(Still) Learning To Plan My Meals
Last updated: June 2023
Being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes means life has changed. For some, in small ways; for others, in big ways. For me, it was a major life event. It was also a ‘learning experience.’ I have come to dislike learning experiences mainly because they are usually not positive. Helpful, yes, but mostly, not positive as you go through the experience. Although type 2 diabetes is a learning experience I wouldn’t wish on anyone, it hasn’t all been a downer either. I can honestly say on the upside, for me, having diabetes has taught me a lot about myself. It has taught me to eat healthfully. It has taught me to plan when and what I eat. It has also taught me, I don’t have to plan alone.
When I look back over a number of years, history tells me a lot. I recall my mom always wanting my brothers and I to eat breakfast. We rarely did. Although mom wanted us to, it was never an expectation. Mom and dad both ate breakfast before they went to work but we managed to avoid it before going to school. When I had kids, I changed history. I made breakfast a priority for them. No skipping. Because of this they still eat breakfast of some kind before heading out the door. It was still not that important for me though. When I was diagnosed, I decided it was time to make myself a priority. I had to start eating breakfast because according to my registered dietitian (RD) breakfast was essential. Funny thing...breakfast didn’t have to be breakfast. It could be leftovers. She really encouraged me to think outside the breakfast box. Healthy food was emphasized, not breakfast food. I pretty much have breakfast everyday, not just on work days.
When the kids were living at home, I made their lunches for school, even work. I still assemble my husband’s lunch before he leaves for work which usually consists of leftovers from last night's dinner. I manage to make everyone’s lunches...but my own. That is a work in progress but I’m getting better. Three out of five days, I make my lunch for work. I eat out at a restaurant on Wednesday’s, something I’m reluctant to give up. I choose carefully what I eat when out so I believe this balances it. That leaves a fifth work day where lunch could be an issue. I know if I don’t make my lunch I will be relying on a drive-thru. I stay away from the hamburger joints because I can’t control what I will chose. I drive up to the speaker with resolve and leave with a 1500 calorie meal. Easier to avoid. I do however visit the coffee shop drive-thru where I can get soup, the half bun that goes with it and sometimes a coffee. The donut/muffin/cookie that is part of the ‘deal’, I give away. What can I say? It works for me. On the weekend, lunch is observed, usually because of my husband. He makes sure we both get that meal.
Between my husband and I, we make sure dinner is a go. But planning still sometimes falls short on the weekend. For example, last Saturday, we were heading out to do some shopping for the house in our neighboring city. We ate a light breakfast (light on carbs) that morning; a light lunch at home as well (not enough carbs) before we managed to rally and get out the door. We were longer shopping than we expected. We got home without a plan for dinner. We headed to the grocery store and picked up some healthy food to cook. By this point, not only was I starving, I was getting grumpy. The cheezies got opened. Then I had salad to appease my guilt. Then a slice of bread. Then my healthy dinner. There was no way my body was going to handle all that food well. I felt crummy all evening and the next morning my blood sugar was 8. Life got in the way of my planning. Thankfully, that doesn’t happen often.
In case you didn’t notice, I don’t meal plan alone. My husband is often the one who thinks ahead to talk about our plan. Planning my meals helps me to keep my diabetes on track. It seems I have mastered breakfast most of the time. Lunch is still a work in progress during the work week. I’ll have to keep trying to improve that one with more dedication to planning ahead. Dinner is usually a joint plan between my husband and I. Much like other aspects of diabetes, I’m glad I don’t have to do it alone.
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