According to the American Diabetes Association , more than 25 million Americans suffer from diabetes, and this epidemic continues to grow every year. Not only can diabetes alone cause complications, but it also contributes to other life-threatening issues like heart disease and stroke.
Want to learn a good way to make sure you and your family don’t become a part of this statistic? Eat healthier. March is National Nutrition Month, so if losing weight was a New Year’s resolution that you haven’t gotten around to yet, now’s the perfect time.
1.Cut out the soda
Unfortunately, simply replacing it with the diet version doesn’t work. Although your calorie count may be less at the end of the day, the sugar substitute in diet sodas is just as harmful as high-fructose corn syrup. The insulin spike caused by the substitute sweetener blocks the breakdown of fats within the body. Also, switching from sweet to unsweet or green tea will also benefit you in the long run. Remember, it’s not just about the calories – it’s about the amount of added sweetener.
2.White to wheat
If you need to take baby steps in eating healthier, try a fancy whole grain bread like honey oat. When white bread is processed, two essential nutrient-rich parts are removed. Wheat bread, on the other hand, offers a large amount of fiber, vitamins B6 and E, magnesium, zinc, folic acid and chromium that white bread does not. According to the American Heart Association, switching from white to wheat can lower heart disease risk by 20 percent. Do this with your pastas, too!
3. Start with a salad
No, you don’t need to go on an all-veggie diet. You can still enjoy your favorite meat dishes, but whip up a salad first. For each meal, eat a small salad as an appetizer. Keep it colorful with carrots, cucumbers and tomatoes. And to keep your taste buds interested, lightly drizzle on a low-fat dressing. If you start with a salad, you won’t eat as much at dinner and you’ll feel full quicker.
4. Practice portion control
At restaurants, ask for a to-go box right when your meal comes. Before you dig in, half the portion and put the rest in the take-home container. At home, invest in smaller plates and portion out your meals. If you place a smaller portion in front of you, the less you will consume. Just try to steer clear of the pantry a few hours after dinner!
These simple steps won’t change your daily routine much and you’ll benefit greatly in the long run. Not only can these changes help you lose weight, but lower cholesterol, increased energy and lower risks of life-threatening diseases are all benefits of eating healthier.
It’s not too late to make a difference in your health
These tips aren’t just for people looking to lose weight – controlling your diabetes is just as important, if not more. Nutrition management is an essential step to healthy aging. Also, taking extra precautions, such as exercising daily, sticking to your medication schedule and identifying yourself with medical alert jewelry, are just as essential.