“What do you eat?” I hear this question a lot – both from people who have type 2 diabetes and from those who don’t. To answer, I documented a week’s worth of eating.
(And, to add a little context – my meals are supplemented with a twice-daily dose of metformin and repaglinide and a daily hour of either stationary biking or weight bearing exercise)
DAY 1: This is a pretty typical day, except for lunch. Working hard on a tough article, I ended up skipping lunch until 3:30, never a good idea. Starving, I dashed to the co-op with a friend, where I snagged a container of pea soup with kale and a skim milk cappuccino. Still hungry, I opted for some hummus and carrots around five. My glucose readings before breakfast were 126 and before dinner, 114.
Day 2: Steel cut oatmeal is my breakfast go-to. High in soluble fiber, it fills me up so I’m not starved by lunch. For fruit, I usually opt for berries, particularly blueberries, which are high in antioxidants. My morning sugar was 105; before lunch was 98.
Day 3: You might notice the repetition in my diet, but I think having fewer choices keeps it easy. Although I do eat regular bacon and eggs when I’m dining out, at home I limit myself to turkey bacon and egg whites. For a bit of sweetness, I added dried cranberries to my spinach salad at lunch. Woke to a 111, with a blood glucose reading of 84 at lunch and 107 before dinner.
Day 4: When I’m craving something sweet in the morning, I turn to a multigrain lite English muffin topped with low-sugar organic jam and cream cheese for protein. Today I met a friend for lunch and went for a turkey and avocado sandwich, followed by a salmon steak and cauliflower for dinner – one of my favorite vegetables. Still hungry, I added a small package of trail mix and a mini Glucerna bar around 9pm. This morning’s blood sugar was 115. At 6pm, it reached 148 – a little high but nothing to worry about.
Day 5: Out for a local fair, my husband and I headed to one of our favorite restaurants for a Woodstock salad – veggies mixed with seeds, raisins and hummus. Dinner was a take-out ahi tuna salad. My sugars were 119 before breakfast, 94 before lunch and 103 before dinner.
Day 6: Saturday was breakfast out – a dish of lox and veggies with cream cheese on the side, minus the bagel. Lunch was a clean-the-refrigerator salad, while dinner was fresh sea scallops and zucchini noodles with mushrooms and dried tomatoes. Gave my fingers a rest and took a day off from taking sugars.
Day 7: Sunday rocked egg whites, turkey bacon and Ezekiel bread for breakfast, while lunch was a salad with left over salmon. A grilled chicken Cobb salad eaten out finished the week, along with an Old Fashioned cocktail. A perfect 100 greeted me in the morning, followed by a 116 before dinner and a 120 before bed.
After thirty years with either gestational diabetes or type 2, you’ll see that my meal choices are pretty limited, circling around vegetables, fish, yogurt, oatmeal, nuts and other healthy options. This is not to say that I don’t ever down a chunk of dark chocolate or a handful of chips. Or, even a late-night bowl of Ben & Jerry’s. But about ninety percent of the time, I try to stay away from foods guaranteed to spike my sugars.
My regimen may look incredibly boring. And, sometimes it is. But with my goal of keeping my A1C readings at 6.1 or below, and using food mainly for fuel rather than entertainment, so far it has worked for me.
And, of course, it may not work the same for you. Ask your doctor or nutritionist for help in crafting a plan that’s right for you.