Meal planing and Diabetes
Until the day that a dessert arrives that is both super delicious and super nutritious, we must just make do with good old fashioned healthy food to keep our nutritional needs going. This is no easy task, especially for us Diabetics, who are trying to make a meal plan to suite our insulin needs or requirements.
There isn’t one meal plan that will work for all diabetics and we need to know what to eat, how much of it to eat and when to eat it but we do learn over time. I am still learning everyday. When in doubt go see a registered dietitian to assist you create your perfect meal plan, just like I did. I will still post about that.
So here are a few tips to make life a little easier to put together a healthy meal plan.
Always Count Those Carbs
Calculating the carbohydrates for each item on your plate will give you a full carb count.
Imagine you are making breakfast, and you want Flapjacks. You check the nutrition label on the flapjack packet to see how many carbs there are in one single pancake after you have mixed all the ingredients together. And for the sake of this example, each pancake has 15 g of carbs, you will need to start deciding on a few things. How many pancakes are you going to have? What are you going to top them with? What will you eat on the side? It’s like a numbers game in a diabetics head. Every meal is a maths equation.
As soon as you know what you want to eat, you can calculate how many carbs there are and how much insulin you will need. From here you can make some healthy substitutions and rather opt for a lower insulin amount. For example, you can choose a sugar-free syrup, bacon and cheese, instead of eating a full stack of pancakes with sugar, syrup and bananas.
DON’T FORGET – Carbs are everywhere! Dressings and sauces to name a few. You think you’re eating a healthy meal loaded with veggies until you realize that the gravy is loaded with carbs too. Then when you look again your blood glucose has shot up much higher than you expected.
Don’t rule out any sauce and always check the labels. Some ketchup’s have 3 g per 15 ml of carbs. Shocking I know!
If you try and keep your carbs to 15 g of carbs per meal (breakfast, lunch and dinner) then you should only need roughly 2 units of fast acting insulin. I try to stick to this most of the time as I am generally a low carb person.
This means planning every meal and not just winging it and that includes breakfast, lunch and dinner. Don’t forget about your snacks. Insulin, is a massive part of making sure your blood sugar doesn’t dip too low or spike too high, but a good and well planned diabetes diet is the key.
Planning your meals with diabetes is about making choices, it’s balancing act between carbohydrates, protein and fat and choosing foods that aid your health and life goals. Once you have a plan that works for you. Try your best to actually stick to it. I mean, you are putting in the hard work so don’t let it be in vain. Remember the safety rules for meal prepping.
Take time out on a specific day of the week and make yourself a little meal schedule for three to four days or even the whole week if you can. You are going have chicken on Monday and lamb on Tuesday, you get where I am going with this? Jot down what you will need to buy and make your meals, pre-pack them and won’t be left in a situation where you have to buy junk food.
Put your meal plan up on the fridge to remind yourself that you have a goal and that goal is great blood sugars!!
Be Careful of Snacks
Choose snacks that are nutritious options like cucumbers or vegetables.
For example 1/2 a cup of cucumber, cherry tomatoes and carrots with either 2 tablespoons of cottage cheese or 30 g Gouda cheese or 1 boiled egg. This is a healthy snack and so easy and quick to prepare. Boil a couple of eggs at a time and this way you save time. I slice my cucumbers the night before .
Remember that fruits are still loaded with sugar and you might think they are the best option for a snack but I would rather not.
I hope this blog post has helped you in some small way and if you have anything to add please leave a comment!!