Diabetes Awareness Month: Tips for managing diabetes from your local Registered Dietitian

(Isabel Williams is the Registered Dietitian at Brown’s Your Independent Grocer on Stittsville Main Street.)

November is Diabetes Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about diabetes risk factors, management, and encourage Stittsville community members to make healthy lifestyle changes. In Canada, 11.5 million people are currently living with or at risk of diabetes. Unfortunately, diabetes-related complications have increased since the start of the pandemic. In fact, new data from Shoppers Drug Mart shows a 17 per cent increase in new patients filling diabetes prescriptions per period when comparing 2019 to 2021.

When left unmanaged, the excess sugar in the blood that causes diabetes can eventually cause problems and lead to serious health complications, including heart attack, stroke, kidney failure, blindness, limb amputation, and depression. It can be overwhelming to think about, but believe it or not, small lifestyle changes can have a big impact.

Small Nutrition Changes – You don’t need to make drastic diet changes to have a positive impact on managing your diabetes. Check out the options below as a place to start for keeping your blood sugar levels in better control.

  1. At mealtimes, use the “balanced plate method” as a guide. Aim to have your plate contain ½ non-starchy vegetables, ¼ protein foods and ¼ whole grain carbohydrates.
  2. Consider what you can add to your plate, instead of worrying about what to take away. Try a new vegetable, experiment with a new recipe, or explore a new type of grain. 
  3. Myth busting: Just because you have diabetes doesn’t mean you need to avoid sugar altogether! All foods can fit into a healthy diet. Talk to your dietitian about how to incorporate sweeter snacks in a way that doesn’t spike your blood sugar levels.

Stay Active – Exercise can seem daunting, but the good news is that every bit counts! Do you enjoy going for a walk, or even dancing? These can have a big impact on managing diabetes. According to Diabetes Canada, 30 minutes of aerobic exercise per day, five times a week can slow or even prevent progression of diabetes. Physical activity usually helps reduce elevated blood sugar levels, helping insulin to work better.

Blood Sugar Maintenance – Monitoring your blood sugar range is an important part of managing your diabetes and preventing complications. It’s much easier to make lifestyle changes when you know if your blood sugar is too high or low. If you need support, reach out to your local Shoppers Drug Mart pharmacist who can help set you up with blood sugar testing.

A diabetes diagnosis can feel overwhelming, but it doesn’t have to be. As your local Stittsville Registered Dietitian at Brown’s Your Independent Grocer, I am here to support and can help you improve your overall wellness through personalized nutrition services. To discuss your unique needs, book an appointment with me at yourindependentgrocer.ca/dietitians.

Indian Spiced Cauliflower and Chickpea Salad


  • 1 Large head cauliflower and cut in 1-inch florets (about 11 cups)
  • 1 Medium red onion, chopped
  • 1 can Chickpeas
  • 1/4 cup Olive oil
  • 2 tbsp Garam masala
  • 1 tsp Turmeric
  • 1 tsp Salt
  • 1/2 tsp Cayenne pepper
  • 1/3 cup Greek Yogurt
  • 1 tbsp grated lemon rind
  • 4 tsp lemon juice
  • 1 tbsp Dijon mustard
  • 2 cups Baby Spinach, packed
  • 3 tbsp Chopped coriander
  • 3 tbsp Toasted pine nuts


  1. Arrange racks in bottom and top thirds of oven. Preheat oven to 425°F. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  2. Combine cauliflower, onion and chickpeas in large bowl. In small bowl, whisk oil, garam masala, turmeric, salt and cayenne. Pour over vegetable mixture. Toss until combined and divide between baking sheets.
  3. Bake for 35 minutes, switching baking sheets top to bottom halfway, or until vegetables are golden brown and softened. Let cool for 15 minutes.
  4. Meanwhile, whisk together yogurt, lemon rind, lemon juice, mustard and 4 tsp water.
  5. Place roasted vegetables in bowl. Add spinach; toss to combine. Transfer to platter; drizzle yogurt dressing over top. Garnish with coriander and pine nuts.

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