How to Improve Your BG Control Through Diet

November is Diabetes Awareness Month. Did you know that according to a 2017 study, 84.1 million adults (33.9% of the adult U.S. population) have pre-diabetes, including 23.1 million adults aged 65 years or older (the age group with highest rate). It’s important to know what foods can help prevent diabetes or if you already have, what foods you should stay away from.

This week we have Molly Ward, Whitney Young Health’s Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator giving you the facts on how to control your BG through diet. 

1. Know what foods affect your blood sugar and what foods do not.

Foods that affect blood sugar ———-> Carbohydrates

Foods that do not affect blood sugar ———-> Fats and Protein

2. Know what foods are sources of carbohydrate and how much you should eat.

Green light carbohydrates – low in carb, eat always and larger portions, very healthy for the body, EAT A VARIETY OF COLORS EVERY DAY (green, yellow, orange, red, purple).

Starchy Veggies

  • Salad Greens
  • Cauliflower
  • Broccoli
  • Asparagus
  • Brussel sprouts
  • Sugar snap peas
  • Zucchini
  • Eggplant
  • Fresh beets
  • Carrots, green
  • Yellow string beans
  • Onions
  • Peppers
  • Celery
  • Dark greens
  • Mushrooms,
  • Tomatoes
  • Radishes
  • Cabbage

1 serving= 1-2 cups

Yellow light carbohydrates – higher amounts of carb per serving, still very healthy for the body, eat in controlled amounts

Whole Grains

  • Whole grain bread- 1 slice
  • Whole wheat hamburger bun, hot dog bun, English muffin- serving is ½
  • Brown rice, quinoa, farro, oatmeal, ½ cup serving
  • Bran/wheat cereal, ¾ cup

Milk: fat free or 1%, 1-2 cups/day

Yogurt: 4-6oz (less than 10g sugar), 1 serving/day

Starchy veggies:

  • Winter squash
  • Corn
  • Peas
  • Beans/legumes
  • Hummus
  • Edamame, any kind of potato

½ cup servings


  • Berries- 1 cup
  • Pineapple- 2/3 cup
  • Kiwi- 1
  • Grapefruit- ½
  • Cherries- 8 fresh
  • Apple, Orange, Pears, Peach- size of tennis ball 

Red light carbs – high amount of carbs, not as healthy, cause BG spikes, limit and avoid. 


  • Bagels
  • Highly processed
  • White breads
  • Rolls
  • Wraps
  • Biscuits
  • Pizza
  • Pasta
  • Rice
  • Sugary cereals (hot and cold)
  • Baked goods (donuts, cake, cookies, pies)

Starches: French fries, Tator tots

Snack foods: Pretzels

  • Chips (tortilla, potato)
  • Cheese doodles
  • Crackers


  • Soda
  • Sugary drinks
  • White sugar
  • Brown sugar
  • Honey
  • Agave


  • Juice
  • Dried fruit
  • Bananas
  • Grapes
  • Jam
  • Jelly   

3. Eat Breakfast


Those that eat breakfast tend to:

  • Be at a healthier weight
  • Make better food choices throughout the day
  • Have better BG count
  • Have more energy
  • Excel at work and school

4. Eat 3 Balance Meals Per Day


Model meals after MyPlate. Include at least 2-3 food groups in each meal

For example:

  • Breakfast: 1 cup berries (fruit), 8oz yogurt (dairy), 1 slice whole wheat bread (grain) with 1Tbsp peanut butter (protein)
  • Lunch: 2cups mixed greens salad, tomatoes (veggies), 3oz grilled chicken (protein), and ½ cup cheddar cheese (diary)
  • Dinner: 4oz salmon (protein), ½ cup beans and ½ cup brown rice (grain/starch) with 1 cup zucchini (veggies

5. Go for a Walk

The benefits: 

  • It encourages healthier food choices and smaller serving sizes. No one wants to walk when they get overly stuffed.
  • Prevents sleeping after meals
  • Most importantly it helps lower blood sugar after meals

*If you take meal time insulin please talk with your doctor or diabetes educator before exercising after meals, you may need to take less insulin!*

For more information please follow the links below or call Whitney Young Health for an appointment with Molly Ward, RD, CDN, CDE or Kelsey Munn, RD, CLC  at (518) 465-4771 today!

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