You may have heard that dairy products like milk, yogurt and cheese are essential to a balanced diet, but did you know that there is strong new evidence that dairy products could help you lower your risk of type 2 diabetes (T2DM)? Here are 5 tips to help you prevent or manage T2D, while enjoying some of your favorite dairy products:
- Mix up your move and fill up on protein – Incorporating a good mix of aerobic exercise (walking, running, hiking, etc.) and resistance exercise (strength training, bodyweight movements, etc.) throughout your week can help huge benefits in managing T2DM risk factors. Fueling up with a good source of protein after exercise can also help give your body the amino acids needed to gain muscle, which can help improve how your body naturally responds to insulin and blood sugar. Top a cup of low-fat Greek yogurt with a handful of fresh berries for the perfect high-protein post-workout snack!
- Find balance with your carbohydrates – Keeping track of the amount of carbohydrates you eat in meals and snacks can make all the difference in managing and preventing T2D risk factors. Carbohydrates can occur naturally in whole foods or through processing with added sugars, starches and syrups. Although the amount of carbohydrate an individual needs varies, a single serving is considered 15 grams. Many dairy products like milk, plain Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, and string cheese naturally fall below 15 grams of carbs per serving and are a great option for those looking for a satisfying, carb-controlled food choice. .
- Rethink your drink – Sugary drinks like sodas, fruit juices, and energy drinks can introduce hundreds of “empty” (zero nutritional value) calories into your diet without satisfying your hunger. These drinks are loaded with simple carbs that can wreak havoc on your ability to control blood sugar. If you’re looking for an alternative to mood-boosting drinks, try enjoying a glass of milk rich in natural B vitamins to give you an energizing boost.
- Consistency is key – Whether you’re trying to manage your weight, blood sugar, or both, one of the best strategies to practice is consistency of meals and snacks throughout the day. Sticking to a routine will help keep hunger at bay, prevent overeating, and provide consistent energy to feel your best. Most adults also struggle to get the necessary nutrition from the USDA recommendations of 3 servings of dairy products per day; so practicing consistency with your diet will give you a better chance of adding some of your favorite foods from this group.
- eat the rainbow – Eating a colorful variety of foods from all food groups is essential to living your best life and can help prevent and manage your risk of diabetes. Here are some tasty and healthy combinations with other OSU Extension food groups food hero you can try with your favorite dairy products:
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