Getting into a routine
Eating at regular hours is essential when you have diabetes. It can keep your blood sugar, appetite, and waistline in check. Plus, skipping meals or eating at irregular times may cause unhealthy highs or lows in your blood sugar level, which you want to avoid.
Eating well doesn’t have to eat into your time
Some people fear that having to plan their meals will be time-consuming and complicated. It may be in the beginning when you’re faced with all the changes you’ll have to make, but in working with your dietitian, you can develop an eating plan that fits your food preferences, schedule, and lifestyle. Although everyone’s plan will be different, here are a few basics:
Eat three meals a day
This should include breakfast, lunch, and dinner. Eating a variety of healthy foods and controlling your portions are important too.
What should be the basis of your diet? Lots of low-GI foods, such as fruits and vegetables, which are nutrient-rich. Other good choices include whole-grain bread and cereals, brown rice, and beans. Not only will they give you energy, but they also contain fibre, which helps you feel full longer. Choose smaller amounts of leaner meats and alternatives, such as poultry, fish, and eggs. Choose low-fat dairy products more often.
In today’s busy world, many of us eat without thinking about it, grabbing a bite to eat in the car or while checking our emails, or even watching TV. But being mindful of how and what you eat is really important when it comes to managing your diabetes and keeping your weight down.
Simply put, mindful eating is about paying attention to what you’re eating — the look, the taste, the smells, the textures of food. But it goes beyond that. It’s also being aware of your hunger cues and any issues or guilt you may have around food, and figuring out whether you’re eating out of hunger or for emotional reasons.
How do you practice mindful eating? Slow down for starters. Then savour each bite, chewing thoroughly. This gives your brain time to register satiety or fullness. It also gives your body a chance to digest the food you’re consuming.
Like any new habit, learning to eat mindfully can take a bit of work in the beginning. But once you get in the habit, it can help you steer towards healthier foods and heighten the pleasure of each and every bite.
Other healthy meal planning ideas include:
- The best diet for people with diabetes incorporates many high-fibre foods, such as whole-grain breads, barley, bulgur, or lentils, to keep you fuller longer. But keep in mind that you still have to watch portion size with foods. The amount you eat also affects your blood sugar levels — and your waistline.
- Limit sweets like regular soda, desserts, sugar, jams, and honey.
- Watch out for hidden sugars in packaged foods and drinks. Ingredient labels are ordered from highest to lowest quantity, so limit products listing sugar in the top few spots. Also, note that there are many different names for sugar listed on food labels. These include sucrose, high-fructose corn syrup, dextrose, and rice syrup, among others.
- Choose water over regular soda and fruit drinks or juices, which are high in sugar.
- Consider Glucerna® nutritional drinks to replace a light meal and Glucerna® bars as a snack. They are formulated with slowly digested carbohydrates that trigger a smaller blood sugar spike‡§. They are also high in protein and contain vitamins and minerals to help meet your nutritional needs.
‡ Compared to a standard nutritional drink.
§ Only applies to Glucerna® nutritional drinks.