A Prediabetes Meal Plan Can Help You Avoid Diabetes
Making a meal plan and sticking to it may be the most important—and difficult—aspect of diabetes prevention. To beat prediabetes and prevent diabetes, it’s essential that you eat nutritiously and stay organized when planning your meals.
Meal planning is all about making healthier food choices. Every time you sit down for a meal, you run the risk of making poor food choices. To manage prediabetes, it’s critical that you eat larger portions of non-starchy vegetables, such as spinach, salsa or mushrooms, and smaller portions of starchy foods, such as potatoes or pasta. By making a plan and following it, you’ll have a much better shot at improving your health and limiting your risk for diabetes.
Here are a few tips on how to get started:
- Create a weekly meal plan. Use a calendar to schedule every meal and snack for the entire week. Schedule easy-to-prepare meals for busy evenings and lunches that can be quickly prepared in the morning. It may be helpful to assign specific meals or categories of meals to a specific day. For example, you could have “Meatless Mondays,” “New Recipe Tuesdays,” “Stir Fry Wednesdays,” or “Dine-Out Thursdays.”
- Make a grocery list. Once you know your seven-day meal plan, make a grocery list of all the foods you need for the week. Since you’re only shopping for one week, you’ll know exactly what quantities to buy and won’t have as much food go to waste. This will save you money in the long run.
- Be a smart shopper. Go to the grocery store alone (so you aren’t distracted or coerced into poor food choices), after you’ve just eaten. Buy only what is on your list. Fresh food—such as lean meat, dairy and produce—is located around the perimeter of the store, so stick to the edges while shopping. Avoid the aisles—they’re home to sugary, high-sodium, processed foods that are bad for your health!
- Prepare your food ahead of time. Set aside a pot full of water before you grocery shop. When you return with your grocery bags, boil the water and drop legumes or whole grains in the pot. You can prepare a whole week’s worth of fresh veggies and side dishes while you’re putting away your groceries.
- Dine out, but eat healthfully. You don’t have to give up your social life just because you follow a prediabetes diet. Before dining out, visit the restaurant’s website and look for nutritional information on the menu, which most restaurants have. Decide what you’re going to eat before you go, and don’t get sidetracked by daily specials. When you’re seated at the restaurant, remove the chip or bread bowl from the table—unlimited quantities of food should always be avoided.
- Develop a routine. This is the hardest part. If you can create and repeat your routine, it will become easier to avoid bad choices. Make sure that you set aside time to plan, shop and prepare meals each and every week. You may even notice that you have more time to devote to other interests or responsibilities!