I’ve come to realize living with diabetes it is often beneficial to have some regular habits – food, activity, sleep, etc. While I love a surprise, I also am a creature of habit in my day to day life.
With so many changes to life recently it seems like every habit I had has been thrown up in the air and I’m trying to do my best to catch all the pieces as they fall down in a different way.
During the coronavirus issue, I’ve had to figure things out differently. While I thankfully haven’t had a change to my work routine, having kids and a husband at home ALL THE TIME is a change to the routine that starts right away in the morning. It’s been a slow change, but I’ve learned in the past several weeks that when life hands you a change that you didn’t ask for you have to move with it, adapt to it, in order to keep yourself grounded.
When it comes to diabetes management, as life changes it can throw a wrench in things, making the other adjustments even harder to manage. The most important thing I’ve learned is to talk to those you live with and discuss the changes in routine; explain how this seems to be impacting things. The more they know as you live so close together 24/7 the better they can help you.
Some of the big changes that have been an adjustment for me are activity type and time, food options, getting the groceries and being less available for my kids. Exercise is a part of every day for me and I had a good plan for what to do, how long, how to adjust, etc. With my kids at home and my husband doing the home schooling, I’ve had the chance to work longer into the afternoon (not later night after my kids are in bed) so I see them a bit less in the day time even though I work at home. My exercise routine is now a different time – either first thing in the morning if I can get up before everyone in the house is awake (yah!) OR later afternoon with kids and husband as we spend some family time being active. It has taught me a few different tricks for my diabetes management that I hadn’t planned on learning but has built up a bit of new strategy that hopefully will help as I work with someone to manage their diabetes.
I am someone who loves, literally LOVES, grocery shopping. I’ve perfected the art of shopping with 2 kids along and can still look at things, read labels, and compare things while getting everything on my list. My husband now does the shopping and the “getting” of things that are needed. I feel left out of this part of food management that has always been my thing to do for the family. I miss it plain and simple. But I have also learned I can actually trust my husband to get what is actually on the list, and I’m pretty proud of the fact that my previous education to him in label reading and evaluation of products means he can substitute for something if needed. It has allowed me to loosen up a bit, even if I still miss the shopping part.
I’ve also learned a few great things to keep on hand since we really try to limit going to the store too often. Soups are handy to make. Simple meals are easier to put together – no more Quiche Lorraine – just kidding!
We eat a lot of fresh veggies and fruit typically. As you know these go bad or get used up pretty quick if you are eating them every day. So, stocking up on some of the following can make meal prep in a busy at-home life easier.
TIPS: Here are some food products to stock up on during our stay-at-home orders that will make meal prep easier!
Beans – so many options to use these wonderful powerhouses of nutrition for – soup/salad, casseroles, brownies (oh yes, black bean brownies are so yummy!)
Frozen Veggies – a great thing to keep on hand in quantity for soup, steaming or adding to a skillet with protein like chicken/fish/tofu, etc. Frozen Cauliflower rice is a nice substitute for potatoes and cooks fast.
Fresh Veggies – Carrots, celery, zucchini, cauliflower, curly leaf kale. All of these keep well for a while compared to other more perishable veggies/greens.
Frozen Fruit – Berries of all kinds, mango, pineapple
Fresh Fruit – apples, orange, clementine, avocado – these keep the best and can be purchased in more bulk quantity.
Pouched Fruit – Kids may love the fruit and veggie applesauce pouches
Nuts/nut butters/seeds – Great protein and healthy fat and very filling for between meal snacking
Grains – Old fashioned oats (you can grind these in a good food processor to make flour), quinoa and wild rice cook well and can be made in bulk to use through the week in many types of dishes
Popcorn seeds – easy snack that can be quickly cooked in a large pot with oil on the stove. ½ cup seeds, 1 tbsp oil. Heat the oil, add the seeds, cover and wait for popping then shake, shake, shake until the popping slows down. Top with seasonings and drizzle of butter – super yum!
Starchy Veggies – Potatoes, Sweet potatoes, winter squash. All of these keep well and can be stored for a longer time.
Pasta – aim for more whole grain or those made with beans or lentils for a lower glycemic impact.
Flour – Whole wheat, All purpose GF flour
A change in habit has been hard, but it has also taught me to be flexible and learn a bit in the process. Give yourself a pat on the back for all the adjustment you have had to make recently and let us know if we can help in any way as you navigate the changes in your routine.
Integrated Diabetes Services, Director of Lifestyle and Nutrition.
Jennifer holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Human Nutrition and Biology from the University of Wisconsin. She is a Registered (and Licensed) Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator, and Certified Trainer on most makes/models of insulin pumps and continuous glucose monitoring systems.