March is National Nutrition Month and its theme this year is “Get Your Plate in Shape.” National Nutrition Month is a campaign launched each year in March by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics, to educate and inform all Americans about nutrition.
So, what does it mean to "get your plate in shape"? It's the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics' way of encouraging us all to
see that fruits and vegetables make up half the food on your plate
switch to fat-free or low-fat milk and dairy
make at least half your grains whole
vary your protein choices; e.g., try eating seafood twice a week, and include beans more often in your meals.
This is good nutritional guidance for everyone in general, but it's particularly good advice for people with diabetes. Your diet is one of the most basic ways you control diabetes, so making an effort to eat a healthy diet is vital.
So you say that you know what a healthy diet is, but it’s hard to follow it. Before you can get your plate in shape, you will have to put into practice 2 habits or routines: planning your meals, and mindfulness while eating.
Nobody has enough time and money to go to the grocery store every day and then just make whatever meals we feel like. To ensure that you are eating healthy foods, you have to do some meal planning. This means
planning your meals around the vegetable (so that a veggie will always be included)
having plenty of fresh fruit on hand
stocking your pantry with a variety of whole grains
Being mindful means being in the moment and present when you are eating--not watching television or reading the newspaper or talking on your phone. Focusing on your food and the eating experience can actually help you feel more satisfied. Notice I said “satisfied,” not full. Being mindful will also make it easier for you to realize when you're no longer hungry and to know that you will probably be eating again in a few hours.
Get your plate in shape, by planning meals ahead and then by being mindful not only of what you're eating but also of your feelings of hunger and satiety.
If you are interested in reading more about certain nutrition topics, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics offers a Good Nutrition Reading List that includes a diabetes section. If you have not seen a registered dietitian, this month is the time.