Live your life – enjoying the foods you love

Having diabetes does not mean you need to give up all your favourite foods and treats. But it is important to understand what foods are everyday foods and what foods are best kept for enjoying in smaller quantities on special occasions.

Everyday foods include nutritious options from the five food groups:

  • Vegetables and legumes/beans
  • Fruit
  • Grain (cereal) foods e.g. bread, breakfast cereals, rice, pasta, quinoa
  • Lean meat and poultry, fish, eggs, tofu, nuts and seeds, and legumes/beans
  • Milk yoghurt, cheese and/or alternatives

The Australian Dietary Guidelines provided a guide on how many serves of each food group we should aim to eat each day to ensure we are getting all the nutrients required for good health. If you would like to read more on the everyday food groups and to find out how many serves you should aim to eat each day visit www.eatforhealth.gov.au.

Occasional foods include those that are not essential to have in our daily diets. These foods are often low in nutrients and high in kilojoules (Calories), saturated (bad) fats, added sugars, added salt or alcohol. For example sweet biscuits, cakes, ice-cream, chocolate, lollies, hot chips, fried take-away foods, soft drinks, cream, butter, potato crisps, alcoholic drinks. Regardless of whether someone has diabetes or not, these foods are not recommended for everyday consumption. But it is OK to have them every now and then, so as a general rule try to keep these treats for your special occasions and to eat them in small quantities.

If you enjoy cooking these occasional foods at home it is possible to substitute some ingredients and alter the cooking methods of your favourite recipes to make these treat foods a little bit healthier. For example if the recipe normally uses cream, you could substitute this for a low fat yoghurt or buttermilk; or instead of using butter use a polyunsaturated or monounsaturated margarine. To find out more recipe modification tips read our fact sheet. Or alternatively you may wish to purchase one of our Diabetes NSW & ACT approved cookbooks  or check out our recipe page for a range of delicious recipes that are lower in saturated fat, lower in salt (sodium) and higher in fibre. Just remember when using any recipe it is important to consider your own energy and carbohydrate requirements, as this will vary from person to person.

An Accredited Practising Dietitian (APD) provides tailored and specific nutrition advice and can help you learn more about your individual requirements to help you Live your life to the fullest everyday!

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