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Posts Tagged ‘Lifestyle Modifications’

Manage Diabetes Through Lifestyle Modifications. By Our Student Pharmacist, Isatu Kamara.

As November comes to a close, so does National Diabetes Month. Diabetes, however, is a condition that must be managed year-round. If you or a loved one has diabetes, it is important to understand how the condition is best managed to prevent further progression of the disease.

Type 2 diabetes may be managed with oral medications, but may also require insulin injections. In this post, instead of focusing on the medications used to treat diabetes, I will be discussing what you can do to manage type 2 diabetes through lifestyle modifications like diet and exercise.



One of the easiest ways to create healthy meals is to follow the American Diabetes Association Diabetes Plate Method. By using this method, you can create a balanced meal of vegetables, carbohydrates, and protein without having to do any weighing or calculations. Here’s how to put together your plate:

  1. Find a reasonably sized plate, not too big or too small. A plate that is about 9 inches across is recommended.
  2. Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Non-starchy vegetables are high in vitamins, minerals, and fiber and lower in carbohydrates, so they won’t raise blood sugar much.


  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli/Cauliflower
  • Celery
  • Mushrooms
  • Leafy greens like kale or collards
  • Salad greens like lettuce, spinach, or arugula
  1. Fill one quarter of the other half of your plate with lean protein foods. Lean proteins are lower in fat and saturated fat than other sources of protein.


  • Chicken, turkey, or eggs
  • Fish like salmon, tuna, or tilapia
  • Shellfish like shrimp, lobster, or scallops
  • Lean beef or pork cuts
  • Cheese

Plant-based examples:

  • Beans, lentils, or hummus
  • Nuts and nut butters
  • Edamame
  • Tofu
  1. Fill the last quarter of your plate with carbohydrates. Foods high in carbohydrates have the greatest effect on raising blood sugar so limiting these foods to a quarter of a plate can help prevent blood sugar spikes after meals.


  • Whole grains like brown rice, bulgur, oats/oatmeal, or quinoa
  • Starchy vegetables like green peas, plantain, potato or sweet potato
  • Beans and legumes
  • Fruits
  • Dairy products like milk/milk substitutes and yogurt
  1. For your beverage choose water or a low-calorie drink. Water is the best option because it has no calories or carbohydrates, so it won’t affect your blood sugar.

Other options include:

  • Unsweetened tea or coffee
  • Sparkling or flavored water with no sugar
  • Diet soda



Try adding physical activity to your daily routine. Physical activity lowers your blood sugar levels and can help you lose weight. If you aren’t used to physical exercise here is a resource to help you get started safely. Generally, the goal is to incorporate 20-25 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity every day to total at least 150 minutes a week.

Some examples of moderate-intensity physical activity are:

  • Walking briskly
  • Dancing
  • Swimming
  • Bicycling

You should always talk to your doctor or diabetes educator before starting a new exercise program and let them know if you have any questions or concerns with your routine.

If not properly treated, diabetes can lead to serious problems like, heart attack, stroke, kidney disease, vision problems, nerve pain and amputation. It is important to make healthy lifestyle choices to manage your diabetes and follow up regularly with your health care providers.


  1. Get active! Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. https://www.cdc.gov/diabetes/managing/active.html. Published May 6, 2021. Accessed November 8, 2022.
  1. Managing diabetes with diet and exercise. Commonwealth Care Alliance. https://www.commonwealthcarealliance.org/living-well-at-home/how-to-manage-diabetes-with-diet-and-exercise/. Published October 18, 2021. Accessed November 8, 2022.
  1. Patient education: Patient education: Type 2 diabetes (The Basics). UpToDate. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/type-2-diabetes-the-basics. Published January 21, 2021. Accessed November 8, 2022.
  1. What is the diabetes plate method? Diabetes Food Hub. https://www.diabetesfoodhub.org/articles/what-is-the-diabetes-plate-method.html. Published February 1, 2020. Accessed November 8, 2022.