A healthy meal plan isn’t just for people with diabetes. In fact, the dietary guidelines recommended for people with diabetes are the same as those recommended for the rest of the population. That means your family doesn’t need to prepare separate meals for you at home – they can simply adopt your healthy habits. Follow these 10 tips to build a balanced and healthy meal plan for your whole family.
- Enjoy a variety of foods.
Not one food can deliver all the necessary nutrients for you and your family, so you should make sure that your family eats different types of food.
- Make starchy foods part of most meals.
A small portion of good quality carbohydrates helps to give the body energy. Choose high-fibre starchy foods – like high-fibre breakfast cereals, whole grain bread and wholewheat pasta – over more refined versions for sustained energy to help your family through the work or school day.
- Eat dried beans, split peas, lentils and soya regularly.
Beans and legumes are good sources of protein, fibre and B vitamins, and they also help to improve blood glucose control. Aim to include beans and legumes in your family’s menu at least twice a week.
- Eat plenty of vegetables and fruit every day.
Vegetables and fruit contain loads of different nutrients, like fibre, vitamins and minerals. Your family should eat at least five portions of vegetables and fruit daily to make sure they get a variety of nutrients needed for health.
- Have milk, maas or yoghurt every day.
Encourage your family to enjoy at least three servings of dairy foods per day to ensure they develop strong, healthy teeth and bones. Aim to choose versions with less added sugar where possible.
- Drink lots of clean safe water.
Water is the best way for your family to stay hydrated and should be their first choice when choosing a beverage. It is the cheapest yet best drink of all. Start your children on water when they are young and it will remain a good habit for the rest of their lives.
- Use salt and food high in salt sparingly.
Eating too much salt increases your risk of high blood pressure (hypertension) and health conditions in the long term. Let your family enjoy the natural taste of foods by not adding salt to meals and avoiding salty ingredients in your cooking, such as stock cubes and soup powders.
- Use sugar and food and drinks high in sugar sparingly.
Limit foods with added sugar, like cookies, sweets, chocolates and sugar-sweetened drinks. Keep sugary foods as ‘special occasion’ treats, and practice portion control when you do enjoy them.
- Fish, chicken, lean meat and eggs can be eaten daily.
Protein helps to provide the body with strength and structure, while repairing damage and promoting growth. Including protein in your meals also helps to improve blood glucose control. Oily fish is also a great source of omega-3 fatty acids which helps to protect against heart disease.
- Choose good quality fats.
Beware of eating excess saturated and trans fats. When you and your family use fats, choose unsaturated sources like olive and canola oil, oily fish, tub margarines, avocado, peanut butter and nuts.
Pick n Pay Health Hotline
Did you know that Pick n Pay employs a registered dietitian to provide free food and nutrition-related advice to the public? Whether looking for guidelines on managing your condition, weight loss tips, healthy eating tips for kids, how to manage food allergies, how to interpret food labels or any other food-related query you have always wanted answered, our registered dietitian is just a phone call away.
Contact the Pick n Pay Health Hotline on 0800 11 22 88 or email [email protected] to start your nutrition conversation.