Many people find sticking to a healthy diet tricky, even without diabetes. For people
with diabetes, a nutritious diet means paying very careful attention to things like
serving size, carbohydrates, and meal times.
Reading food labels
You can learn a lot by reading food labels. For people with diabetes, key areas
are serving size and carbohydrates. For a helpful tool that lists the nutritional
value of certain foods, you can use the food look-up tool on LevemirCare™.
Finding the true serving size
There is often more than one serving contained in a food package. When looking at
the serving size, be sure to compare the serving size to total servings. For instance,
there may be more than just one serving in a whole bag of chips. The bag could actually
contain 4 to 5 total servings, which would be 4 to 5 times the calories, fat, carbohydrates,
and other contents in a serving size. You should also consult your meal plan to
compare serving sizes. The ones on the food label may not be the same as those in
Looking for healthier foods
It is important to make healthy food choices. For instance, when reading food labels,
be sure to pay attention to the amount of total sugar. Some nutritious foods, such
as fruit and milk, may be high in sugar.
Both sugar and fiber are counted on food labels as carbohydrates. For foods containing
5 grams of fiber or more, you can subtract the amount of fiber from the total carbohydrate
For sugar-free products, look for carbohydrate content. A sugar-free product may
end up having the same amount of carbohydrate grams as its standard version. Certain
cereals and grains, for example, may have a high level of carbohydrates even though
there is no added sugar. Learn more about carbohydrates and blood sugar on LevemirCare™.
Examining fat content
When looking at fats on the food label, check to see the types of fats listed. Good
fats can help protect your heart and lower cholesterol, while bad fats raise cholesterol
and increase the risk of heart disease.
- Monounsaturated (found in nuts, olive oil, avocados)
- Polyunsaturated (found in seeds, fish, whole grains)
- Saturated (found in butter, shortening, snack food)
- Trans (packaged foods, fast foods)
The same rule applies with fat-free foods as with sugar-free foods. When looking
at fat-free foods, carefully compare the carbohydrate and calorie content of the
fat-free version against the standard version.
Controlling the amount of food you eat at one time is also important to diet control
and your overall health. Deciding to eat healthy portions can go a long way toward
maintaining and controlling your weight and your diabetes. Look on food labels to
see what the ideal portion size is for that food; it could be less than you usually
Keeping track of meal and snack times
Depending on the type of diabetes medicine you use, you may need to follow a careful
schedule for meals and snacking. A long-acting insulin therapy such as Levemir®
FlexPen® provides coverage for your blood sugar between meals and while you sleep.
For people with type 2 diabetes, one dose before bedtime helps control blood sugar
levels up to 24 hours.
For more help with developing meal plans, use this helpful menu and recipe planner on LevemirCare™.