Meal Planning and Diabetes
The relationship between nutrition and diabetes is an important one. Which is why structure, diet, and healthy eating are necessary.
You know how to count your carbohydrates. And, you know that healthy eating decisions are a must. But, how do you take that knowledge and put it into action?
Try meal planning.
What Is Meal Planning?
It’s simply deciding meals in advance for an entire week.
A meal plan is your guide to when, what, and how much you should eat every meal. All while keeping your blood sugar levels in target range.
Eating three scheduled meals a day and one to two snacks keeps blood sugar levels stable1.
The 4 Types of Meal Prep
Meal prepping is all about finding what works best for you. And that starts with the method.
The four methods of meal prep include1:
- Make-ahead meals – Full meals cooked ahead of time that you refrigerate and reheat.
- Batch cooking – Cooking a large amount of one recipe and portioning it out into servings. The portions are kept frozen and eaten over the next few months.
- Individually portioned meals – Preparing fresh meals and splitting them into small portions. These are refrigerated and eaten over the next few days.
- Ready-to-cook ingredients – Prepping ingredients for meals ahead of time. This makes for spending less time in the kitchen.
A Diabetes-Safe Plan
Before meal planning, reach out to your dietitian to ensure proper nutrition.
When it comes to diabetes, there are certain foods to keep in mind. Eating protein — chicken, eggs, fish, or vegetarian proteins — helps improve your blood sugar. As does fiber. So, make sure you’re getting your whole grains, fruits, and veggies in.2
Be conscious of these foods as you start planning out your meals each night.
Try to eat around the same time every day. And, eating three scheduled meals a day with one to two snacks in between. This all helps keep blood sugar levels stable3.
How To Plan Meals
After you pick the method and start thinking of foods, you’re ready to begin.
Make a list of the mealtimes you need to prepare for. From there, think of one or two meals for each mealtime that week. Then, write a grocery list of the ingredients. Be sure to add variety to your meals. This will prevent boredom and provide a diverse selection of nutrients.
Benefits of Planning
Meal planning saves time — thanks to specific grocery lists and ingredient prep. It also saves you money. You’re spending less on unnecessary items. And, you’re wasting less food by following recipes.
But, more importantly, meal prepping saves your health.
Your healthy eating plan helps you make healthier decisions. It starts with portion sizes and not overeating. Which helps you maintain or lose weight. And, it keeps you at a lower risk of hyperglycemia.
With the food made ahead of time, you’re less likely to impulsively eat out. And, having a schedule to rely on you can maintain stable blood sugar levels.