If you have diabetes, it’s important to pay attention to what you eat. This can be challenging when you’re trying to lose weight or manage your blood sugar levels, but there are ways that everyone can make sustaining healthy eating habits easier—and even enjoy them! Here are some simple steps for creating a meal plan that will empower you:
Keep an eye on the amount you’re eating
Measure your portions, calories, carbohydrates, and fat in a way that you can see easily.
- Use a measuring cup to measure the amount of liquid in the container. For example, if there are two cups of ice cream left in a tub and you add more water to make three cups total, then use this method to measure how much ice cream is left:
- Fill half your cup with water
- Drop one tablespoonful of sugar into it (this will dissolve quickly).
- Spoon some ice cream into the other half of your cup
Eat regular meals
Eat at least three meals a day.
- Breakfast: This meal is your first opportunity to fuel up with glucose, providing you with energy that will help you get through the morning without crashing later on. It’s also important to eat breakfast because it gives you time to digest your food before consuming more calories in the next few hours.
- Lunch: Your second meal of the day should provide long-lasting energy for when lunchtime rolls around and make it easier for you to resist snacking on unhealthy foods throughout the afternoon. If possible, try not eating anything too heavy during this stage either—you want something light enough so as not to cause stress in your body if needed later on.
- Dinner: Your last meal of the day should ideally be something that provides you with long-lasting energy so you can get through the night without crashing.
Keep saturated fat to a minimum
Saturated fats are found in animal products, such as meat and cheese. It can raise your cholesterol levels, which increases your risk of heart disease. You should limit your intake of saturated fat to less than 10% of your total calories each day.
Drink plenty of water every day
- Drink plenty of water every day.
- Drink water before meals to fill your stomach, and then drink more during the meal to help keep you full.
- After eating, drink more water to help with digestion.
- If you’re thirsty and want something other than plain old H2O (like a fancy soda), reach for one of these healthy options instead: Diet Coke Zero Sugar; seltzer with lemon or lime juice; sparkling water with stevia extract (or any other flavor).
Cut down on sugar and empty calories
Cutting down on sugar and empty calories is a great way to make sure you’re eating healthy foods.
Sugar can cause weight gain and diabetes, as well as cavities, heart disease, and cancer. If you want to learn more about how to cut down on sugar in your diet check out this article from Everyday Health!
Find out how many carbs you can have daily
The amount of carbs you can have daily depends on your weight, age, and activity level. For example, if you’re a woman who weighs 150 pounds and has a sedentary job with no exercise plan, it’s best to limit yourself to 150 grams (or about 6 ounces) of carbs per day. If you want more flexibility in how much carbohydrate-rich foods are part of your meal plan, try calculating how many grams of carbohydrates fit into each serving size and dividing that number by six—the recommended number for adults—to determine how many servings there will be in each meal.
If you have type 2 diabetes or are overweight or obese:
- Your carb intake needs could be higher than those listed above; however, it would still be best not to exceed 250 grams per day (about 10 oz).
Know what foods contain carbohydrates
Carbohydrates are the body’s main source of energy. They come in two types: simple and complex. Simple carbohydrates include sugars, such as those in fruit or milk; while complex carbs include starches such as potatoes, wheat products, and pasta.
Carbohydrates break down into glucose (a type of simple carbohydrate), which is used by your cells to produce energy. Glucose can also be stored in your muscles as glycogen for later use if needed when you exercise or do other things that require lots of energy (like running around like crazy).
Choose whole-grain bread and cereals, and eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
Whole grains are a good source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals. They’re also low in fat, sodium, and cholesterol. Whole-grain bread is higher in fiber than white bread because it contains more seeds or bran (a type of fiber). If you want to eat fewer carbohydrates while still getting all the benefits from whole grains, choose 100% whole wheat bread instead of white flour varieties such as Wonder White™ or Yeast Bread™; this will increase your iron intake without increasing the amount of sugar contained in your diet!
If you’d like to add some variety to your meal plan but aren’t sure where to start shopping for foods that fit into these categories then read on:
The most important thing is to take your health into your own hands. You might be surprised by how easy it is to create a meal plan that will help you manage diabetes and keep you healthy.