By Lisa Shaker-Knopp (LowFatLowCarb.com)
I have learned many things about the pancreas and how it works. One of the most important facts is that eating many smaller meals more times a day helps to keep the blood sugar level happy. You never want it to dip too low because that is when the trouble starts. When the blood sugar drops too low, the body wants more sugar, and adding more sugar creates a vicious cycle that is hard to recover from. Meaning, at that point, you feel like eating anything and everything that is not nailed down. Not a good situation, especially if you are trying to watch your weight or lose it. Very important to try and eat something every four to five hours, even if its just a small protein snack, like rolled up turkey breast, or a protein supplement.
Planning ahead is the other key. I find when I invest that time, it pays off by keeping me healthy and eating well. In the end, it makes life easier. You can cook once and eat twice by making more than you need and enjoying leftovers. I food prep every Sunday, because I know once Monday comes I will be slammed.
The problem happens when you get caught off guard and you don’t have what you need to get a meal on the table quickly once you get home. You put yourself in danger of going off your program entirely. I call this a food emergency. When that happens, we will always go for quick, fast foods, that are usually processed and full of empty calories, and tons of sugars and fats.
Yes, it does take some strategic planning, but in the end your health and your weight will be in control. Here are a few thoughts for you to keep you on track:
- Make a list. Take some time to sit down and make a grocery list of all the items you will need to prepare your meals for the week. This will save you money as well. And whatever you do, don’t go to the store hungry.
- Buy some frozen vegetables. When I am pressed for time, or have not gotten to the store yet, I can pull out some frozen veggies and whip up a meal pretty quickly. I also use the frozen vegetables to throw in the crock pot and get a meal ready before work.
- Get pre-prepped items. Many grocery stores have foods that are pre-washed, or pre-chopped, like lettuces and produce. They cost more money, but worth the time savings. Some markets have pre-cooked meats, as well. But watch the ingredients for hidden sugars.
- Buy some jarred and canned foods. I am usually wary of canned foods, but I don’t mind getting some items like jarred vegetables like roasted red peppers, banana peppers, or pickles. Canned salmon, chicken or tuna are good fast protein options. I also keep chicken stock on hand. Make sure to look for MSG free brands.
- If you are really crunched for time, at least choose healthy options. Some days will still get the best of you, and that’s okay if you still choose wisely. You can always get some hard boiled eggs, or a rotisserie chicken on your way home. Protein is the key to keeping your blood sugars level. Always do the best you can rather than aim for perfection. Don’t let a busy day unravel your intentions. You don’t have to order pizza just because you had a busy day, there are many other options.