Eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight becomes even more critical when you have diabetes. Carrying excess weight on your frames increases your risk of diabetes-related complications and makes it harder for your body to manage your blood sugar levels.
Diabetes also makes it more challenging to lose weight since it causes your body to convert sugars into fat instead of energy. Still, it’s worth the effort to shed those excess pounds off your frames since as little as a five percent weight loss significantly improves blood sugar regulation and other diabetic outcomes.
Losing Weight With Diabetes
Fortunately for people with diabetes, many diets are suitable for them. Avoid starvation diets and weight loss pills, and focus on consuming healthy, low-sugar foods. You want foods that are low in calories while being rich in fiber and other nutrients.
Some of the popular diets people with diabetes can experiment with include:
- Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet: The main benefit of this diet is improving heart health and lowering blood pressure by reducing salt consumption, which often leads to weight loss. It recommends sticking to foods like low-fat dairy products, nuts, poultry, fish, whole grains, fruits, and vegetables. It also involves limiting your alcohol, sugar, and processed-foods consumption.
- Paleolithic Diet: This diet is based on the foods hunter-gatherers consumed during the paleolithic era. It prioritizes lean meats, leafy vegetables, fish, seeds, nuts, and fruits. It recommends avoiding starchy grains like white rice, legumes, dairy products, processed foods, and sugar.
- Mediterranean diet: This diet is based on traditional dishes consumed by cultures around the Mediterranean coast, like Spain, Morocco, and Italy. It features low-fat dairy, beans, poultry, seafood, whole grains, vegetables, fruits, seeds, nuts, and olive oil. The diet also allows you to eat a small amount of sweets, butter, and red meat.
People with diabetes looking to lose weight should aim to eat and snack regularly throughout the day instead of going long periods without food. Skipping meals can lead to either low or high blood sugar if you make up for the missed meal later in the day.
As a diabetic, the main staples of your diet should be:
- Lean proteins;
- Less processed, high-fiber carbs;
- Vegetables and fruits;
- Low-fat dairy products, and;
- Healthy vegetable fats like olive oil, canola oil, nuts, and avocado.
Your carbohydrate intake should be closely managed since the starches in carbs are converted into sugars by the body. Half of your daily calorie intake should come from carbohydrates like vegetables, fruits, and complex carbs.
Lowering your carbohydrate intake might reduce how much supplemental insulin you need, and it makes it easier to lose weight.
Six Meals For People With Diabetes Looking To Lose Weight
1) Breakfast Egg Wraps
Here’s a simple meal you can enjoy in the mornings to kickstart your metabolism. It gives you a good amount of protein (18 grams), vegetables, and healthy vegetable fats. Here’s how you make it:
- Scramble two egg whites and an egg in a non-stick pan that’s been coated with cooking spray.
- Place the scrambled eggs in the center of a low-carb or multigrain tortilla.
- Top the eggs with a quarter cup of your favorite vegetables like green onions, avocado, reduced-fat cheese, and chopped tomatoes.
- Microwave everything for about 20 seconds to soften the tortilla and wrap it around the filling.
2) Easy French Toast
Don’t worry if you’re too busy to make French toast on most days. The prepared ingredients freeze well, so just make extra whenever you have the time. Here’s how to make this meal:
- Blend one egg, one egg white, ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract, ¼ cup of nonfat milk, and ¼ teaspoon of ground cinnamon in a bowl.
- Soak two or three slices of whole wheat bread into the mixture (you can freeze extra for busy days).
- Coat a non-stick pan with cooking spray and lightly brown the pieces of bread. Top the French toast with ½ cup of your favorite fruits. Avoid using syrup since it’s loaded with processed sugars.
3) Tuna Salad
Here’s a quick lunch meal that’s loaded with 54 grams of protein, 35 grams of carbs, and 6 grams of fiber. It’s an excellent post-workout meal since it gives your body all it needs to rebuild muscle tissues damaged during your workouts.
Here’s how to make it:
- Drain a 6-ounce can of tuna and pour its contents into a bowl. Add three tablespoons of light Italian vinaigrette dressing. Feel free to use other dressings as well.
- Add ½ a cup of chopped tomatoes and 1/8 cup of healthy nuts like avocado or olives.
- Mix everything and pour on two cups of spinach leaves. Enjoy the salad with an ounce of whole-grain crackers.
4) Turkey Avocado Wrap
This simple meal contains 32 grams of protein, 30 grams of carbohydrates, and 8 grams of fiber. Here’s how to make it:
- Grab a low-card or multigrain piece of naan, flatbread, or tortilla. Top it with a tablespoon of sun-dried tomato pesto, olive tapenade, or basil.
- Add some roasted turkey slices, tomatoes, spinach leaves, avocado, and reduced-fat provolone.
- Roll up the wrap and store it in the fridge until you’re ready to eat.
5) Chicken, Walnut, And Fruit Salad
This dish packs 37 grams of protein, 27 grams of protein, and 12 grams of fiber. It’s also an easy meal to make for dinners. Here’s how to prepare the dish:
- Cut some grilled boneless chicken into smaller slices and add about four cups of dark green lettuce, one cup of fruit, a quarter cup of walnuts, two tablespoons of light balsamic, and two tablespoons of blue cheese.
- Mix everything and enjoy.
6) Spaghetti And Mushroom Dinner
This meal gives you 18 grams of protein, 60 grams of carbohydrates, and 9 grams of fiber. Here’s how to make it:
- Prepare the spaghetti and sauté a cup of sliced mushrooms with one and a half teaspoons of olive oil.
- Add ¾ cup of marinara sauce to the mushrooms, cover the pain, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat and simmer for ten minutes.
- Serve the spaghetti and pour the mushroom and marinara sauce.
- Make a salad to go with the spaghetti by mixing two cups of spinach, ¼ cup of garbanzo or kidney beans, ½ cup of carrots, and a tablespoon of light salad dressing.
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