Diabetes Type 2 is a disease that affects the insulin levels in the body and it is so widespread that you probably know a family member or a friend who is affected from this preventable disease. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, one in three adults in America have pre-diabetes, which can lead to Type 2 Diabetes.

Whether you’ve been recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes (when your blood sugar is high but not in the diabetic range) or in the advanced stages, it is important to remember that along with medications, eating more whole foods can help you manage your blood sugar levels. A balanced diet also leads to weight loss, which can have a huge impact on your overall wellbeing. While there is yet no cure for Type 2 Diabetes, losing 7 to 10% of your body weight over time may increase insulin sensitivity and help you better manage the disease.

Follow these tips to make small changes in your diet and gain control of your diabetes.

Be Mindful of Simple Carbohydrates

Carbohydrates such as white flour, bread, pasta, rice or cereal turn into sugar quickly as you digest them. Portion control is especially important when it comes to these types of foods.

Try substituting starches for whole grains such as brown rice, oatmeal and whole wheat flour. Whole grains are rich in fiber, which is digested more slowly, releasing sugar into your bloodstream less rapidly.

Eat the Rainbow

Vegetables are also full of fiber and a great way to fill your plate without adding in lots of calories. Choose from different color categories (red peppers, green kale, purple eggplant) to get a wide variety of nutrients.

Are you craving something sweet? Turn to fruit. Filled with fiber and natural sugar, fruit is perfect as a snack or dessert.

Proteins

Protein-rich foods such as meat, fish, poultry, beef, pork, lamb, cheese, cottage cheese, eggs, nuts and nut butters digest more slowly in your stomach, keeping you full longer.

While fats don’t necessarily affect blood sugar, you will want to moderate your portions to help with weight management and heart health. Plant-based fats such as olive oil, vegetable oil, nuts, seeds and avocados are heart healthy options. Oily fish such as salmon and tuna are also great sources of heart healthy fats.

When it comes to dairy, lactose is a carbohydrate. So even though you don’t have to deprive yourself of a glass of milk or cup of yogurt, you should be mindful of the portion size.

Healthier Munchies

Most snacks like chips or crackers are high in carbohydrates. The next time you need a snack, try pairing a fiber rich carbohydrate with a protein source to keep you fuller longer and help slow down the rapid rise of blood sugar.

Pair fruit with cottage cheese or nut butter. The same goes for whole grain crackers. Add a little bit of cheese or peanut butter for a more balanced snack.

If you like yogurt, choose plain Greek yogurt. It has more protein than regular yogurt. Skip the flavored yogurts that are high insugar and add fresh or frozen fruit instead.