November is Diabetes Month

According to Diabetes Canada, 11 million Canadians have diabetes or prediabetes – that’s 1 in 3 Canadians!

Some of the key elements in diabetes management include education about diabetes, medications, regular physical activity, weight management and nutrition.

Nutrition (your eating habits) plays a very important role in regulating your blood glucose levels.

It is the carbohydrate in food that has the greatest impact on your blood glucose levels. Carbohydrates are also a very important source of energy for your body. Therefore, balancing healthy carbohydrates throughout the day is crucial to regulating blood glucose levels, while getting the nutrients and energy your body needs.

What foods contain carbohydrates?

Carbohydrates are made up of three components: complex carbohydrates (also known as starches), fibre, and sugar. The main sources of carbohydrates include:

  • starches and grain products (e.g., breads, pasta, rice, cereals, and crackers)
  • starchy vegetables (e.g., potatoes, corn, yams, winter squash)
  • all fruits
  • some dairy products such as milk and yogurt
  • any food with added sugar; however, it is best to limit added sugars to better regulate blood glucose levels

What does a balanced meal look like?

A balanced meal includes a limited amount of carbohydrates along with foods containing protein, fibre and healthy fats. These other nutrients help to slow the breakdown of the carbohydrates. This results in a slow and steady increase in blood glucose levels, rather than a rapid spike that may leave you feeling unwell.

Here’s an easy way to ensure your meals are balanced:

  • fill ½ of your plate with vegetables
  • fill ¼ with protein (e.g., meat, poultry, fish, egg, beans, legumes)
  • fill ¼ with carbohydrate (e.g., one medium baked potato, ½ cup brown rice).

For a healthy snack, include a small amount of carbohydrate and protein. For example, a fruit and a small piece of cheese; crackers and peanut butter.

To learn more about diabetes, visit the Diabetes Canada website at

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