Time off from training is certainly enjoyable but as a type 1 diabetic my diet remains very important to me. Cutting back from 15hrs+ training per week to a few social mountain bike rides and walking the dog is a big change which requires some significant changes to my daily insulin plan (about a 25% increase). To help me manage this big change I have worked hard to keep my diet in check, counted my carbs closely and tried not to over indulge too often (which usually results in some challenging BGL fluctuations).
For me it’s all about eating healthy, getting in all of the macro nutrients that I need and feeling satisfied throughout the day. I usual think about food as fuel and follow a strict plan to eat what I need and also maintain stable BGLs. Fundamentally I still follow this approach as it is healthy, I feel good and allows me to easily track carbs and insulin requirements. I also keep to eating at regular times during the day (breakfast, lunch and dinner) and ensuring that my main meals are substantial and include all of my nutritionally requirements.
I have generally broken each of my meals down to the following:
- Protein – lean protein (100grams per meal)
- Carbohydrate – Unprocessed and low GI
- Fibre – Leafy vegetables which should also be used to fill you up
- Fat – healthy fats (only a small amount each meal)
As a rule of thumb I also vary my sources of each component with each meal and throughout the week; that is to not eating the same protein, carbohydrate or fat too many times. I do not count calories but eat a healthy portion of protein and fats with each meal, my carbohydrate intake is relatively low by nutritional standards but this assists with my BGL stability and I load up on fresh vegetables with every meal. Fruit is important but can be high in more High GI carbohydrates so I choose low GI fruits and keep them to two pieces per day.
When you break your meals down into these simple components it is then always easy to put together a healthy meal which ticks all of the boxes. The components are also not complicated making most meal quick to put together (<30mins). I have provided a very simple meal options plan below.
- Eggs with whole grain toast, tomatoes, spinach and mushroom
- Rolled oats with berries, seeds/nuts and yoghurt
- Crumpets, natural peanut butter, low fat cottage cheese and fresh mashed blue berries
- Lentil and vegetable soup
- Roast chicken or tuna with mixed salad and legumes (chickpeas/kidney beans/four bean mix)
- Whole grain sandwich or wrap with salad, cheese/avocado and lean meat (turkey/ham/chicken)
- Vegetable frittata and fruit salad
- Grilled chicken with corn tortillas, avocado and salad
- Seamed fish with potatoes and vegetables
- Roasted vegetables with natural yoghurt dressing
- Tofu/egg and vegetable stir fry with soba noodles
- BBQ lamb/beef with roast sweet potato and salad/grilled vegetables
- Mixed unsalted nuts (30-50grams)
- Low fat yoghurt with frozen berries (100grams)
- Fresh fruit (banana, apple, pear, melons, etc)
- Carrot and celery with hummus dip/natural peanut butter/low fat cottage cheese
- Rice cakes with low fat cottage cheese, tomato/beetroot
I’ll admit that I keep myself on a pretty tight leash but during my current break from training I have been trying to indulge myself as much as possible. There’s been plenty of ice cream, some hearty winter pub meals and plenty of glasses of red wine. The thing for me though is that through both my diabetes and my years of training I have learnt to enjoy eating healthy and I now choose to eat this way because it really makes me feel great. Eating should be an enjoyable part of our lives, you should choose things that you and your family enjoy eating and you should create dishes that look, taste and smell amazing!