Freeman Medical Musings Blog

Summer Healthy Living Tips for those with Diabetes

Posted by Susan Pittman, RD, LD, CDE, on July 03, 2014

Summertime brings barbeques, parties and trips, but it can also bring unhealthy foods and habits. The good news is that you can enjoy summer fun and stay on track with your healthy living goals. Try these tips!

Lose excess body weight. Every pound of excess body weight lost improves your overall health. A modest weight loss of 7% can improve your blood sugar and reduce your risk of developing diabetes by 60%.

Become more physically active. Regular exercise is an important component of diabetes management. Your exercise plan should include both aerobic and strength training. Examples of aerobic exercise include brisk walking, bicycling, jogging and dancing; examples of strength training include free weights, resistance bands, pushups, sit ups, squats and lunges.

Watch for added calories and carbohydrates. Pay attention to condiments when eating summer meals. Just two tablespoons of ketchup or relish can add an additional 10 grams of carbohydrates each – for a healthier option, try adding mustard instead. Also, include low-carbohydrate vegetables such as asparagus, summer squash, tomatoes, onions or zucchini in your grilled meals.

Keep carbohydrates under control. Carbohydrate counting is a very effective way to control blood glucose levels and manage weight. Use the diabetes plate method to help plan your meals:

  • Place an imaginary line down the middle of a nine-inch dinner plate.
  • Divide one side in half again so you have three sections on your plate.
  • Fill the largest section of the plate with non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, spinach, carrots, tomatoes, green beans or cucumbers.
  • Add lean protein such as skinless chicken, turkey, beef, fish, eggs, tofu or low-fat cheese to one of the smaller sections of the plate.
  • Add starchy foods such as pasta, rice, potatoes, peas, squash, beans/lentils, grits or tortillas to the other smaller section.
  • Add a serving of fruit or dairy and a low-calorie drink to complete your delicious and healthy meal.