So you want to make changes to your diet…

I have been trying to figure out where to start with blog posts about diet changes that will help with blood sugar management and achieving a weight that is healthy for you.  I have finally decided to start with some basics and then will take other various topics and go into more depth about them.  I would love some feedback on areas that you struggle with so I know that the information is applicable to you.  Remember–if you have questions about something specific, it is common that others are thinking the same thing and may be too shy to ask, so ask away!!!

To get you started, here are some things to ask yourself:

1) Am I eating breakfast every day, within an hour or so of waking up?

Breakfast eaters tend to have more success with achieving and maintaining a healthy weight.  It is important to get the metabolism going in the morning, to help give you energy through the day, to reduce cravings and over eating later in the day, and to make sure you get important vitamins and minerals in your diet.  Many people who tend to skip breakfast tell me they are not hungry in the morning.  This could be because they have eaten too much in the evening, leaving them somewhat full in the morning, or it could be that their body is just not used to eating in the morning and they have lost those hunger signals.  We can retrain our body to be hungry in the morning by feeding it daily at that time.  Start with something small, like a yogurt or piece of whole grain toast with peanut butter or a small apple or berries.  Slowly build it up to have a balanced breakfast that includes some fibre, lean protein and that is low in added sugars.

Examples:

3/4 cup cooked oatmeal (not instant) with 1 tbsp peanut butter (melted on top or mixed in…delicious), cinnamon, 1/2 banana, 1 cup low fat milk

3/4 cup plain yogurt, 1 cup mixed berries (you can use frozen and they will flavour the yogurt nicely!!), 3/4 cup high fibre cereal (look for something that has at least 4 g fibre and 8 g of sugar or less per 30 g serving).  Men may need to add a slice of whole grain toast (aim for 15 g carbohydrate per slice) with peanut butter or a boiled egg.

Breakfast on the go could be 1-2 slices of whole grain toast with low fat cheese or peanut butter, 15 grapes and a cup of milk or 100 g yogurt.

 

2) How often are you snacking?  What are you snacking on?  Are you HUNGRY when you are snacking or are you eating because you are: bored, frustrated, upset, influenced by others eating, used to eating at that time?

Snacking can be important, especially if we are going longer than 4-6 hours without eating a main meal.  Snacking can help us reduce our portions sizes at meal times by managing our hunger between meals.  It can help keep our blood sugars more stable over the day, to avoid those highs and lows.  It can be an important source of good nutrients and it can be an enjoyable part of our day.

Unfortunately, snacking can also lead to excess calorie intake, excess intake of things like sugars and fats which may not be good for our diabetes or our heart or our health.

Instead of the word snack, think of it as a ‘mini-meal’.  This can sometimes help us make better choices, as often snacking brings up images of chips, chocolate bars and the like.  These are okay to have in moderation, but if we can include healthy snacks at least 80% of the time, then we’re on the right track.

Plan your snacks out and have foods available for when you may need them.  Try to include some protein in the snack to help keep you satisfied longer.  Some options may include:

100 g yogurt cup with 10-12 almonds

1 small (size of tennis ball) apple with 1 oz cheese  (think individually wrapped Babybel cheeses or a cheese string)

1/2 whole grain pita with 2 tbsp hummus

100 g container cottage cheese (plain) mixed with 3/4 cup berries

2-4 whole grain crackers (e.g. Mary’s Crackers, Finn Crisp, Ryvita) with a tbsp of peanut butter or 2 tbsp hummus (maybe some sliced tomato or cucumber on top!)

1/2 cup whole grain cereal with 1/2 cup milk

Do you have any great snack suggestions???

Before you have your snack, ask yourself a few questions.

1) Am I physically hungry (is my stomach growling? does my body need food?)?  Or am I eating because I am bored, or sad, or because the commercial I was just watching showed a great picture of….

2) How long is it until my next meal? (If it will be 4-6 hours or more between meals, then yes, eat something.  If your meal is less than an hour away and your blood sugar is not low, maybe you can wait for the meal)

If you are not physically hungry and the answer to question 2 is not within the parameters, try to distract yourself by calling a friend, going for a walk, doing a hobby instead of eating.  Otherwise, our snacking calories will add up to more than we need.

More to come….am looking forward to your feedback and questions!

Andrea, RD

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