Before you dive into this blog post, let's help you get the fast track to what you are looking for. If you're looking for what you should eat as a diabetic and learn all the info that goes along with that, read from the top down.
However, if you're concerned about your health and are looking for a quick solution and want a done-for-you meal plan that is ready to go, head to the bottom of this post and you'll find just that. We've created a meal plan that has been benefitting countless diabetics.
Listen to this testimonial from one of our customers:
"In just 2 weeks of eating Pure Plates Meals I lost 21 pounds, lowered my blood cholesterol from 8 to 5.7. My blood sugar went down to 120 and as a result my doctors took me off my blood sugar medication!" Ron - Belleville
So with that being said, let's get started!
If you, or someone you love, has been diagnosed with diabetes type 2 - you’ve probably been doing a great deal of reading and research. When you have this type of diabetes, your diet is a powerful weapon; for many, a diabetic meal plan is actually a first line form of defense against the disease. In this article, let’s go over how a diabetic meal plan can help, what exactly it is, and how you can create and follow the right meal plan for you. Your meal plan should be comprised of three key elements:
- What you eat
- How much you eat
- And when you eat
What is a Diabetic Meal Plan?
A diabetic meal plan is, in a nutshell, a daily routine of eating certain foods to manage diabetes type 2. There isn’t one-size-fits-all meal plan that will work for everyone: it depends upon a number of different factors including lifestyle, weight, and height.
For folks who are overweight or obese, a diet that results in weight-loss may be the main focus at first. Ideally, a diabetic meal plan should be low in sugar and refined carbohydrates -- and high in dietary fiber (with extra emphasis on soluble fiber, which is rich in beans, certain fruits and veggies, and seeds).
Refined carbohydrates, to clarify, are sugars that don’t exist naturally (aka their source isn’t a whole food). So: sugar, store-purchased fruit juices (usually modified), flour (of all kinds), instant grains (instant rice, white rice, quick oatmeal), and refined starches (modified food starch, corn starch, potato starches), are all examples of refined carbohydrates. Smaller meals, when eaten more frequently throughout the day, are often a staple of a diabetic meal plan.
Ultimately, you’ll need to work with a nutritionist or dietician to create the right plan for you: this article contains an overview along with some basic guidelines on creating a diabetic meal plan that works to keep you healthy.
How Does a Diabetic Meal Plan Work?
Diabetic meal plans focus on reducing refined carbohydrate intake for one reason: refined carbs have a huge impact on blood sugar. The balance between the carbohydrates you eat, and the insulin levels in your body, directly contributes to your blood glucose. When you eat foods with carbohydrates, your digestive system turns them into sugar, elevating your blood sugar levels. As your blood sugar levels rise, your pancreas is tasked with making insulin. Diabetes type 2 doesn’t happen overnight: it’s the result of insulin resistance that develops over a number of years of your body dealing with both elevated blood sugar levels and insulin production.
Feeding your body less refined carbohydrates is a good thing: you directly reduce the stress on your body. You aren’t handing your digestive system more sugar to deal with -- which is key when you’re insulin resistant.
High-fiber diets work because fiber (particularly soluble fiber) slows down the absorption of blood sugar in your body...which is exactly what you want to achieve when you have diabetes type 2: diets rich in fiber (they tend to be low in carbohydrates naturally) have shown great promise in bringing about positive outcomes for diabetes type 2.
If your main focus is losing weight right now, take note: diets focusing on weight-loss and diets that remove refined carbohydrates aren’t mutually exclusive. It is possible for someone with diabetes type 2 to lose weight while reducing the amount of refined carbohydrates consumed .
Create a Diabetic Meal Plan: Focus on Whole Foods
Whole foods, which are foods that haven’t been processed or refined: whole grains, legumes (beans), fruits, and vegetables are all whole foods. When you’re creating a diabetic meal plan, try to incorporate as many whole foods into your diet as possible: whole foods are naturally lower in the kinds of carbohydrates and sugars that tax your digestive system.
Create a Diabetic Meal Plan: When it Comes to Carbohydrates, Be Picky
When it comes to carbohydrates, however, not all carbs are created equal. Simple carbohydrates (white bread, baked goods, starches) get metabolized faster -- which can lead to high blood glucose. Complex carbohydrates (beans, nuts, vegetables, and whole grains) take their time, giving you a steady supply of energy and fiber as you digest.
In creating your diabetic meal plan, be picky. Choose complex carbohydrates. When picking grains, choose whole foods and whole grains that haven’t been refined (broccoli, quinoa). We all need some level of carbohydrates in order to get through our day...we just don’t need the ones that put stress on our bodies.
Create a Diabetic Meal Plan: The Plate Method
If you want to make planning out diabetic meals more simple, the plate method might be for you. So...what is the plate method for diabetes? It’s a hack that makes creating diabetes-friendly meals easier -- and it’s a great way to get a jumpstart on giving your body what it needs. Basically, you visualize your plate before you prepare your meal. Divide your plate, mentally, into into halves. One half of your plate will be filled with vegetables. The other half with be divided into two: starch and protein.
Planning your meals and portions based on how they will fill a plate is a powerful, but simple, way to insure you’re getting the food you need to stay healthy.
Create a Diabetic Meal Plan: Watch Your Caloric Intake
How much you should be eating depends on several factors -- diabetic or not: what you currently weight, your daily exercise levels, what your weight loss goals are, and your size/shape. The more food you eat, and how fast you eat it, will impact your blood sugar levels. It’s important that you consume the correct amount of calories based on the factors above. Working with your medical team, you should be able to arrive at the amount of calories per day that are healthiest for your body and goals.
Bottom line? Follow the plan, and caloric guidelines, you develop with your dietician or nutritionist. Stay active, test your blood sugar as often as you can, and pay close attention to the sugar and carbohydrates you consume. Prepare whole food based-meals, or find a meal service that does, like ours: while we’re based in St. Louis, MO there may be a meal planning service that can meet your needs in your area (your nutrition team may have information they can pass on to you).
Diabetic Meal Plan: How We Can Help You TODAY
Through out this article we mentioned having a nutritionist to help you, and many of you think, "Well I don't have a nutritionist?" Truth is, most people don't, but at Pure Plates we do! The nutritionists helped us design both of our staple meal plans (both Diabetic Friendly), The Fresh Start 30 and the 5 Day Revive. Whether you are interested in a long term 30 day meal plan, or just a 5 Day plan to get you kick started, both plans have a wide range of meals and snacks and ALL of them are helpful for anyone with a diabetic condition.
The main difference between the two is this: The 5 Day plan is already done for you, all you have to do is order it and either pick it up or have it delivered to your door (If you live in the St. Louis Metro Area). For the 30 day plan, we ask you to have a free consultation with our nutritionist so she can help design your plan based upon what you like and also to find out if you have any dietary restrictions we would need to take into account before laying out your 30 day plan. Once that plan is established, just like the 5 day plan, you will simply pick up or have your meals delivered fresh and prepared every 5 days. No cooking or prepping like the big meals services out there, we literally have everything done for you, all you have to do is heat and eat!
So if you'd like to get started, simply call us at (636)779-3555 or go to one of the links above to get one of our plans.
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Hannah Ash, Journalist and Blog Strategist, Nutrition Fanatic
JoHannah Ash first discovered the transformative power of nutrition after struggling to shed post-baby weight: today, she is 100% committed to continuously learning about disease prevention, weight loss, and healthy living through the foods we eat. She spent a decade living in Burlington, Vermont, surrounded by pioneers in the 'local foods' and 'farm-to-table' movements -- and is proud to have been one of the first people to purchase (and wear) one of the now-famous 'Eat More Kale' shirts. When it comes to meal planning for her family, her philosophy can be summed up in three words: "Easy. Pure. Tasty."