Diabetes can become a chronic health condition if not managed properly during the pre-diabetic stages.
Living with higher blood sugar levels can be a result of one’s inability to lead a life of optimum wellness, this can be due to conditions such as obesity or because of leading a sedentary lifestyle.
Diabetes is more than just a health condition that affects your body physically, living with diabetes in turn changes one’s dietary and lifestyle choices.
Preparing a nutritionally balanced diet while eliminating as many calories as possible can be a daunting task for any average joe.
If you are someone who has recently been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes, the prospect of giving up sugary goods for green veggies can be easily passed as a nightmare.
For people who cannot resist eating from fast food chains, the thought of preparing a nutritionally balanced low-calorie diet for diabetes is enough to make them break into sweats.
Meals and diet plans for diabetics are simple and nutritionally balanced with no or minimal amounts of calories.
The key to achieving a nutritionally balanced diet is ingredients like fruits, vegetables, and whole grains that keep you feeling full and healthy.
If you are someone who wants to prepare a meal plan for your diabetic needs and requirements, look no further.
Here is all you need to know about Meal Plans for Diabetics that will help you easily transition to a low-calorie diet.
Diabetic Friendly Meal Plan: Where to begin?
Curating a Diabetic-Friendly diet plan as a beginner can be a pretty perplexing task, especially when you do not know where you begin.
It can be quite difficult to develop a meal plan based on dietary restrictions like that of diabetic friendly diet. In fact, most people find it quite difficult to commit to such dietary changes and often.
The trick is to start off slow and slowly eliminate excess sugars and carbohydrates from your diet.
Here are some steps to follow to help you effortlessly follow a diabetic-friendly diet plan to maintain healthy blood sugar levels:
Proteins such as chicken, eggs, meat, fish, nuts, and even vegetarian protein are a great way of maintaining a nutritionally balanced diet.
In fact, proteins help maintain the blood sugar levels in the body by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates and glucose into the bloodstream.
Proteins also help increase the satiety in the body allowing you to feel fuller for longer periods of time.
Hence, switching to protein-rich food from carbohydrate foods can be a great way of maintaining your blood sugar levels.
Fibers are a carbohydrate that is not digested in the body as normal carbohydrates do, instead, they are broken down slowly in the body just like proteins to prevent the blood sugar levels from rising.
You can incorporate high-fiber foods such as lentils, vegetables, fruits, nuts, whole grains, and beans to maintain a diabetic-friendly diet.
3. Cut Back on excess sugar
Avoiding sugar and high-calorie foods as well as beverages is a great way of maintaining a clean bill of health as a diabetic.
It is best to refrain from consuming soft drinks or fruit concentrate juices that are laden with copious amounts of sugar.
Instead, you can switch to unsweetened beverages or zero-calorie drinks such as tea, coffee, water, lime water, cucumber water, etc to energize your day and stay hydrated.
4. Weight Loss
According to an article published by the Diabetic Medicine journal, people who are overweight or obese can benefit significantly from losing about 5 to 10% of their body fat to maintain a healthy blood sugar level.
5. Daily Exercise
The American Diabetes Association noted that daily exercise comprising light cardio exercises such as jogging, running, cycling, and strength training is a great way of lowering blood sugar levels.
In fact, daily exercise will allow you to treat your body like a temple and make you aware of healthy food consumption.
Can a Healthy Meal Plan actually Manage Diabetes?
Type 2 diabetes is a chronic health condition caused by insulin resistance where the body is unable to effectively use the hormone to convert glucose into energy, instead, the glucose in the bloodstream gets accumulated leading to increased blood sugar levels.
While eating a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet is important for all individuals, it is imperative for people with diabetes.
A healthy meal plan as a diabetic helps you control your glucose and sugar levels in the body, promotes a healthy weight, and prevents the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, or high cholesterol.
What Foods can you Consume as a Diabetic?
Starting a Meal Plan for your diabetic needs and requirements is more than just eliminating excess carbohydrates, sugars, and calories.
It is best to integrate food items that help regulate and stabilize healthy blood sugar levels while simultaneously promoting a nutritionally balanced diet.
Here is a list of food and beverage items you can enjoy during a diabetic-friendly meal plan:
Dietary fibers also referred to as roughage and bulk are parts of plant foods that cannot be absorbed or digested by the body.
Dietary fibers help facilitate the digestion process and also contribute significantly to stabilizing blood sugar levels.
- Whole grains
2. Healthy Carbohydrates:
During the digestion process your simple carbohydrates are broken down into complex carbohydrates (glucose) that eventually lead to a rise in blood sugar levels.
You can consume the following healthy carbohydrate food items that can help regulate your blood sugar levels:
- Lentils, Beans, Legumes, Peas Whole Grains such as buckwheat, wheat, oats, and quinoa
- Low-fat dairy-based products
3. Healthy Fats:
Food items assimilating polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats are highly beneficial for regulating healthy cholesterol levels. These foods include:
- Canola oil, Olive oil, and peanuts oil
Fish containing Omega 3 Fatty Acids are highly beneficial for lowering cholesterol levels and regulating blood sugar levels.
Heart-healthy fish such as sardines, artichokes, and salmon are a great addition to your new Diabetic Meal Plan.
It is also important to remember that one must avoid fried fish with high levels of mercury such as mackerel.
Foods to be avoided on a Diabetic-Friendly Diet:
Having type 2 diabetes can exponentially increase the chances of one developing chronic heart disease.
Here is a list of foods that must avoid at all costs to maintain a healthy, nutritionally balanced meal plan for diabetes:
1. Saturated Fats:
Saturated fats are notorious for raising your cholesterol levels and can be found in animal-derived fat proteins.
Saturated fats can be found in food items such as bacon, high-fat dairy products, sausages, ice creams, chicken skin, beef, hotdogs, etc.
Apart from animal-derived saturated fats, one must also restrict their coconut oil consumption, as coconut oil is also rich in saturated fats.
Cholesterol is a naturally occurring waxy substance produced by the liver that is present in all the cells in the body.
However, you can also find high-cholesterol content in food sources such as high-fat animal proteins, egg yolks, and other meats.
3. Trans Fats:
Trans fats are also referred to as hydrogenated fats or partially hydrogenated oils that start off as a liquid and later solidify.
Hence it is recommended to avoid processed foods containing trans such as baked goods, fast food, chips, shortenings, as well as stick margarine.
While avoiding sugar is imperative for regulating blood sugar levels, however, one should also keep a vigilant eye on their sodium intake.
In fact, eating fewer amounts of sodium has been indicated to lower the risk of developing high blood pressure.
It is recommended to consume less than 2,300 milligrams of sodium per day to maintain a clean bill of health.
Creating your own meal plan for diabetes:
Most people consider a healthy and nutritionally balanced diet to be tasteless and full of leafy vegetables, however, this is far from reality.
Curating a meal plan with dietary restrictions like that of diabetes can be pretty perplexing for beginners.
Who says meal plans for diabetes are boring and tasteless? Here is a list of some scrumptious meals of the day that cater to your diabetic needs and requirements to regulate your blood sugar levels:
It is important to note these are just sample foods you can integrate into your diet with appropriate portions.
During breakfast, it is best to incorporate foods that are high-fiber, rich in proteins, and have healthy fats.
Here is a list of foods encompassing the three main components that can be integrated to make a balanced breakfast:
- Whole grain cereals
- Whole Grain Bread, Muffin, or Beagle
- Whole grain waffles or pancakes
- An egg omelet with two egg whites and one whole egg. (Serve it with fresh vegetables on the side such as tomatoes, broccoli, and spinach)
- Low-fat, soy milk, skim milk
- Low-fat or non-fat yogurt
- Extra virgin olive oil for cooking
- Canola oil for pancakes, muffins, beagles, and waffles
For lunch, you can whip up a nice healthy sandwich or a tortilla wrap integrating lean proteins:
- Turkey or skinless chicken
- Lean beef or pork
- Low-fat or skimmed milk cheese
- Light mayonnaise and vinaigrette
If you are interested in a lunch with beans you can integrate the following ingredients:
- Beans with whole grain tortilla
- Hummus with whole grain bread and extra virgin olive oil
- Bean stew
- Vegetarian or lean meat chili
For salad lovers or people who looking for losing a couple of extra pounds:
- Dark green lettuce
- Fresh and clean vegetables
- Beans, nuts, avocados
- Lean meats or healthy fish
- Dressing made with olive oil or canola oil
Just like breakfast, during dinner, you must strike a healthy balance between high fiber, lean low-fat proteins, and healthy fats.
Here are some ingredients you can incorporate into your meal plan to achieve the desired results:
- Whole grain or whole wheat bread, pita bread, or whole grain tortilla
- Cooked grains such as beans, rice, lentils, quinoa, and amaranth
- Dark green lettuce for a side salad
- Heart health grilled or baked fish
- Skinless chicken
- Lean beef or pork
- Extra virgin olive oil or canola oil
- Avocados and olives
- Nuts as a side dish
- Frozen fruits for a refreshing treat
- Plain popcorn
- Apples with peanut butter and almonds
- Cucumber slices with hummus