Diabetes is one of the most active and most talked about even, chronic noncommunicable diseases in the world. When you have diabetes it means your blood sugar levels are high and your body is not producing nearly enough insulin, it could also mean that the body is not capable of utilizing the insulin being produced. Insulin is a cofactor responsible for converting blood sugar (glucose) into energy. Excess blood sugar can cause other health conditions such as cardiovascular diseases, kidney disease, etc.
Because there isn’t a cure for diabetes just yet, it is pertinent that if diagnosed with the disease you make certain lifestyle adjustments or changes to increase your chances of surviving any complications. Oftentimes these changes will be most evident in your food intake as you may be advised to eat fewer carbs and refrain from eating foods that can increase your blood sugar levels. For this reason, some people find it difficult to choose foods to include in their diets or meal plan.
Speaking of diets and meal plans and as already stated, diabetic patients are required to sometimes follow strict diet routines to monitor the effects of their food intake on their health. This goes to show just how important the food we eat is to our general well-being. Most diabetic patients will be required to monitor their body’s response to certain foods until they can come up with more specific nutritional plans tailored to meet their health goals. This will also see them running a series of blood tests from time to time to check their sugar levels making sure that it is stable.
While it is true that you may be required to follow through with strict diet or meal routines and plans it doesn’t always have to be so. The earlier you can find what meals work for you and your body the better and more creative you can become in picking your food options.
Below are six healthy meal ideas which you can incorporate in your meal planning if you have been diagnosed with diabetes;
Foods Rich in Fiber:
Think of your fiber as healthy carbs, they are mostly identified as non-digestible plant-based foods rich often referred to as carbohydrates. Dietary Fiber is known for its role in aiding digestion and blood sugar regulation. A good way to incorporate fiber into your meals is to invest in foods such as oats, chia seeds, almonds, fresh berries, whole wheat bread, kidney beans, potatoes, mushrooms, brown rice, wheat, Akwa (breadfruit), spinach, tiger nuts, dates, corn, etc.
Protein is a really important nutrient that plays a role in so many body processes such as tissue repair, hormone functions, muscle building, cell maintenance, and even blood sugar regulation. Lean proteins refer to foods in the protein category which have less cholesterol and fat, this means that you are less likely to pack on too many calories from eating a lean protein serving. Lean protein sources to incorporate in your diet include white chicken or turkey, oysters, shrimps, salmon, egg whites, kidney beans, Greek yogurt, peas, etc.
The American Diabetes Association recommends including more monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats as they mostly consist of Omega-3 and Omega-6 Fatty acids known to lower the risk of heart diseases and aid a balanced diet. Food sources include; Avocado, Canola oil, Nuts like almonds, cashews, peanuts, olive oil and olives, peanut butter and peanut oil, eggs, walnuts, oily fish such as salmon, sardines, herring, mackerel, tuna, etc.
Healthy Unsweetened Drinks:
Living with Diabetes doesn’t have to be boring, you can have some healthy drinks albeit you’d be needing to commit to taking more healthy if possible homemade drinks such as fruit and vegetable smoothies and unsweetened yogurt. You can however get creative and include more natural and fun recipes for your consumption. Drink lots of water too!
Vegetables provide you with more nutrients and fewer calories and carbs. They are rich in vitamins, minerals, phytochemicals, and even fiber all of which have amazing benefits to the body. As a general rule, diabetic patients need to consume more non-starchy vegetables for the fact that they contain fewer calories and more water content. Non-starchy vegetable sources include the following, broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, asparagus, Brussels, lettuce, eggplant, cucumber, celery, cabbage, kale, tomatoes, pepper, okra, onions, etc.