If you’ve been diagnosed with pre-diabetes, you may feel confused about what you should eat now. Don’t worry… a diet that’s healthy for pre-diabetes is easy to stick to once you know a few simple guidelines, which we outline below.
What is pre-diabetes?
Pre-diabetes is defined as a blood sugar number between 100 and 125, along with some other factors. Anything higher than that is classified as type 2 diabetes.
Is there any way to prevent pre-diabetes from turning into diabetes?
A diagnosis of pre-diabetes does not mean that type 2 diabetes is inevitable. There are some lifestyle changes you can make that can slow or even prevent a pre-diabetes diagnosis from becoming type 2 diabetes, notably with your diet. Here are some simple changes you can make to have a healthier life whether you are at risk of diabetes or not.
#1 Totally avoid sugary drinks. Soft drinks and sweet tea offer no nutritional value and can have a detrimental effect on your blood sugar. Juices are also full of sugar and can cause blood sugar spikes. Water is your best choice for hydration.
#2 Watch your portion sizes. You don’t need to give up all of your favorite foods, but read the labels to know what the portion size is (hint – it’s not usually the entire bag or box) and how many carbohydrates are in that portion. Watch our video on reading labels to learn more about the numbers you need to know to set a carb “budget” for your meals.
#3 Add fiber. Fresh fruits and vegetables should be 50% of your plate and are a great source of vitamins and minerals your body needs. Beans and whole grains are also excellent choices for adding fiber.
#4 Choose good fats. Steer clear of animal fats and use olive or avocado oil when cooking. Nuts, seeds and avocados are also delicious and good for you, but watch the serving size. Limit dairy and choose lower fat options.
#5 Select lean proteins. Lean meats and fish are great protein sources and can be prepared many ways. Beans and tofu are alternatives for those who are vegetarian.
#6 Use moderation with alcohol. You can still enjoy a cocktail, beer or wine occasionally, but it’s best to have that drink with a meal to keep blood sugar levels stable.
If this seems confusing or leaves you feeling overwhelmed, you can try the “white foods rule” to simplify your food choices. Just be sure that you only eat one white food (such as sugar, flour, white or brown rice, white potatoes, pasta) in each meal. Our video explains what you need to know about using the white foods rule to manage your blood sugar.
Making just a few small changes in your current diet can have a significant effect on blood sugar. There are wonderful resources online like Diabetes- What to Know and other websites that can inform and empower you to make the changes you need. Sign up for our weekly email program and learn more about managing your blood sugar from medical professionals and watch the stories of people who say they are healthier now thanks to learning how to make some healthy changes.