We advocate an interactive process with a focus on healthy eating, exercise and emphasising the importance of prescribed medication. We encourage the involvement of a multi-disciplinary team with the most important team member being the person living with diabetes. Dietary changes can have a significant effect on glycaemic control.

If you have diabetes, you may need to make some changes to your way of life. However, by sticking to your management plan, monitoring your condition and following a healthy lifestyle, you should be able to continue your normal, day-to-day life and take part in the activities you have always enjoyed.

The long-term benefits of healthy eating and regular physical activity outweigh the excuses we can all make not to follow a healthy lifestyle. A positive attitude, careful planning and support from your family, friends and health care team all help.

What is Diabetes?
Diabetes is a condition where the amount of sugar (glucose) in the blood is high, as the body does not produce enough insulin.

Insulin is needed to transport sugar from our blood into the muscles to be used as energy or fuel. It also keeps the sugar in our blood within an acceptable range (4 - 7 mmol/l before a meal, and less than 8 mmol/ l after a meal).

Healthy eating
What you eat directly affects your blood glucose levels. By choosing healthy foods and being active, you will help manage your blood glucose levels and your weight.

The diet for people with diabetes is not a special diet. It is the normal healthy diet recommended for everybody – low in fat, sugar and salt, with plenty of fruit, vegetables and starchy foods. Healthy eating is good for everybody, so there is no need to prepare separate meals for you and your family. You do not need to buy special foods either, so relax, and learn how to enjoy a varied, balanced diet.

Seven "Golden Rules" for diabetes

1Eat regular meals
Minimum of three meals per day.
2Portion Control:
Learn to eat smaller meals (eat more vegetables and salad).
3Plan to succeed:
Healthy eating starts at the supermarket, shop with a shopping list. Only buy healthy foods. Plan meals and snacks.
4Drink more fluids:
Drink a minimum of 2 Litres of fluid per day.
5Learn to differentiate between appetite and hunger:
Take note of the stress of comfort eating. Wait 20 minutes after a meal.
6Reduce sugar and sugary foods/drinks:
Replace high sugar foods with low sugar or sugar-free alternatives.
7Be more active!
Physical activity helps to:
  • regulate blood glucose levels
  • make insulin work more effectively
  • reduce weight
  • improve blood cholesterol and blood pressure
  • prevent coronary heart disease.

Dependant on your insulin regime.

Planning is very important when starting to increase your activity levels. With structured planning, it can be fun, safe and very rewarding. The key is to set short-term achievable goals and build up gradually, to prevent injury and muscle soreness. Also, set a long term goal.

How much should you be doing?

Build up to at least 30 minutes of physical activity that makes you feel a breathless on most, preferably all, days of the week, but remember even if you can't manage 30 minutes a day every bit counts. JUST START!

Which activity?

  • Do something that you enjoy, such as gardening or going for a walk. You are more likely to stick at it and make it a habit.
  • Think of movement as an activity opportunity, so take the stairs instead of the lift.
  • For most people, walking is the easiest and most convenient form of physical activity.
  • Some other activities you might like to try are swimming, bowling, golf, tennis.

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