How do you react after finding out that it’s you or your family member that is diagnosed with diabetes? Do you have any idea how many people in the U.S. are fighting that same battle at the moment of speaking?
We do! Disturbing and alarming statistics on the U.S. population show that an estimated 30.3 million people have diabetes, and only 23.1 million of those are diagnosed! Diabetes is a disease with a fatal outcome if not treated on time.
Getting a diagnosis is step 1 in the process. Then you need to come up with a consistent meal plan, medications, and other ways to keep healthy blood glucose levels.
Read our Diabetic Meal Guide If you are here trying to understand what diabetes is and how to deal with it!
Diabetes is a disease that occurs when blood sugar levels are too high. The normal function of the pancreas is to produce the hormone insulin, which helps glucose to enter each body cell. In people with diabetes, pancreas and insulin don’t “work” correctly, and it causes high levels of glucose in the blood.
Almost 9.5 percent of the population in the United States has diabetes! However, one in four people with diabetes is not aware of their disease.
If not treated over time, too much glucose in the blood can cause eye problems, heart disease, kidney disease, and nerve damage.
Type 2 Diabetes, the most common type in population, happens when the level of blood glucose (also known as blood sugar) is too high! The pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, or the body doesn’t know how to use it, which will in both of these situations lead to failure in getting glucose inside of the cell where it’s used as an energy source!
Type 2 diabetes is present in people of all ages, but more often occurs in middle-aged and older ones. You are more likely to develop type 2 diabetes if there are some of these risk factors present in your life:
According to American Diabetes Association, each year almost 10 percent of pregnancies in the United States are affected by gestational diabetes! It doesn’t necessarily mean that future mom had it before pregnancy neither that it stays for life.
However, the cause of gestational diabetes is still unknown but the treatment is more than possible and effective! The key is to act fast before it hurts the baby or the mother.
About 1 to 4 percent of all cases of diabetes in the United States are marked as monogenic! This form of diabetes is a consequence of a change or a mutation in a single gene. Most of these mutations cause a reduced body’s ability to produce insulin.
Patients with Cystic Fibrosis have more chances of developing diabetes as they grow older. CFRD has some features of both type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Foods that are rich in fiber can improve digestion, reduce risk of heart disease and lower your blood sugar! Great amount of fiber is present in plant foods – vegetables, fruits, pulses (dried beans, peas, and lentils), whole grains, and nuts.
People with diabetes should eat beans, legumes,celery, a lot of fruits (especially those with edible seeds, such as berries), whole grain cereals and breads, almonds, nuts, walnuts, as well as other nuts but in controlled portions (don’t forget nuts have calories)!
Carbohydrates, AKA carbs include starches, sugars, and fiber.
When it comes to a diabetes nutrition plan, It’s essential to keep track of the amount and type of carbs that you eat. Healthy carbs provide energy, minerals, vitamins, and fiber!
Foods that do not contain any carbs are meat, fish, poultry, nuts, cheese, and oils. Non-starchy veggies are low in carbs, and those are celery, broccoli, asparagus, carrots, green lettuce, spinach, zucchini, tomatoes, peppers, green beans.
Dietary plan for both diabetes type 1 and 2 includes heart-healthy fats, as well! These are found in oils, which are liquid at room temperature (canola and olive oil), nuts and seeds, heart-healthy fish (tuna, salmon, and mackerel), and avocado.
Avoid cooking with butter, stick margarine, and lard. Instead, use healthy oils mentioned before.
A list of benefits your body gets from foods with omega-3 fatty acids is long and exhausting! Concerning the diabetes meal plan, it’s important to emphasize how these unsaturated fats can improve heart health, control your blood sugar level, and help reduce insulin resistance!
Include supplements, or even better non-fried fish rich in omega-3 fatty acids into your weekly meal plan (mackerel, herring, and albacore tuna are on top of the list).
Avoid adding extra salt to the table and use non-sodium spice blends instead! Canned and processed vegetables are always rich in sodium – use fresh or fresh frozen ones. Dressings, sauerkraut, condiments, pickles – full of sodium even if you can’t taste it!
Read the nutritional information on each product before buying it!
Eat less than 300 mg of cholesterol per day because some foods can increase your blood cholesterol! You should avoid or control the intake of these sources of cholesterol – poultry skin, high-fat meat, egg yolks, and high-fat dairy products! You can always look for the number on the label, if not sure of the specific product at the store.
Diet low in saturated fats can take down blood cholesterol levels and risk for heart disease. The majority of this “bad fat” is found in meat and dairy products – amb, pork, fatty beef, poultry skin, butter, 2% milk and dairy products. Monitor daily intake of bad fats and find more information on fats relating to diabetes.
Trans fats are created through the process of hydrogenation when liquid oils are turned into solids. Look for hydrogenated or partially hydrogenated fat listed on the label of a specific product. Typical items rich in bad trans fats are snack food, crackers, frozen pizzas, cookies, doughnuts, baked goods (not home-made), and some stick margarines.
Carb counting is a method that helps people with diabetes type 1 and 2 to create suitable meal plans. Counting carbs is keeping track of the precise amount of carbohydrates that get ingested during the day. You need some basic knowledge on which food is low in carbs and how many grams of carbs each ingredient includes!
Be free to rely on dietitians to help you build daily or weekly meal plans until you gain self-esteem.
The plate method is a convenient method for planning that doesn’t include measuring and counting calories but is equally efficient as the previous one! This method is appropriate when you plan lunch and dinner meals and requires a 9-inch plate. Here is a way to use it:
Find more ideas on how to create your plate with proper nutrients using the American Diabetes Association’s tips.
Glycemic Index or GI is a ranking value of foods that shows how these affect blood glucose levels – how slowly/quickly it increases after consumption.
Here is a classification on Glycemic Index:
Those ingredients that are high on the GI release glucose very fast! With both type 1 and type 2 diabetes, the digestion of high GI foods leads to faster glucose release and very high blood sugar levels!
Check out the chart of the GI for some common foods!
The right choice of food is the number one method when speaking of diabetes! As mentioned earlier, there are specific directions to follow on which food is welcome and what you should avoid. Registered dietitians can provide help with tips regarding nutrition and ways to monitor blood glucose levels concerning food.
With lean foods, you can never be wrong! Here are some ingredients you should eat on the diabetes meal plan:
Sweets, such as candies, cookies, cakes, and other types of dessert, are usually high in refined carbs and have added sugar! It’s necessary to avoid these and learn some recipes for healthy desserts. If you are interested in sweets tailored for people with diabetes, check out our ideas and recipes.
Dealing with diabetes might get hard if you lack time for weekly meal planning, shopping organic ingredients, and preparing meals in a certain way! Diabetes is a disease that can lead to serious health problems if not treated in the right direction, and nutrition is a fundamental principle.
Meal kit delivery services tailored special weekly programs for people with diabetes type 2! Please rely on the work of the registered dietitians and chefs, which carefully design recipes, pre-measured ingredients, and deliver them to your doorstep along with a recipe card!
Meal delivery services are an easy and straightforward way toward a healthy and adventurous weekly meal plan without any fuss. In comparison to meal kits, prepared meals are one step forward because delivered food is already cooked. There are many meal delivery services on the market that provide specialized programs for people with type 2 diabetes.
At the moment, these are one of the best-rated meal kit services for people with type 2 diabetes:
These companies deliver meal kits nationwide and source high-quality organic ingredients! Diabetic-friendly recipes include a lot of fresh vegetables, fruits, and lean proteins. If you look into their offer, you can find main entrees, healthy snacks, yogurts, natural juices, and more tasty food for people struggling with diabetes.