Go to Amazon.com and look for a food plan book (not a cook book) for diabetics. That will help you immensely with the ins and outs of foods. After a while this whole food plan thing becomes kind of like a crossword puzzle. You learn to intersect your proteins, fats and carbs with your fiber, vitamins and minerals, your likes with your needs and your 'gotta haves' with your 'don't much like but should eat'. It does become easier and you will find your way. Just take it one meal at a time.
First and foremost the eating plan for a diabetic should cover your nutritional needs while trying to keep the blood glucose level in a moderate range without any big spikes or dramatic lows. This is accomplished by a variety of foods and the mechanics of digestion. It is also necessary to space your food intake over intervals of once every 3 or 4 hours so you don’t become famished. Smaller meals spaced with nutritious snacks keeps your sugar level, your mind clear, your energy level up and helps your meds work their best.
Foods fall into the categories of protein, fat and carbohydrate. What they are is determined by their makeup. Milk is treated as a carbohydrate because the lactose in it is high enough to affect blood sugar even though it contains protein. Nuts are treated as fats even though they contain protein. Fats slow stomach emptying time and are necessary for the absorption of the fat soluble vitamins, A, D, E and K. Nobody can learn all this stuff overnight. This is why you need a food plan book to help you understand where foods are placed in each category.
For breakfast 1/2 cup of old fashioned oatmeal (the chunky kind) with some peanut butter (1 TBS.) will hold you for about
four hours. You can sprinkle some cinnamon and splenda over it to help level out the blood sugar. Add a whole orange to this (no juice) or 1/2 banana, 1/2 a glass of skim milk and you are up and running.
Another breakfast could be a scrambled egg rolled up in a flour tortilla (warmed in the microwave) with a sprinkle of cheese and some diced green peppers or salsa. Cook the egg in olive oil for your fat and you are good to go. Don't neglect your milk for calcium and vitamin D levels since those both help with diabetes.
Whole grains take longer for the body to digest and so spread out the carb absorption into the blood stream over time. Refined grains (white bread, pasta) present the carbs in a 'naked' state to the intestines and are very quickly absorbed leading to spikes in the blood sugar. Whole grain bread with lots of seeds and chunks of stuff in it is best for diabetics. Keep it in the freezer so it doesn't go bad on you because you will only be eating about
one or two slices a day. For other starches I cook up big pots of barley, brown rice and bulgur wheat seasoned with a little bouillon and garlic. It keeps in the fridge for about
a week and I can serve myself 1/2 cup with a meal and microwave it while the other food cooks. Real pasta should be limited but there are some ways to 'extend' it. I make spaghetti squash in the microwave and then mix it with my real spaghetti for myself. My family is even starting to do this. You get the rich sauce and meat balls, some of the real pasta and the healthier squash that adds a new texture to the dish.
Include some protein (a serving of meat should be about
the size of your palm), lots of veggies and about
1/2 cup of starch at your big meal. Proteins include lean meats, (chicken breast is my staple) fish, beef, lean pork and hams as well as cheese and cottage cheese. Beans & lentils do double duty as a carb and a protein at the same meal. I often buy chicken breast or pork loin in bulk, cut it into serving sizes, freeze on a
cookie sheet and then pack in the freezer in zip lock bags. This way I can remove as many portions as needed at a meal or just fix one for myself if the guys are having pizza or some outrageous takeout.
The best veggies include spinach, broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, romaine lettuce, mushrooms, green peppers, onions, summer squashes (zucchini, spaghetti and yellow), small (1/2 cup) servings of winter squashes and pumpkin. Ways to use more veggies include stir frying your food, making big chef's salads, snacking on raw veggies, and including them in wraps. I don't buy iceberg lettuce because it has zilch food value and substitute kale, mustard greens, romaine and raw spinach in salads.
Fruits should be eaten in the whole state and fresh is better than canned. Vitamin C fruits like strawberries, oranges and melons are great. 1/2 cup is a serving. If you are on cholesterol lowering meds then grapefruit should not be eaten because of a possible fatal drug interaction
. Apples are high in Malic Acid and help with the glucose to energy reaction in the cells. When you buy fruits get the medium to small ones or if they are huge eat half at a meal and save the other half for a snack.
I’ll add more to this post when I have time and would appreciate all your input about
how you eat well and healthy. For me, all things in moderation is the key, not eating ‘special’ foods. Hope this helps somebody.
Post Edited (Jeannie143) : 12/28/2006 12:51:11 PM (GMT-7)