Whether you have Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes, controlling your diet is a big part of controlling your blood sugar and your insulin.
While you may think you can’t live without sugar and other foods that have given you comfort in the past, you’ll be amazed as you add in a whole new crop of foods that taste good and make you feel better too.
Whenever you make big changes, though, you need help. First, you have to break old habits that don’t serve you. Then you have to develop new habits that increase your health and well-being. That may mean a bit more organizing and planning when it comes to meal times.
To keep your diabetes in check, you won’t be able to just grab a candy bar from the nearest store every time you feel hungry. Or roll up to the fast-food joint to grab dinner after a busy day.
Kimberly Bolling, MD, is an expert internist who treats diabetes in her Bowie, Maryland, office. But she also wants to help you succeed in changing the way you eat so you can feel both satisfied and healthy.
She and our team are here to offer you support every step of the way. That’s why we’ve provided this brief guide for planning and executing yummy meals that keep your blood sugar low whether you’re at home or in a restaurant.
Ditch the nonfoods
You may start to feel a little better about eliminating certain types of comfort foods from your diet when you realize they don’t provide much (if any) nourishment and also cause inflammation that can worsen diabetes and increase your risks for other diseases.
Here are the things you should immediately give the boot:
- Any kind of corn syrup
- Trans fats
- Processed meats
- Fast food
- Refined grains
While that may seem to leave you with little, you actually have plenty left to choose from. Take a moment to be inspired.
Focus on fresh
Circle your grocery cart along the perimeter of the store, which is where all the fresh food is stored. Avoid the aisles with boxes and bags of addictive, nutrient-poor junk food. Fill your cart with:
- Low-glycemic fruits
- Complex carbs (i.e., green beans, yams, and sweet potatoes)
- Pastured meats and poultry
- Pastured eggs
- Fresh and frozen seafood and fish
- Extra virgin olive oil
- Whole grains
- Nuts and seeds
Even if you haven’t cooked for yourself before, you can whip up meals with protein, veggies and complex carbs on a single pan you pop in the oven. Salads, omelets, and stir fries can give all the nutrition you need in just 20-30 minutes.
Be sure to include protein and vegetables in every meal. Your veggies should take up half your plate! Add a little complex carbs and a small serving of fruit too.
Luckily, the American Diabetes Association has made it easy to plan your meals by providing you a wide variety of recipes, along with prep time and ingredient lists on their Diabetes Food Hub.
Many of the meals can be doubled or tripled so you and your family can use leftovers for lunches or for meals later in the week. Here’s just a sample:
- Fruit and almond smoothie
- Double-duty banana pancakes
- Breakfast egg and ham burrito
- Easy egg salad
- Veggie and chicken pasta salad
- Lentil stew
- Quinoa salad
- Mediterranean roll-ups
- Shrimp saganaki
- Oven-fried chicken
- Beef stroganoff
- Oven-baked chicken taquitos
Dessert (yes! There are satisfying sugar-free desserts!)
- Banana chocolate “ice cream”
- Blueberry yogurt lemon bars
- Mini peach crisps
- Rice pudding
You may need to stock up on some new ingredients, such as stevia for sweetening and broths for flavor, but the extra effort will be worth it. Not only will you feel better, but switching to more nourishing foods actually helps you lose weight too.
But don’t forget to exercise! Diet and activity are both important to control your diabetes.
If you’re wondering how to transition from your normal diet to your new, healthy diet, call your diabetes team at 301-352-0090 for a consultation in our Bowie, Maryland, office today. You can also request an appointment online.