Healthy and nutritious eating is important for all of us. More so if you have a health condition like diabetes. Having a great meal plan is half of the job you need to do so you can reach your goals faster.
As you surely know, maintaining target blood sugar levels is important. Therefore, if you have diabetes you need to know what foods and activities will work well with your target blood sugar levels.
However, there are factors in our everyday life that we need to consider. Some of them are stress, sleep, lifestyle, and goals in general. It is crucial to eat healthily and it is even better if we don`t have to sacrifice anything else that we are used to.
Following a diet that is good for your conditions and that has enough balance will help you keep your blood sugar levels low and will help you to maintain a healthy weight. For diabetes, these things are crucial. However, that doesn`t have to be stressful.
What can you eat when you have diabetes?
Finding out that you are diagnosed with diabetes can be overwhelming and bring lots of different emotions. Additionally, it can bring confusion about what to eat. Losing weight (if needed) and maintaining it at a healthy level is something that can help you improve your blood sugar levels, too.
The good news is that you don`t have to completely sacrifice the food you like. You can still eat it, but, not so often and not in big portions. The most crucial thing is to eat a lot of different healthy foods from all five food groups in the right amounts.
Some of the food that you can eat with diabetes and that should be included in your maintenance meal plan is:
Veggies (broccoli, peppers, tomatoes, greens, potatoes, green peas, corn)
Grains (half, or more, of your daily grains, should be whole grains – rice, cornmeal, wheat, quinoa, barley)
Fruits (melon, berries, oranges, bananas, grapes, melon)
Protein (chicken, turkey, lean meat, eggs, fish, nuts, chickpeas, beans)
Dairy (low-fat o nonfat products, yogurt, milk, cheese)
Fats (only healthy fats, olive, and canola oil, nuts and seeds, avocado)
Foods and drinks that you should limit when you have diabetes
Eating nutritious, feeling better, and being healthy will require avoiding or limiting unhealthy foods. Some of them are:
- Any food that is high in saturated or trans fat or fried
- Baked goods, ice cream, and sweets
- Food that is high in sodium(salt)
- Any juice with added sugar, sport or energy drinks, soda, and similar
- Try to drink water instead of sweet beverages and try to use substitute sugar in your tea or coffee
- Avoid alcohol, or at least no more than one drink daily with food
How much should you eat if you are a diabetic?
Managing and maintaining our weight and blood sugar levels will be doable when eating the right amount of food. It can be different for everyone and the best thing is when we know how many calories and food we should eat every day. If you are unsure about this, always consult with your doctor, nutritionist, or another professional.
When should diabetics eat?
The answer to this question is different for almost every individual. Some people with diabetes can be flexible with the timing of their meals. However, some people need to eat at the same time each day. Therefore, this depends on the medicine or type of insulin. Some have to eat the same amount of carbs at the same time every day.
Additionally, people who take `mealtime` insulin can have a more flexible eating schedule. Some can eat before and some after physical activity. This is also the best to consult your doctor about because many factors must be considered.
What do include in your maintenance meal plan?
Making changes in your routine is not always easy and the best idea is to start small. However, healthy eating without sacrifice is achievable. For instance, start switching one sweet drink a day with water and then increase that number until you replace them all, or at least most of them.
The next thing to do would be to try to eat more homemade meals if you are someone who eats out a lot. Likewise, start with one meal at a time. Add more non-starchy veggies, fruits, whole grains, and lean protein to your plate.
Protein is great for slowing down the digestion of carbohydrates and the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream. Therefore, eating chicken, meat, eggs, nuts, greek yogurt, or other vegetarian proteins will help you improve your blood sugars and to keep them stable.
Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that also helps improve our blood sugars and it is broken down slowly so it prevents blood sugar to increase fast. High-fiber foods that we need to consume are whole-wheat bread, oatmeal, fruits, vegetables, quinoa, beans, lentils, and whole-wheat pasta.
Additionally, exercising is always helpful. Studies show that walking for ten minutes after a meal can lower our blood sugar levels. Of course, it would be even better if you can jog, bike, have strength training, or do cardio exercises. Regardless of how you want to do it, moving more and sitting less is always beneficial and a great idea.
Maintenance meal plan for diabetics
Here are some meal ideas to help you follow your maintenance meal plan for diabetics so you can have healthy eating without sacrifice.
Breakfast – omelet with ham, broccoli, and cheddar and one big pear
Lunch – Spinach and strawberry salad, and chicken skillet
Dinner – Half a cup of cooked brown rice and chicken breasts with vegetables
Breakfast – oatmeal with berries
Lunch – chicken and beans stew
Dinner – Greek salad with edamame and sliced avocado
Breakfast – yogurt with berries, nuts, and seeds
Lunch – salad with green vegetables, bell pepper, and hummus
Dinner – Chili with beef and vegetables
Breakfast – omelet with eggs, onions, and peppers and a big apple
Lunch – Caesar salad
Dinner – potatoes with beans and salsa
Breakfast – unsalted almonds, celery, pepper, carrot, and hummus
Lunch – shrimp tacos and a big bowl of salad
Dinner – Pasta with cheddar and vegetables
Breakfast – boiled egg, whole-wheat toast, and guacamole
Lunch – Salad with vegetables and beans and unsalted almonds
Dinner – Salmon roasted with garlic butter, potatoes, and asparagus
Breakfast – yogurt with nuts, seeds, and fruits
Lunch – salad with lettuce, spinach, nuts, and beans
Dinner – baked egg in tomato sauce and kale, one slice of whole-wheat bread
The bottom line
Having diabetes means that you need to make some changes, and the first change is the diet. However, it can be healthy without sacrificing the dishes you enjoy. You just need to adjust them a little bit, have them occasionally, and in fewer portions.
When you reach your goal, and get used to the changes, the maintenance meal plan will be something that can help you maintain your health, eat nutritious and healthy food and feel great.