving size and c) space those servings of carbohydrates as evenly throughout the day as possible. Giving up concentrated sugars (i.e. candy, soda, juice) is generally a good idea; because the sugar is more concentrated and hits your bloodstream right away, you don’t get to have as much. It is much more satisfying to have 2 pieces of whole grain bread than 2 tablespoons of sugar, better to have a lite yogurt and 2 pieces of fruit than one can of regular soda.
A diabetic counts how much carbohydrate he or she has at every meal. Here are a few great products that are filling and nutritious, but have less carbohydrate (so you can eat more!):
1. Unsweetened soy milk:
Compare a cup of skim milk and unsweetened soy milk. Both have about 100 calories. Skim milk is fat-free, while soy milk has about 5 grams. Fat is more filling and keeps you fuller longer, and the type of fat in soy milk comes from soybeans, which is a much more heart-healthy fat than dairy fat. Even though soy milk has fat, skim milk has more carbohydrate, so the calories are about equal. Use plain soy milk sweetened with a sugar substitute to feel more full, have a source of heart-healthy fat, and keep blood sugar down!
2. Martin’s Whole Wheat Potato Bread:
Many people don’t like wheat bread because it is darker and has too many crunchy bits. Whole wheat bread has more vitamins and more fiber than white (or yellow) bread, and therefore is more filling and better for blood sugar control. Martin’s whole wheat bread still has a smooth texture, and actually has more fiber and fewer calories than other wheat breads do. It is also not as expensive as other brands of wheat bread, and is found in most grocery stores next to the regular (yellow) Martin’s potato bread.
3. Kashi “Go Lean” cereal bars:
There are so many “health bars” out there that it’s hard to find the right one. A “good bar” will have lots of fiber, a reasonable amount of protein, and minimal calories. Kashi makes a few types of cereal bars, the “Go Lean” bars are the square-shaped ones. They cost between 99 cents and $1.50, and can be found many stores. The “caramel” flavored Kashi Go Lean” bars have 150 calories, 10 grams of protein, and a lot of fiber. They are also not very high in carbohydrate. Some cereal bars have up to 300 calories and are very high in sugar but low in protein and fiber. For a good blend of carb/protein/fiber with fewer calories, give one of these a try!