Family cooking a home cooked healthy meal.

7 Tips on Preventing Diabetes with Your Diet

It's estimated that more than 10 percent of the population has diabetes. Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease.

Diet is a critical aspect of diabetes prevention and is a significant risk factor. Losing weight is one of the top ways to reduce your risk, and physicians recommend being physically active for 30 minutes daily.

While you want to reduce sugary foods, here are other tips from CHRISTUS Health nutrition experts.



1) Watch your carb intake and ensure it's controlled and consistent throughout the day. Make sure you stick with your portion sizes. One carb choice is roughly 15 grams of carbohydrates. Make sure you stay within three to four carbohydrate choices per meal.



2) You don't have to finish your plate. Just because you have a plate in front of you doesn't mean you have to eat it all. This is contrary to what most Americans learned growing up. But you can save your food for later. You can immediately ask for a box when eating out at a restaurant. Pack half of your meal before you start eating.



3) Start learning portion sizes. Learning about portion sizes shows you an example of what your plate should look like. And half of it is fruits and vegetables. And then you've got your protein and your grains.

"We're blessed with an abundance of food, especially around the holidays, and it's hard to turn down," said Amanda Almand, clinical nutrition manager with CHRISTUS Trinity Clinic in Texarkana. "But the portion sizes that we actually need are way smaller than what we're usually served."



4) Use Substitutions and Swap out Fats. When making certain dishes, try to swap out some of the fats. For example, foods like sour cream or whole milk can be swapped with yogurt. In place of butter, you could use plant-based butter. That way, you are getting less fat and more protein. Find what recipe you want, and then try to make healthy substitutes. You can also choose low-fat options when buying food or cooking with olive oil instead of lard.



5) Reduce Sodium. It's tough giving up salt. Even though salt does not increase blood sugar levels, it can increase blood pressure which is not good for someone with diabetes. So find herbs or spices that still flavor food without adding a lot of sodium.



6) Holiday Pro Tip: When filling your plate, choose the vegetables and proteins first. This can work especially during the holidays.

"Eat those first. That way, you get full, and you're not eating three rolls or, you know, your pumpkin pie."

Make sure that you're getting plenty of fiber and you're getting plenty of protein. You will feel fuller, and you're less likely to overeat.

When you get your dessert or high-carbohydrate food items, you can still eat them. But instead of overeating, you're more likely to eat a few bites, maybe a small portion, and then you're satisfied.



7) Use to find more information.

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If you’re over 40, you’re already at risk for developing type 2 diabetes. You can take several steps to reduce your risk and stay healthy into your senior years. Diet and exercise are two of the best defenses. The CHRISTUS Health diabetes assessment can determine your risk factors.

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