Do you want to make your own diabetes-friendly meals for lunch? Read on to learn some important nutritional reminders that you should keep in mind.
Meal planning and preparation can sound overwhelming, especially if you lead a busy life. However, if you want to better manage your Type 2 diabetes, meal-prepping lunches can help you do so.
The key to managing Type 2 diabetes mellitus (DM) is to maintain blood sugar levels through both medical and nutritional interventions. However, many people who live with Type 2 DM find planning and preparing their meals too tedious, and therefore not worthwhile.
While planning, cooking, and packing meals may seem overwhelming, you can easily get used to the routine with some practice. However, you’re never going to reach that level of meal-prepping prowess if you don’t start.
Here are some tips for meal-prepping Type 2 DM-friendly lunches:
1. Consult with a nutritionist
Speak with a licensed nutritionist-dietitian or an autoimmune disease help center in Boise, Idaho to find out how many calories and macro nutrients you should be consuming. A nutritionist can help you come up with a meal plan that’s tailored to your needs and preferences, as well as give you tips on how to prepare delicious DM-safe lunches. Moreover, if you’re having trouble choosing the types of food you can eat, a nutritionist can give you a list of safe and unsafe foods.
2. Upgrade your salads
A salad is probably the best low-carb lunch you can make. It’s easy to create and if you choose the right ingredients, a salad lunch can be very delicious.
However, salads can get old if you choose the same old combination of vegetables, protein, and dressing. Try adding new ingredients to the mix, such as avocado, squash, watermelon, or arugula. Make hearty salads, light salads, or fruit salads, and then switch them up for each lunch. Aside from increasing your vitamin and mineral intake, salads are relatively low in calories and carbohydrates, which is good for Type 2 DM diets.
3. Eat more whole grains
Whole grains are better for diabetics than refined grains since they contain more fiber, which helps stabilize the body’s blood sugar levels. Moreover, whole grains are richer in protein, vitamins, antioxidants, and minerals, which are all essential in combating other diseases such as obesity and cardiovascular disease.
Choose whole grains for your lunches, such as brown rice, whole wheat bread, whole wheat tortilla, whole oats, buckwheat, quinoa, and barley, among many others. Since these foods are generally more nutritious than foods with refined grains, you won’t have to compensate for nutrients using your protein and fat sources.
4. Reduce fat intake
Consuming just the right amount of fat is also essential in managing diabetes, as well as preventing other non-communicable illnesses such as hypertension and cancer.
When preparing your lunches, choose lean proteins (e.g. chicken, fish, turkey, lean beef), low-fat dressings and condiments, and low-fat or non-fat dairy products. Avoid frying your food in oil and use other cooking methods instead, such as boiling, steaming, sauteing, or baking. If you’re craving for sweet or salty food, opt to make your own “junk food” or desserts (e.g. homemade potato chips, air-fried French fries, fat-free sorbet, etc.)
Having Type 2 diabetes doesn’t mean you can’t have fun with your lunches. You just need to tailor it to your nutritional needs. So, for the next time you meal-prep, remember these tips to make great, healthy, and diabetes-friendly lunches.