I guess I’m hopping on the “what I eat in a day” bandwagon.
This trend has existed long before the TikTok videos and Instagram reels in which vloggers share what they typically eat on any given day of the week – it’s also been something that tons of celebrities have been asked to share in interviews. And while I’m far from a celeb (especially Gwyneth Paltrow, who allegedly is sustained by a cup of coffee, bone broth, and steamed veggies on a day-to-day basis), I do have a certain meal routine that’s centered around my diabetes. Nobody asked me about it, but I figured, why not share it on the blog? After all, so many of the “what I eat in a day” videos and articles I’ve viewed sound a little too perfect. I often wonder how realistic folks are when they’re covering this topic, so I’m going to be pretty matter-of-fact when going through my “meal plan”, and cover how it varies on a weekday versus a weekend. So here we go:
Breakfast on a weekday: I am usually eating breakfast between 7:30 A.M. and 8:30 A.M. I love all breakfast foods, but lately my go-to has been a baked oatmeal. I prep this myself on Sundays and it makes enough servings for 6, so I’m covered for breakfast for the week. I add a couple of scoops of protein powder to it and top it with berries so that I make sure I’m getting a nice balance of carbs, fruits, and protein. One serving is roughly 30-35 grams of carbs, and I’ve found that my blood sugar fares well whenever I eat this meal, maybe spiking a bit in the hour after consuming it but settling back down nicely in no time.
Breakfast on a weekend: Anything goes! My wake-up time could be as early as 8 or as late as 10:30 or even 11 (though I don’t like sleeping my mornings away). Depending on when I wake up, I might want a breakfast sandwich or a protein smoothie, but there are other times that my partner will make me a breakfast consisting of something like hash browns, eggs, bacon, and salsa – no matter what we do, I try to keep breakfast no more than 30-40 carbs because that feels like a sweet spot for my blood sugar levels, whether I’ll be exercising in the hours after eating or even if I’m just lounging around until the afternoon.
Lunch on a weekday: I almost always have a salad or a sandwich. I like to load up my salads with lots of extras – tons of veggies, feta, bacon bits, croutons – and always top them with a protein like hardboiled eggs or chicken. If I’m having a sandwich, I’ll almost always eat it with a side of baby carrots or veggie straws (and if I’m in the office, I might indulge in a buffalo chicken wrap which comes with house-made chips – so yummy but much higher carb compared to what I’d make at home). I will eat an apple or any other fruit I have on hand for something sweet. My blood sugar is usually good after lunch, but if I see it going up too quickly or if it stays higher than I’d like it to for an extended period of time, I’ll combat that with a walk in my neighborhood or around my office suite.
Lunch on a weekend: Admittedly, it’s almost non-existent. If I have leftovers from the night before, I’ll eat that, or maybe my partner and I will split a box of frozen samosas or share a cheese plate so we’re not totally starving by dinnertime. It’s just what works best for me since all of my weekends are totally different in terms of our plans.
Dinner on a weeknight: I like to either meal prep on a Sunday night and have whatever I make carry me through the first few days of the week, or I’ll make something on a Monday evening that will produce my dinners for the next few nights. I’m a semi-lazy cook, so I like tossing veggies, starches, and proteins on a sheet pan and roast everything up (I love recipes from this website). And I have a sweet tooth, so dinner is often followed by a single serving of ice cream or a chocolate-covered frozen banana. My carb intake at dinner hovers around 45-60 grams of carbs, which I find works well because I get busy in the evenings catching up on chores around the house or running errands. The extra carbs help me stay level (and full).
Dinner on a weekend: I enjoy whenever my partner and I have a chance to make food together, because he’s a great cook and very conscientious of my diabetes when making something to eat. He helps me carb count and if we’re going out somewhere to eat/ordering takeout, he’ll offer to split higher-carb dishes with me so I can still have them without totally wrecking my blood sugar. I don’t really place limits on my carb intake for meals out because I love getting sushi, flatbread, and other high-carb menu items – I just try to keep an eye on my blood sugar levels in the hours after a meal out so I can stay on top of highs.
Snacks: I’m a grazer through and through, meaning that it’s hard for me to resist the temptation to snack on foods in my pantry throughout any given day. So I try not to keep bottomless bags of anything in my home, though I do keep things like bags of light kettle corn and single-serving snack bars on hand. But I’m also a sucker for a bowl filled with chocolates like Reese’s or Ghirardelli squares which I will shamelessly help myself to, never having more than a couple in one day because ~*balance*~ matters. Grazing can really screw up my blood sugar, though, so I try to be smart and time it so any snacks coincide with periods of higher activity (such as before I vacuum or head out to run errands).
Drinks: I try to stay hydrated on a daily basis. Besides plain water, I drink Powerade Zero to get in extra electrolytes and I’m an absolute sucker for fizzy and carbonated drinks as long as they are carb-free. I do drink beer/wine/cocktails from time to time that definitely have extra carbs, but I have learned over the years how my blood sugar will respond to a given alcohol and plan accordingly around that.
So, that’s it – an honest explanation of what I eat in a day as a person with diabetes. Some days I am more balanced and “healthy” than others, and some days I just go to town and whatever I like. My relationship with food will never be perfect because my diabetes undoubtedly influenced it, but that’s a post for a different day. For now, I’m off to have a snack to keep my blood sugar (which is 113 mg/dL as I write this) steady throughout my evening workout routine.