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Advice for people with diabetes and their families

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“I tend to cook much more than I used to before I was diagnosed with diabetes.”

Your food stories - TerryTerry, 75, is a retired GP practice manager from Chatteris, Cambridgeshire. He was diagnosed with Type 2 diabetes in 2010.

"When I talk with friends, I suggest that they think of healthy eating as a change of lifestyle. By eating healthily, I’ve brought my diabetes sufficiently well under control that my diabetes nurse is considering taking me off Metformin.

"Switching to home cooking and using fresh vegetables and fruit means I’ve got much better control over my diabetes, while saving money from eating out or using prepared food from the chill cabinet.

Moderation and measurement

"I’m rarely hungry these days, but if I am, I fill up on fresh or frozen fruit. I don’t avoid things like bread, pastry and cakes completely, but it’s a matter of moderation.

"I tend to cook much more than I used to before I was diagnosed with diabetes. I’d frequently eat out or grab a sandwich and a fizzy drink and consume these on the way home from work in the car. This made me lethargic and easily tired when carrying out manual tasks. Now I measure everything I eat. For example, once upon a time, I’d eat a bowl of cereal with semi-skimmed milk, whereas nowadays I measure 28g of cereal to 120ml of skimmed milk.

Courses and cookbooks

"Having attended an Italian cooking course, I also eat more pasta. The course showed me that I can make delicious sauces with fresh products. Using a good low-calorie/low-carb cookbook can give the whole family meals that they’ll quickly convert to and enjoy every bit as much as what they used to eat. I don’t always use cookbooks but they can give you lots of ideas. For example, I make my own version of fish pie using fresh fish, potatoes and vegetables. Usually I make enough to last me two days, which saves me money on my grocery bill.

“Don't stop taking the family out to meals at restaurants.”


Fresh and frozen

"At the supermarket, the larger part of my food bill is spent on fresh fruit and vegetables and fresh meat and fish. I use a local farm shop to supplement my food purchases. I’ll often mix their frozen fruits with a low-calorie yogurt to make a dessert. I also make my own ice lollies using low-calorie yogurts, pushing a stick through the lids before I put them in the freezer.

Substitutes and sugar-free

"I recommend looking seriously at food products such as soya (I use mostly soya milk now) and Quorn as protein substitutes. Over time, I’ve also gone from full-fat milk, through semi-skimmed milk and skimmed milk, to soya milk. If someone makes me a coffee with full-fat milk now, I find it far too sickly. As a result, I often drink my coffee and tea black. I haven’t taken sugar in my hot drinks for years.

"Don’t stop taking the family out to meals at restaurants. Just make sure that healthy food is substituted for unhealthy food and bulk out on vegetables and fruit. A good restaurant will always provide side salads and extra vegetables in place of a Yorkshire pudding and chips.

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