Sticking to a rigid pattern of meal times and selected food is unlikely to be necessary because of diabetes alone, especially if you are taking premeal insulin in a multiple injection or pump regimen, although regular eating habits and a knowledge of carbohydrate quantities is important. Many people with diabetes live full and varied lives, enjoy their food, and still manage to control their blood glucose levels effectively. The more knowledge you have about carbohydrate foods and their effects on your blood glucose, the more control you will have over your diabetes. This chapter will give you many details about blood glucose and different foods, but you will learn the general aspects of healthy eating from your dietician.
It is important to be careful about what you eat, even if you don′t have diabetes. But remember that food should not be looked upon as medicine. Food should look and taste good. Meals are meant to be pleasurable, we should enjoy food and feel satisfied afterwards. If you concentrate upon food being “good for you” to the exclusion of everything else, you will find no pleasure in it. It will be much more rewarding if you are able to discuss what you can eat with a dietician who will help you draw up a meal plan based on the mealtimes, routines and preferences that are important to your family.
“What can I eat?”, “What should I avoid?” People newly diagnosed with diabetes commonly ask such questions. Usually, the comment after the first consultation with a dietician will be: “I am glad to discover I can eat most of the things as I used to before getting diabetes”. Dietary advice should be directed towards the whole family from the very beginning. In a Finnish study of young children with Type 1 diabetes, all family members increased their consumption of skimmed milk, low-fat cheese and low-fat cold meats. They also ate more fruit and vegetables.