Eating Mindfully with Diabetes

One of the first things considered when diagnosed with diabetes is figuring out what a diabetic diet is.  Some doctors and care teams offer ideas and nutritional advice, but what you realize with time and  practice, is that it is up to you to discover what to eat and how to care for your diabetes.  

Factors of Mindful Eating

To eat mindfully and manage diabetes means to be conscious and aware of what you eat, and how it will  affect your health and help maintain blood sugar balance. The first step is to educate yourself about the different macronutrients, what are the nutritive components of food that the body needs for energy, and how to maintain the body’s structure and systems.  These nutritive components  include carbohydrates, protein and fat, which when combined and eaten together are ideal for a diabetic diet.  Combining macronutrients helps to slow the absorption of carbohydrates, lowers insulin needs, and helps prevent blood sugar spikes after a meal.  

Balance is Key 

Going a step further, consider how important real whole foods are in a diabetic diet and that when these nutrient and vitamin rich foods are the main portion of your meals, you can eat more mindfully. There is very little mystery behind the benefits of real food, and how it is grown and available from nature, and helps create balanced and nourishing meals. 

A diabetic diet should serve your body’s energy needs first and this doesn’t always have to include carbohydrates.  A balanced diabetic diet can include non-starchy vegetables and fruits. These types are lower in simple carbohydrates, but rich in fiber and micronutrients. Then by simply adding in a good source of protein and healthy fats, you can easily create meals very mindfully.

A diabetic diet is delicious

Taste and enjoying some of your favorite foods should always be on the top of your shopping list.  There are many herbs and spices that can be included in a diabetic diet, and that everyone at the dinner table will love. Start with mindful choices when shopping and planning your meals. Roasting, sauteing, and grilling are all easy and healthy options to help prepare real whole foods and also reach your blood sugar goals.  

A mindful diabetic diet and desserts

Can you have your cake and diabetes too?  A common question that has an easy answer.  The goal when eating any food in a diabetic diet is to balance your carbohydrates and insulin ratio.  This is achievable, and results in helping keep your blood sugar balanced when you decide to enjoy a dessert.  Be mindful of the carbohydrates and the sugar a dessert contains, dose insulin accordingly, or even swap the dessert for another carbohydrate in the same meal.  Again, balance is key and treating yourself is important sometimes as reward for staying on track with your diabetic diet each day.

What mindful eating with diabetes means to you

The day to day with diabetes is not a sprint, it is a marathon.  Like a marathon, you must prepare mentally and physically for the challenges ahead.   A diabetic diet is a mindful  journey of choices, all things that happen in life and decisions you must make on what to eat and help determine how you will feel.  By mindfully shopping, choosing healthy ingredients, reading labels, prepping and preparing meals, this will help you decide what a diabetic diet will look like for you.  

Food should not be the enemy in a diabetic’s diet, and it is not punishment for a disease you now live with.  Instead choose mindfully to use food as a tool to serve you and your health.  Nourishing yourself on the inside to be strong and healthy, while nourishing you on the outside to be alive and vibrant to the world.

Food is amazing and memories are often created around meals enjoyed with others. Doing this mindfully makes the memories even sweeter.

Melissa Slemp
I’m a wife, mom, type 1 diabetic, and certified health coach specializing in blood sugar control. I have learned how to use effective habits navigating my own diabetes health journey. In my programs you will learn the best foods to manage blood sugar without feeling deprived and to lose weight and feel your best.

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