4 tips for planning your meals

June 30, 2015

You wouldn't start a vacation without an idea of where you're going to go, and when you have diabetes you shouldn't start your day or week without an idea of what you're going to eat.

4 tips for planning your meals

1. Plan your weekly menu

Look through cookbooks, recipe cards or the latest issue of a healthy cooking magazine and pick out seven healthy dinners with reasonable calorie totals, usually no more than about 500 calories per serving.

  • Remember to include a lean protein source (such as chicken breast, fish or beans), plenty of vegetables and a whole-grain source of fibre.
  • Breakfasts and lunches can be a little more spontaneous, but it's still good to have a general idea of what you'll be eating (oatmeal or cereal with fruit in the mornings, salads and soups for lunch, etc.) so you're not caught off guard and unprepared.

2. Prepare a grocery list

Write a list that includes what you need for your week of menus. Take it to the store and don't buy anything that's not on the list (unless of course you forgot to write down basics like milk and toilet paper).

  • Now even if your week turns busy and exhausting, you won't have to shop or wonder what you should make for dinner. A healthy meal is already planned and ready to cook!

3. Prep for tomorrow tonight

Take 20 minutes from your evening TV viewing to do some prep work that will make the next day go smoothly.

  • Hard-boil eggs for breakfast and put them in the fridge, set the breakfast table, cut up fruit for your cereal and set the coffee machine.
  • Planning a berry crisp for dinner Friday night? On Thursday, measure and pour the flour, oatmeal, cinnamon and other spices into a plastic bag and seal. The next day you'll simply have to throw it together with the berries and bake.

4. Buy a dry-erase board

Available at office-supply stores, use a dry-erase board to track your servings of fibre-rich foods.

Getting more fibre into your diet is one of the best ways to shrink your waistline and lower your blood sugar, but it's probably not top-of-mind when you're looking for something to eat.

  • The answer? Every day, write down every fibre-rich food that passes your lips: your morning bowl of oatmeal (you'll get extra fibre by adding fruit or flaxseeds on top), your sandwich on two pieces of whole-grain bread (that counts as two), your afternoon apple, your sides of brown rice and steamed spinach at dinner. Aim for at least eight.
  • The visual reminder will spur you to eat more servings as the day progresses if you see you're falling short.
  • Need one last serving after dinner? Snack on air-popped popcorn in the evening.

Have a plan

We're not saying that you have to plan every bite, but with so many unhealthy choices all-too-readily available (you probably pass a few fast-food joints whenever you drive or stare down donuts when you buy your morning paper), having a plan, writing it down and sticking to it is the smart approach.

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