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Forget the "diabetic diet." Instead, try these 6 tips for eating better every day.

Years ago, when a person was diagnosed with diabetes, they'd be sent home with a "diabetic meal plan" and a list of foods they shouldn't eat. Thank goodness those days are over. You may need to make some changes, but you can still enjoy the foods you love. And who knows—you may actually like a new way of eating, just as our friend Percy learned how much he loved to cook new foods for himself.

Try one or two of these ideas inspired by Percy now, and add more as you're ready.

  1. Use a smaller plate. A healthy portion can look depressingly small on a giant plate, making it easy to overeat.1 With stores selling plates over 11" across, you don't stand a chance. Whether you're eating at home or prepping food to take to work, choose a container or plate that just fits your meal, and you won't feel shortchanged.
  2. Flip your meals. Research shows that eating the biggest meal at mid-day may make it easier to drop weight.2 What's more, some people find that this helps them sleep better and have more energy in the afternoon, not to mention enjoying more time in the evenings.
  3. Trade up. Look for little opportunities to make a difference. Eating quinoa instead of white rice or pasta, for example, will give you more protein and fiber for the same serving size. That can help you feel full for longer.3 Reach for the whole-grain version of anything you buy. Sneak veggies into everything, from a veggie omelet in place of your bacon and eggs to cauliflower in your mashed potatoes. Opt for homemade over processed foods wherever possible.
  4. Eat protein at every meal and snack. You may find that you're staying full longer and craving fewer sweet and salty snacks. Yogurt, nuts, a hard-boiled egg, lean meat or beans can all help keep hunger pangs from coming right back.
  5. Make water your habit. Alcohol and sugary drinks add up fast, but don't make you feel full. Try increasing your water intake by just a few ounces a day, then raise it as you go. Drinking it before you eat or snack can also take the edge off, so you don't overdo it.
  6. Know what you're eating. Use paper and pen or a mobile app to keep track of what you're actually putting in your mouth. After all, if you don't have a clear picture of what you're eating, how can you change it?

Interested in more thoughts on food and fitness?

Explore ideas to help you live better with diabetes on

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1Von Ittersum K, Wansink B. Plate size and color suggestibility: the Delboeuf Illusion’s bias on serving and eating behavior. J Consum Res. 2011;39:215-228. Available at: Accessed August 20, 2018.

2Madjd A, Taylor Moira A, Delavari A, Malekzadeh R, Macdonald IA, et al. Beneficial effect of high energy intake at lunch rather than dinner on weight loss in healthy obese women in a weight-loss program: a randomized clinical trial. Am J Clin Nutr. 2016;104(4):982-989. Available at: Accessed August 20, 2018.

3Healthline. Quinoa vs. rice: the health benefits of each grain. Available at: Accessed August 20, 2018.

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