Nassau County Health
Is Our Mission

Nassau County Health
Is Our Mission

What the Experts Say: Creating a Plate for Healthy Eating

Written by Kerry Serzan

Do you have diabetes or pre-diabetes? If so, you may have a lot of questions: “What kinds of food should I eat?” “How much should I eat at each meal?” “Will I still be able to eat the foods I enjoy?” “Can I afford to eat healthy?” If you have questions about eating well to manage your diabetes and stay healthy, there are resources that can help. When you know how to create your healthy plate, you will be able to eat many kinds of foods in the right amounts.

Everything you eat or drink over time matters. So, what you put on your plate today can help you be healthy now and in the future. Monica Gonzalez is a dietitian and nutrition expert for the Long Island FQHC. Many of her patients have diabetes. She helps them to learn what to eat and what not to eat at each meal. She said people with diabetes should “have three things on the plate – a vegetable, a starch and a protein.”

Begin with small changes. It’s better to build healthy habits gradually instead of trying to change everything in one day. Sometimes when people find out they have diabetes or pre-diabetes, they think they must completely change their eating habits right away. But it’s usually not a good idea to make changes to your diet all at once, Gonzalez said.

“I will have patients come in who are only eating vegetables. They tell me they feel tired, exhausted and dizzy. They think they can’t eat carbs and starches, like rice or tortillas. They will tell me ‘I can’t eat anything anymore.’ ” Gonzalez tells her patients they can eat healthier and still enjoy many of their favorite foods. For example, eat smaller portions of carbs. Stick to just one kind of carb at each meal — choose rice or tortillas, not both.

There are many people living with diabetes. All have different food needs. Eating healthy can be harder for some more than others. “Income is an issue for people living with diabetes,” Gonzalez said. “A lot of people think eating healthy is expensive. I talk to my patients about how to eat healthy on a budget.” If you are not sure how to eat well to manage your diabetes, a doctor or nutritionist can help.
The Long Island FQHC, Inc. is a family health center that provides comprehensive primary and specialty care for the whole family. We provide services for all adult, pediatric, OB/GYN, Behavioral health and dental care needs at several location throughout Nassau County. We will see patients regardless of their ability to pay and regardless of citizenship status.

© 2020 The Long Island FQHC, Inc. All rights reserved.