Supermarkets are the perfect diabetic frenemies. On the one hand, they offer access to a wide selection of healthy foods to help you stick to a diabetes meal plan. On the other, they are a cesspool of unhealthy and sugar-filled alternatives that will send your blood sugar levels skyrocketing faster than the SpaceX program.
This can feel somewhat overwhelming for some people, especially people without a proper diabetes meal plan and proper research about foods to eat. But choosing foods to buy at a supermarket isn’t difficult as it doesn’t require as much planning as you think.
All it takes is picking out healthy and balanced meals and not caving into that feeling to grab a few sweets or drinks off one of the stalls. There are a few ways you can make the right choices and free your mind from that fear that you are making a mistake with your food pickings.
Here are a few of them.
PLAN YOUR DIET
This is an essential step before going to a supermarket so as not to be boxed up by the choices you have to make.
This phase often tends to scare people off, as the common misconception is that this is a very tedious process. However, all you need to plan your diet if you intend to undertake this process yourself is to choose foods that will help prevent diabetic complications.
The main goal of every diet plan should be to keep blood sugar levels at an optimum range. One sure way of doing this is to create a grocery list for diabetes.
Now you might ask, “what should be on this list?” Well, here are a few recommendations:
- Fruits and Vegetables: It is common knowledge that these are good for you. Everyone has probably heard the bit about eating at least five portions a day, which is very accurate, especially for someone with Type 2 diabetes. It doesn’t matter what medium they come in, canned, dried, or frozen; it’s all healthy stuff, although some dieticians will recommend that you get fresh fruits as they can be cheaper and more mint, especially when they are in season.
Look out for potatoes, though; they are starchy carbohydrates, and you do not want to eat those five times a day.
- Dairy Products: Yes, you didn’t read wrong; you can add dairy products to your list. Milk, cheese, and yogurts are all great sources of calcium which we all know is essential to healthy teeth and bones.
Dairy products also serve as a great source of proteins, but caution should be taken here as they are also high in fat, and foods like cheese can contain a lot of salt. I recommend you get intensely flavored cheese like Parmesan or mature cheddar; as with these, you can have small portions but still enjoy its taste. Cottage cheese is also a great option, and when it comes to milk, it is best to switch from full-fat milk to skimmed or semi-skimmed milk.
- Meat, Fish, and Eggs: These foods have high protein content and can satisfy you for longer, which is why a lot of dieticians recommend that you include proteins in your meals to reduce the likelihood of you wanting to snack after a meal. Fish contains essential fatty acid, omega-3, which can help keep your heart healthy.
READ THE LABELS
Skimming past food and drink labels can be straightforward, especially when shopping. You see something that you might think should be healthy to eat just because the name says organic, and you drop it in the cart; meanwhile, that ″organic″ processed food is loaded with calories and a lot fewer vitamins than your body needs. Always check labels for foods with refined or white flour, corn syrup with high fructose levels, hydrogenated oils, preservatives, and artificial colors and sweeteners, as these should be very much avoided.
If you pick up a product with more than five ingredients or see an ingredient you can′t pronounce, it would be best to avoid it. Go for the simple stuff, and when it comes to canned foods, the serving sizes and sodium content are things you should look out for on the labels.
STAY IN THE HEALTHY LANE
A supermarket is full of distractions and temptations, so you should focus on the store’s healthy section. Shop within the perimeter of healthy fresh foods such as fruits, vegetables, dairy, meat, and fish, as this should stop the temptation to taste that snack you haven’t tasted in a while; after all, it’s just one snack, right. Yes, it is, but that one snack could do a lot of damage to your blood sugar levels and set you up on a habit of taking ″one snack″ a few times a day, which can, in the long run, lead to diabetes complications such as heart problems or a stroke. Avoid the center of the stores you visit, as many supermarkets tend to place their junk foods in aisles, and stick to the healthy lane.
The last piece of advice is to stock up on ingredients if you are the cooking type. That way, you can limit your trips to the supermarkets even though planning your diet. Inspecting your food, and sticking to the healthy food sections of the supermarkets are all it takes to maintain an ideal buying culture for people with diabetes.
Keeping your cool is also essential, as the junk lines can look enticing. But with the mindset that eating healthy isn’t just the right thing to do, it′s the key to living a long complication-free life; also, shopping can become much more enjoyable and stress-free.