Many of us are familiar with diabetes. You might know someone who’s suffering from the disease, or you may feel bombarded with all different forms of media telling you that you have to eat healthier or else you, too, will end up dealing with the pain that comes with the illness.
The truth of the matter is that we live in a society that promotes overindulging on less-than-healthy foods. It’s almost impossible to completely avoid the delicious foods that unfortunately increase our chances of becoming diabetic. However, you can significantly decrease your chances of becoming diabetic by making small lifestyle changes that you can gradually build on. Here are a few simple ways you can change your diet to prevent the development of type 2 diabetes.
Start Eating More Fiber
You may think that the first step to eating healthy is to start cutting out your favorite guilty pleasures. While that’s definitely something to keep in mind, it’s usually easier for people to start by adding healthy foods to their diet rather than getting rid of the unhealthy ones. It’s also common that when people try to eliminate the “bad foods” from their diet, they end up missing out on very important nutrients.
One nutrient that many Americans don’t get enough of is fiber. While it’s well-known that this carbohydrate is great for keeping your digestive system running smoothly, it should also be known that fiber works wonders in the prevention of diabetes. Fiber helps regulate blood sugar levels in the body, which decreases the spikes in blood sugar that can trigger insulin resistance and weight gain— the cause of diabetes.
Some people are aware that avoiding certain carbohydrates can help decrease these sugar spikes, so they cut out carbs altogether or go on a low-carb diet. However, these people usually end up cutting out their fiber intake, which both hinders their weight loss goals and can inadvertently cause the illnesses that they’re trying to prevent. This is why it’s important to look for what you should be eating rather than what you shouldn’t.
There are plenty of fiber-rich foods that you can start incorporating into your diet. Apples, berries, avocadoes, broccoli, leafy greens, and almonds are a few of the fruits, vegetables, and nuts that are rich with fiber are all great options. Try to incorporate these foods into your meals throughout the day to naturally increase your fiber intake. Not only will these foods significantly reduce your chances of becoming diabetic, but they also help keep you full throughout the day, which can help reduce the amount of room you have for less healthy foods and help you maintain a healthy weight.
Swap Less Healthy for More Healthy
Instead of trying to eat completely healthy for every single one of your meals, try to find components of each meal that you can swap for a healthier option. If you usually find yourself eating sandwiches for lunch, try whole-wheat bread instead of white bread. If spaghetti and meatballs is one of your favorite go-to dinners, reach for whole-grain noodles and ground turkey to make it a little kinder to your body.
One of the best swaps you can make to prevent diabetes is to drink water instead of sugary beverages. One can of Coca-cola has about 10 teaspoons of sugar. If you’re an avid soda drinker, try just switching out one or two of your cans of soda for a glass of water. This small act will cut out a significant amount of sugar from your diet and can prevent diabetes, as well as other serious health issues such as heart disease and cancer.
Eat at home
While it’s nice to let someone else cook for you every once and a while, it is more difficult for you to truly control what nutrients you’re putting into your body. When you cook at home, you have the ability to tailor your meals to fit your personal goals. If you want to start eating more fiber, then you can make meals that have a lot of fiber-rich foods. If you want to start eating more leafy greens, then you can add them.
If you’re someone who eats out often because of social gatherings, offer to host dinners at your house every once and awhile. If you’re usually making stops at fast-food restaurants because of your busy schedule, try meal prepping at the beginning of the week so that you can have ready-made lunches and dinners without worrying about if the food is healthy for you. You could even invest in some meal prep containers to make the process a little easier.
Not only does this practice help reduce your chances of developing diabetes, but it also can save you a lot of money. The extra effort you put into eating at home can do wonders for your health.
Commit to Eating Healthier
The best diet change you can make to your diet to prevent diabetes is to commit to eating differently. Promise yourself every day that you will make as many healthy food choices as possible. Change doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s unrealistic to assume that you can completely change your habits with will alone. Instead, create goals and milestones to help keep you motivated to stay on the right path.
Also, don’t be afraid to look beyond yourself for guidance and support. It can be tricky trying to figure out what’s actually healthy for you and what isn’t. If you find yourself in this position, consider joining a weight loss program that guides your choices, like WW. Not only will this give you the guidance you’re looking for, but you’ll also gain a support system to help motivate you to keep reaching your goals. With time and dedication, these simple diet changes will lead to a longer, healthier life.