Type 2 diabetes is largely the result of lifestyle choices. If you have prediabetes or know that you are at risk for diabetes, the good news is that making small changes can lower risk for developing diabetes. These are 12 easy ways to help prevent diabetes.
1. Use a smaller plate.
Losing a few pounds can lower risk for diabetes, and there is an easy trick for eating less: using a smaller plate. A smaller plate or bowl can help you serve yourself fewer calories without making any other changes. Easy!
2. Pack your lunch.
Meals prepared at home compared to at a restaurant tend to be lower in calories. They can also be lower in sugar, and higher in fiber, which helps stabilize blood glucose levels. Think again if you do not think you have time or ability to make your own lunch. Leftover protein and vegetables from dinner, a peanut butter and berry sandwich on whole-grain bread, hummus, feta, and lettuce stuffed into whole-grain pita, and brown rice salad with black beans and chopped veggies are all easily made and packed the night before.
3. Eat more fresh fruit.
Eating fresh fruit is itself linked to lower diabetes risk, possibly due in part to its high content of dietary fiber. Eating more fresh fruit can also help lower risk for diabetes by reducing the amount of sugar in the diet, such as if you choose to add fresh fruit instead of jam to a sandwich, eat fruit for dessert or a snack instead of cookies or pie, and stir fruit into plain yogurt or oatmeal instead of choosing sugar-sweetened flavored varieties.
4. Switch to water.
Water is calorie-free and a natural hunger suppressant. Drinking more water can help you eat less, and selecting water instead of a calorie-containing beverage can help shed pounds. Drinking water instead of a 20-ounce bottle of soda each day can help with a half-pound-a-week weight loss.
5. Order brown rice.
Whole grain consumption is associated with lower risk for diabetes, and brown rice is an easy choice to bump up your consumption. It is as easy to cook as regular rice, and is available in most Asian restaurants as well.
6. Take a walk after dinner.
Walking after dinner not only burns a few calories and decreases insulin resistance, but it also helps you stop eating between dinner and bedtime. Because it can reduce stress and improve mood, that walk can relax you and get your body ready for a night of better sleep.
7. Get blackout curtains.
Whatever you need to improve your sleep environment is worth the investment, as getting enough high-quality sleep improves blood sugar and helps with weight loss to lower risk for diabetes. Blackout curtains can help make the room darker. A quiet, cool room and a comfortable bed are also essential for optimal sleep.
8. Cook on the weekends.
Cooking big batches on the weekend, or whenever you have time, ensures that a healthy meal will be ready when you need it. Soup, stew, and chili are not only easy to make, but they also become more flavorful while they are being stored in the freezer. One healthy idea is vegetarian chili with two or three kinds of beans, celery, bell peppers, tomatoes, spices, and cashews.
9. Extend “meatless” past Monday.
Meatless sources can be lower in cholesterol and saturated fat, and higher in fiber. That can translate to lower risk for diabetes, so why limit meatless protein to Mondays? Beans and cheese with brown rice and broccoli, veggie burgers with lettuce and tomato, eggplant parmesan with extra tomato sauce, and whole-wheat spaghetti or spiralized zucchini with goat cheese, tomatoes, and spinach are all delicious and healthy ideas.
10. Work out with a friend.
Being physically active for at least 150 minutes per week can cut diabetes risk by over 50%, so how can you hit that amount? Turn your workout into social hour, and time may fly by. Working out with a friend makes you more likely to be consistent with exercise, and it can make you push yourself hard. In addition, exercising and being with a friend both help with stress relief.
11. Draw a picture.
Draw, read, sew, garden, or do something else that you love. Any hobby that makes you happy can improve your mood and reduce stress, which can improve blood glucose control.
12. Use Lark
Lark Diabetes Prevention Program is designed to help prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by making small, sustainable changes. Using recognized principles of behavior change, Lark offers coaching around goals of losing weight and increasing physical activity to lower blood sugar. The app is easy to use and available 24/7.
You may be eligible for Lark through your healthcare plan or employer. Be sure to check through your And if you are not sure about your risk for diabetes, the CDC has an easy 5-question Diabetes Risk Test available online for anyone to use.Author