Foods to Avoid When Caring for Diabetic Feet

Ugh, it’s another one of those “things to avoid” blogs. But wait, hold up!

If you live with diabetes, you likely know how important self-management is. As a podiatry office, we know how important it is as well! The better a patient manages their blood sugar levels, the slower the effects of diabetes take their toll on the body. For a vulnerable area such as the feet, this is a great goal.

But.

We also understand how miserable it can feel to be told what to avoid all the time. Human beings don’t like being told what not to do. “Avoiding” something is passive and restrictive. You start to feel like you’re not really in control of things, especially when you hit a celebratory season and you find yourself surrounded by all those forbidden items!

The best mindset for diabetic care is not passive, though. It’s active. It’s in charge. It’s you making smart choices for a healthy life—but also a free and enjoyable one.

So let’s not think about the “floor is lava”-like avoidance as much as being smart and in control with how we manage our diets. We have a few tips for just that, especially when the holidays and other celebrations are approaching.

NOTE: The advice presented below is for general situations and might not be best suited for all patients. Check with your primary diabetic care physician before making changes to your diet. Their advice takes priority over anything presented here.

Plan Ahead

If you know you’re heading to an event and there’s something delectable you want, prepare yourself to allow it into your diet for the week without destroying your levels.

What this does not mean is starving yourself through the day so you can eat whatever you want in the evening. Your blood sugar may plummet during the day, then rise too high as you overcompensate. This roller coaster ride is bad for you.

It’s better to take a longer view of your diet. If you want to have something carb-rich tonight, let it take the place of other carbs you tend to have one or two days from now. You can also consider upping your exercise that day or the next to help compensate. Head out for a walk during a part of the party, or get on the bike or treadmill tomorrow morning.

Also keep in mind that, just because an event is happening at a certain time doesn’t mean you can’t enjoy something from it later. Ask if you can bring home something extra with you to have the next day or later in the week. Most hosts are happy to see their guests off with leftovers instead of eating their way out of all of it themselves.

Scout, Divide, and Conquer

Don’t be afraid to ask your host what they are planning to serve at their party, noting you wish to keep your blood sugar in check. You are not imposing them to provide you healthier options here; you are making your plan.

If there’s something on the menu you want that you know will be costly, determine how you’ll make up for it beforehand. If you wish to have something more favorable to you there, offer to bring it yourself.

If there’s a buffet-style spread, give it a look-over before dinner starts. You don’t want to fill your plate with one item only to realize something you wanted more is at the end!

In general, a well-rounded plate will be half-filled with veggies, a quarter-filled with protein, and the last quarter filled with carbs.

Moderate Your Drinking

An alcoholic drink can be relaxing, but it can also be a well of carbs and empty calories.

If you do decide to drink, the American Diabetes Association recommends limiting yourself to one for women and two for men (but really, one for men is even better). Put a hefty limit on anything heavy or made with syrup, and try opting for a light beer or wine spritzer instead.

Don’t Get Sauced

We already talked about alcohol. This one’s about actual sauces.

Although, when you consider it, alcohol and sauces share similarities in being surprisingly easy ways to build up calories and carbs in your consumption.

Keep heavy sauces and gravies to as bare a minimum as possible. Items swimming in creams, butter, cheese, and other thickness can easily ruin your plans for balance. Scrape that stuff off if you’re not willing to make up for it elsewhere.

Don’t Force the Sugar-Free Stuff on Yourself

If there are sugar-free options you enjoy, then by all means go for them! However, experience states that many of these products aren’t always the most suitable replacements for the real thing.

Just because something is free of sugar doesn’t mean it’s free of carbs altogether. Trying to satisfy yourself with a ton of sugar-free products might be worse off in some cases than finding real satisfaction with a little of the real deal.

Quantity isn’t always the best goal when it comes to enjoying yourself. If you opt for smaller portions and take the time to savor them, you might be surprised at how happy you are when it’s gone!

Take Charge of Your Diabetic Foot Care

The best thing about choosing healthier eating options and still enjoying what you eat is how it sets a good example for everyone around you. A “diabetic diet” isn’t just good for someone with diabetes; it’s an overall healthy diet for everyone.

It’s largely the same for the more foot-specific aspects of diabetic care, too. Pay attention to all aspects of good care, with a positive mindset, and you’ll be a much happier person than if you hadn’t—guaranteed!

If you are seeking professional guidance for your diabetic foot care, or simply have some questions about it, don’t hesitate to give us a call at (208) 731-6321. Our offices in Twin Falls and Burley will be happy to help you.

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