Tips for meal planning for diabetics

Healthy Meal Planning for Diabetics

Overview

Contemporary lifestyles have left us with little to no time for a conscious, healthy living. Although we love to watch healthy meal prep videos and download fitness apps on our mobile phones, reality presents an utterly different story. No longer able to hit the snooze button, we wake up each day, exhausted after a restless sleep and flow with the demands of work and family, only to collapse on the bed in the same state of weariness. The only thing that keeps us going throughout the day is that sugary delight from our favourite baker and a steaming cup of coffee.

This attitude to food repeated daily, year after year, is what brings you here, reading this article now. So let’s dive right into a few tips for plan for your meals better.

Benefit of meal planning? 

  • Healthier food choices benefit you by reducing the risk of diabetic complications, stroke and cardiac problems. This may even put you on heart related medicine and cholesterol medicine on top of your existing medical conditions.
  • This supports weight loss goals. About 60% of people with type 1 diabetes and 85% of those with type 2 diabetes are obese. Excess fat surrounding your organs such as liver and pancreas, might lead to insulin resistance.
  • Lower weight can result in reduced dosage of diabetes medication and improved mood.
  • Saves time because you don’t have to make decisions every day on what to eat and what to avoid.
  • Reduces the chances of you reaching out for unhealthy treats. Because stress, can make you select a delicious cake or fast food over a slice of fruit or vegetable.

Food considerations for diabetes

Tips for a Type 1 diabetic

This is when your body stops producing insulin. If you’ve been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes there is no strict diet plan to follow. You should stick to the healthy diet recommended for the general population, which includes sufficient quantities of carbs, protein, dairy, healthy fats, and fruits and vegetables.

  • Thirsty? Skip the urge to drink carbonated drinks. Ideally, stick to water and fresh juices
  • Avoid food labelled as ‘diabetic’ or ‘suitable for diabetes’. These can affect your blood sugar levels.
  • Include healthy carbohydrates in your meals since the lack of it can reduce your blood sugar levels.
  • Stick to wholegrain starchy food, pulses, fruits and vegetables without added salt, sugar and saturated fats.

Tips to consider when taking insulin

  • If you’re taking insulin twice per daily, it’s advisable to consume roughly the same quantity of carbs each day, and at the same time. This will prevent fluctuations in your blood sugar levels.
  • If you’re using a basal-bolus insulin regime, then there’s more flexibility surrounding your meals and insulin intake.
  • Don’t forget to reorder your insulin stock through an online pharmacy if you’re stuck in a busy schedule. This will quickly and efficiently take one item off your to-do list.

Type 2 diabetes

Type 2 diabetes is a long term medication. It’s important to intergrate diet changes.

Tips for meal planning for a type 2 diabetic

  • Choose porridge over cereals. Oats porridge, wheat biscuits, Greek or natural yoghurt with chunks of fresh fruits, nuts and seeds are amazing alternatives for breakfast
  • Go for wholegrain instead of white toast
  • Use wholewheat flour for rotis and chapattis
  • Mashed banana with low-fat cheese, chopped dates and sugar-free nut butter are better alternatives for jam
  • Opt for unsaturated vegetable oils such as olive oil and sunflower oil instead of butter or ghee
  • Swap red and processed meat for oily fish. Combine with scrambled eggs, grilled  tomatoes, mushrooms and wholegrain toast
  • Limit fruit juices to 150ml per day as they contain sugar. Check the ingredients when you buy a drink to avoid added syrups and purees
  • Chicken salad sandwich, pasta salad and soup with a roll are great choices for lunch along with yoghurt and a fruit
  • For dinner, have meals such as chicken tortillas with salad, salmon and noodles or beef stir fry with vegetables and rice
  • Snack options include rice cake, crackers, a couple of biscuits, yoghurt, cereal bar and even a small quantity of crisps

Tips to plan your plate

ADA suggests to fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables (e.g. spinach, carrots or tomatoes), a quarter of your plate with protein (e.g. tuna, chicken) and another quarter with whole-grain item (e.g. brown rice or starchy vegetable). Add a little bit of healthy fats such as nuts or avocados. For dessert, choose a fruit or dairy along with unsweetened tea or coffee.

Eating healthy doesn’t have to be an expensive and difficult task if you plan ahead. This avoids buying the wrong food items, which saves you money and time. Use local, organic and seasonal fruits and vegetables according to your requirement. Include adequate physical activity and be diligent about your medication. Use medication delivery in Colombo to ensure you never miss a single dose because of your hectic schedule.

References:

Diabetes UK (2018) Lose weight. Available at: https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/whats-your-healthy-weight/lose-weight (Accessed: 07 May 2020).

Harvard Health Publishing (2018) Why stress causes people to overeat. Available at: https://www.health.harvard.edu/staying-healthy/why-stress-causes-people-to-overeat (Accessed: 07 May 2020).

Diabetes UK (no date) What is a healthy balanced diet. Available at:

https://www.diabetes.org.uk/guide-to-diabetes/enjoy-food/eating-with-diabetes/what-is-a-healthy-balanced-diet (Accessed: 07 May 2020).

Mayo Clinic (2019) Diabetes diet. Available at:

https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/diabetes/in-depth/diabetes-diet/art-20044295 (Accessed: 07 May 2020).


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