Eating a balanced meal plan doesn’t have to be complicated or overwhelming for you to do. These days where there are so many fad diets, weight loss programs and products saturating the media, it’s easy to feel defeated before you even begin to start a healthy change. A couple of years ago, I found out I was diabetic and I felt that my life was turned upside down. I thought I had to go on a special diet that I could never follow and I would end up on insulin injections, dialysis or have a kidney transplant. However, I have been able to manage my diabetes with diet and medications so far. It wasn’t easy at first, and I still splurge once in a while, but I do follow a balance diet for the most part.
This article entails what I have learned to stay healthy and eat right. The information listed here has helped me a great deal and has kept my diabetes and depression in check, so I hope they are helpful for you as well.
First of all, I don’t eat three regular meals a day like breakfast, lunch or dinner. what I do eat is breakfast which consists of I cup oatmeal, with two packets of Splenda, two egg whites for scramble eggs with tomatoes, green onions and garlic and a glass of Crystal Light juice, any flavor.
Then at around 3 pm I eat my dinner which is usually fish or chicken that is either baked or grilled. I rarely ever fry my food. (If you do fry your food, use fat free cooking sprays.) I also add half a cup of rice or pasta or another starchy carb, such as potato, and then a cup of vegetables or salad. Somewhere from 6 to 8 pm, I have a light snack, usually about 7:00 and that is most likely a half sandwich, small garden salad with deli meat or a cheese quesadilla.
I do have several snacks throughout the day, but I try to make them as healthy and low fat as possible. I use to have veggie snacks like carrots or celery with low fat or light yogurt or sour cream, but my doctor recently recommended low fat cottage cheese because it has more protein. I also love to munch on nuts, but be careful with these because they are fattening. The best kinds of nuts for your heart are walnuts and almonds.
It’s recommended to have several small to medium meals throughout the day because this helps your metabolism, which is good for weight loss. Two regular meals and a snack seem to be working for me, but three medium meals, plus two to three snacks a day gives you a balance diet.
The best way to proportion your food is a simple method that was given to me when I was first diagnosed. Divide your plate into three sections: Protein=beef, poultry or fish, Carbohydrates (Starches)=rice, pasta, potato, corn and peas, and Vegetables (Non-Starchy) green beans, broccoli, carrots, spinach, cauliflower, or salads containing lettuce, tomatoes and onions.
On your plate, protein should be 1/4th of the portion of your meal, and your carbohydrates should also be 1/4th of your meal as well. Your non starchy vegetables or salad should be ½ half of your plate. This is a good way to balance the foods you eat at lunch and dinner. Always limit your carbohydrates to just one portion per meal. For instance just have rice or pasta or potato or corn or peas, not two or three of each. Remember corn and peas are starchy vegetables and should just be one serving on a meal.
If you’re diabetic, eat your protein first. This helps to slow down the digestion of carbohydrates and helps keeps sugar levels down. If you’re trying to lose weight, limit one starchy carbohydrate per meal. If you really are committed to losing weight and eating well, buy a calorie, carb and fat gram counter book or websites that do the same.
Check and measure out the grams of carbs and sugar in foods for your meal plans. If you’re unsure how much carbohydrates or sugar to include in your meal, just remember that you can eat up 40 to 60 grams of carbohydrates per meal. So say you have half a cup of white rice and a two once piece of corn bread with your meal, that equals to 22 grams of carbs for the rice and 25 carbs for the corn bread. Your total of carbs for the meal is 47 carbs and that’s less than the 60 gram maximum amount.
Planning your meals and studying the contents of your foods takes some getting used to, but with practice it’s doable. I thought for sure I could never handle a diabetic diet, but I’m getting better all the time. The trick is just to start and then stick with it, especially before you find you have some health complications due to weight.
EXTRA HEALTH TIPS
The very first thing you should do is talk with your doctor and perhaps ask to see a nutritionist or dietician to help you set a diet that is right for you. Diet fads or supposedly quick weight loss products usually don’t succeed, so try simple steps in the beginning to a healthier new balanced lifestyle. What I wrote in this article has helped me enormously and didn’t require a lot of work or extreme life altering changes.
Drinking plenty of water of course is essential to any healthy balance diet. But if you don’t like drinking plain old water, then try Crystal Light. They come in a variety of flavors and are very economical, much cheaper than diet sodas.
Exercise at least three to five times a week. I know the experts all say thirty minutes every day, but just try the 3-5 routine in the beginning and slowly do a transition to everyday if you can. I walk an hour, five times a week, but many people can’t fit that into their schedule, so go for three workouts of thirty minutes in the good beginning.
Eat foods with high amounts of essential fatty acids or omega-3 fats. Foods such as salmon, mackerel and herring, green leafy vegetable like spinach and arugula, and olive oil. Almonds and walnuts are also very good, but again be careful with the olive oil and nuts because they are high calories foods.