Diabetes | Management

Managing your diabetes

You may be able to control your blood sugar by losing weight, eating a healthy diet, and getting daily exercise. You may also have to take insulin or other diabetes medicine. 

With education and support, you will treat diabetes as a part of your life—not your whole life. Seek support when you need it from your family, friends, and your doctor or other diabetes experts. 


How can you plan healthy meals when you have diabetes? 

Here are some tips to get started:

  • Plan your meals a week at a time. Don't forget to include snacks too.
  • Use cookbooks or online recipes to plan several main meals. Plan some quick meals for busy nights. You also can double some recipes that freeze well. Then you can save half for other busy nights when you don't have time to cook.
  • Make sure you have the ingredients you need for your recipes. If you're running low on basic items, put these items on your shopping list too.
  • List foods that you use to make breakfasts, lunches, and snacks. List plenty of fruits and vegetables.
  • Post this list on the refrigerator. Add to it as you think of more things you need.
  • Take the list to the store to do your weekly shopping.

How to monitor your blood sugar when you have diabetes

Home blood sugar testing can be used to monitor your blood sugar levels. Talk with your doctor about how often to check your blood sugar. How often you need to check it depends on your diabetes treatment, how well your diabetes is controlled, and your overall health. People who take insulin to control their diabetes may need to check their blood sugar level often. Testing blood sugar at home is often called home blood sugar monitoring or self-testing. 

If you use insulin rarely or don't use it at all, blood sugar testing can be very helpful in learning how your body reacts to foods, illness, stress, exercise, medicines, and other activities. Testing before and after eating can help you adjust what you eat. 

How can you exercise safely when you have diabetes?

Before you start a new exercise program, talk to your doctor.

Here are some safety tips.

  • Check your blood sugar. If you take medicine or insulin that lowers blood sugar, check your blood sugar before and after you exercise.
  • Take steps to avoid blood sugar problems.
    • Ask your doctor what blood sugar range is safe before you start exercise.
    • If your blood sugar is less than 90 mg/dL, you may need to eat a carbohydrate snack first.
  • Try to exercise around the same time each day. This may help keep your blood sugar steady.
  • Try to exercise with someone. You may need help if your blood sugar drops too low.
  • Keep quick-sugar foods with you.
  • Use proper footwear and equipment.
  • Pay attention to your body. If something doesn't feel right, call your doctor.