Top food tips for living with type 2 diabetes
Managing your diet
What should I eat for breakfast, lunch and dinner?
Having diabetes doesn’t stop you from enjoying your usual foods but it’s important to make healthier choices more often. Why not try one of these?
– a bowl of cereal with semi-skimmed milk
– 2 slices of wholegrain toast with spread and/or jam
– a fat-free yogurt and fruit.
– a chicken or ham salad sandwich…
– a small pasta salad…
– soup and a roll…
…with a piece of fruit and a diet or fat-free yogurt
– lasagne and salad
– roast chicken with potatoes and vegetables
– beef stir-fry, vegetables and rice
– chicken tortillas and salad
– salmon and noodles
– curry and rice
These ideas may not look much different from what you eat already, and your favourite recipes and meals can usually be adapted to be healthier without you noticing too much difference. Easy changes to make are to:
– reduce the fat, sugar or salt content of your food
– include more fruit and vegetables
– reduce your portion sizes.
Making any of these changes would certainly help, but there is no need to go over the top and radically change everything in the early days after your diabetes diagnosis – it makes it much harder to stick to in the longer term.
Is there anything I should avoid?
Before your diabetes was diagnosed, you may have been more thirsty than usual. It is a good idea to avoid sugary drinks and fruit juices as a way of quenching thirst. They can put blood glucose levels up very high and very quickly, and can make you gain weight in the long term. Instead, drink water, sugar-free and diet soft drinks. Tea and coffee are still OK to include, too.
Avoid foods labelled ‘diabetic’ or ‘suitable for diabetics’. These foods contain similar amounts of calories and fat, and they can affect your blood glucose levels. They are usually more expensive and can have a laxative effect. Stick to your usual foods. If you want to have an occasional treat, go for your normal treats and watch your portions.
Drinks that help you lose weight
We all know how important it is to drink enough water — it restores fluids lost through breathing, exercising and metabolism. It’s the number 1 thirst quencher … and cheap! But the timing could make a difference, too. When you start to feel hungry, drink some water. A 2015 study in the journal Obesity found that participants who drank about 2 glasses of water before meals were more likely to lose weight than those who skipped the glasses of water and went straight to eating.
2. Green teaDrinking green tea regularly may not only boost your fat fighting metabolism, but may also play a key role in weight maintenance and hunger suppression. One study from the Journal of the American College of Nutrition found that in just two months, green tea drinkers lost an average of six pounds more than those who drank plain water. Green tea is also brimming with antioxidants and flavonoids that are good for overall health. Drink freshly brewed tea with no added sugar or cream — bottled store-bought varieties have fewer antioxidants (the concentration decreases the longer tea sits after brewing) and are often pumped full of honey or sugar.
3. CoffeeThe morning java boost is a necessity for many of us, but there’s proof that the jolt may spur a better workout (translation: burn more calories). A 2015 study in the Journal of Sports Medicine and Physical Fitness found that participants could do almost 20% more leg presses and 12% more bench presses when they drank 2–3 cups of coffee before their workout. A similar 2011 study found an (albeit small) increase in energy expenditure both before and after exercise in the group that drank coffee before exercise.
In addition, coffee positively affects the hormones that help improve blood-sugar regulation. Maintaining stable blood sugar is essential to your well-being, overall fitness, regulating your hormones and plays a role in how much fat your body is able to store and burn. But before you get too excited, we recommend you skip the sugar and heavy cream. The benefits noted above are singular to black coffee — not the mostly sugar and milk-based lattes, frappes, and mochas from Starbucks, McDonald’s and Dunkin Donuts, which sell drinks that may contain more than 1/4 cup (50 grams) of sugar!
This fizzy, pleasantly puckery fermented beverage is made by adding a probiotic-rich bacteria to lightly sweetened tea. More and more research is looking into gut health and how it relates to obesity and weight, finding that the millions of bacteria that live in our guts may play a large role by altering the way we store fat, how we balance blood sugar and how we respond to the hormones that make us feel hungry and full. Fueling our gut with beverages and foods that stimulate good bacteria may make losing weight easier than we ever thought possible. Kombucha is readily available in most supermarkets and comes loaded with probiotics — just be sure to look for brands with less than 5 grams sugar per serving.
5. Turmeric milk tea
We’ve said it here before: Sleep is essential for more efficient weight loss. Drinking turmeric-steeped warm milk before bed may help you catch more zzz’s. The brain uses calcium and tryptophan (both of which are found in dairy products) to make sleep-inducing melatonin.
Turmeric contains a component called curcumin, which may shrink the size of adipose cells and limit fat accumulation. Curcumin also stimulates antioxidant effects, reduces inflammation and may help relieve anxiety. Research on turmeric is still young, but it certainly can’t hurt to add this warming spice to your nightly routine.
Your Lifestyle impacts your weight
What You May Need to Change for a Healthy Lifestyle
– What time you get up each morning
– What time you go to bed each night
– How you spend your free time
– How you spend your money
– How you shop, cook and eat
– How much TV you watch
– What you do with your family and friends
– The rewards for making these changes are endless, but it’s beginning that’s so difficult.
Where Do You Start?
Try keeping an activity journal and jot down how much time you spend sitting as opposed to moving around. Then see if you can reduce that number—take more walks, stand up and stretch, just move around more.
Next, take a look at your diet and just pick one thing you could do better. Maybe you could eat more fruits and vegetables, or maybe you eat out a little too often. Work on that one thing until you’ve made progress and then you can pick another thing.
Working on one change at a time is slow, yes, but when you change too much at once, you’re much more likely to go back to old behaviors. Taking your time leads to lasting changes and, in the end, a healthier lifestyle.
As humans, we like habits and routines, so much that we often keep doing the same things even when we know they aren’t good for us. Changing bad habits takes time and effort.
10 Tips to avoid weight gain
Tips for limiting weight gain:
1. Eat regular meals, avoid missing meals as this can lead to overeating later in the day
2. Make sure you include plenty of vegetables with your meals to help fill you up
3. Reduce your intake of treats such as chocolate, cakes, sweets, crisps and chips. Set a limit each day/ week which is less than you are having now
4. If you get hungry between meals, try to choose a piece of fruit or a low calorie yogurt as a snack
5. You need 3 meals per day, not 4 so try to keep supper as a small snack
6. Try to reduce the amount of takeaways you have and try to choose the healthier options when you do have a takeaway
7. Drink plenty of water/ tea or coffee (not sweetened with sugar)/ no added sugar/ diet or zero drinks
8. Only have a small glass of fruit juice once per day
9. Get active, move every day
10. Tell people what you are trying to do so they can help and encourage you. Get friends and family to make similar changes.
Pre and Post Bariatrics
Even before you undergo weight loss surgery, your bariatric surgeon may recommend a change in your diet to prepare your body for surgery. This special pre-operative diet will help shrink your liver and reduce fat in your abdomen so that your surgeon can operate more easily and safely and increases the chances of your surgery being performed laparoscopically.
Losing weight before surgery will also help with your recovery, increase your rate of weight loss and aid with the transition to your post-op diet.
The time frame for your pre-op diet will vary from patient to patient. Based on your situation and how much weight you need to lose before surgery, your bariatric surgeon will advise you when to start your pre-surgery diet.
For gastric band patients, the pre-op diet may start two to three weeks before surgery, while for the more involved procedures such as gastric sleeve or gastric bypass your pre-op diet may start sooner.
You can expect your pre-surgery weight loss diet to be high in protein, but low in calories, fats, and carbohydrates, especially refined sugars and saturated fat.
The pre-surgery diet generally ranges from 800 to 1200 calories per day with about 70 to 120 grams of protein each day. You will also be advised to start vitamin supplements to ensure your body has the nutrients necessary for recovery and health.
A few of the benefits of the pre-op diet include:
• Shrinking your fatty liver
• Preparing your body for surgery
• Faster recovery following surgery
• Preparing you for your post-operative diet
Post-op diet progression:
Immediately following weight loss surgery you will not be able to eat much of anything. The post-op recovery diet will slowly progress from clear liquids to full liquids, pureed food, soft foods, and then you will finally be able to start eating solid foods.
No matter the procedure, it is important to progress gradually through the post-op diet so your body has time to heal from surgery and you can adjust to the changes.
If you don’t follow the post-op diet progression plan, you can:
• disrupt the healing process
• increase the risk of surgical site complications
• experience more pain
• cause vomiting
• dislocate the band (for gastric band patients)
Take time to heal and don’t try to rush recovery!