Recently, I went for routine blood work. The lab technician walks in and starts to prepare me for what’s going to happen. I politely smile and explain that as someone who grew up with Type 1 Diabetes, I’m no stranger to needles. The conversation takes an interesting turn...
Although she works in the medical field, she knows very little about diabetes and starts asking questions because her mother has Type 2 Diabetes. Although the diseases aren’t the same, I’m always happy to discuss.
“She used to eat sweets for breakfast but now she only eats cereal and still has poor readings,” she said with a completely confused expression. Then she asked me if my insulin pump would help with that. I explained that while the insulin pump is an extraordinary tool, it does not control your blood sugar. You do!
While there could be many reasons for poor blood sugar readings, it got me thinking about how people believe foods always fit into two categories: healthy or unhealthy. While a ¾ cup serving of heart healthy whole grain cereal with skim milk works well for some people, few people will realize benefits from a giant bowl of frosted, fruity, cocoa anything. With most foods, you have to look at the labels.
I don’t have cereal often but when I do, here are my five personal guidelines:
- Look for whole grains, fiber (at least five grams) and protein
- Sugar should ideally be less than five grams and never more than 10 grams
- Pay attention to serving sizes - I use a coffee mug so I don’t feel disappointed like I would looking in a bowl
- Top with low or no fat milk
- Add fruit in the cereal and a side of protein for a balanced breakfast