During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is important to maintain regular eating habits, along with practicing physical distancing, to keep our immune system in top condition. Here, we offer strategies to help you stay safe when you have diabetes, plan balanced meals, implement healthy eating habits, and practice healthier grocery shopping.
Disclaimer: Although some information was extracted from global resources to develop this page, many of the resources used are Canadian as this is a Canadian-based website. Please refer to the references for a full list of resources and consult with your healthcare provider in your region for further information.
Table of Contents
Keywords: Grocery shopping, nutrition, meal plan, healthy eating, food guide
1. Shopping For Food1-3
During the COVID-19 pandemic, it is advisable to reduce chances of exposure to the virus. Check recommendations from government agencies responding to the pandemic and stores for suggestions to get food delivered to your home if possible.
If you do grocery shopping, plan ahead.
- Have a shopping list to reduce the time in the store.
- Consider adding some non-perishable food items to avoid the need for frequent trips.
- Try not to make a single, large-scale purchase as it is easier on the supply chain.
- Try to have a mix of vegetables, fruits, whole grain foods, and protein foods in your diet.
- Consider limiting the purchase of processed and prepared foods high in sodium, sugars, or saturated fat if possible.
- Check the nutrition labels to compare products and choose the healthier options.3,4
2. Healthy Nutrition and Meals2-4
Healthy nutrition is a vital part of maintaining health with diabetes. It is important for children and adolescents with diabetes to eat a varied and balanced diet. Please follow the guidance from your team of diabetes healthcare professionals in your region. Note the following general guidelines when planning meals:
- Natural or minimally processed foods such as fresh or dried fruits, yogurt, nuts, whole grains or vegetables which have higher nutritional quality and help people feel full
- Healthy fats (monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats) such as olive oil, nuts, seeds, avocados, and certain types of fish
- Consume fish, meat, eggs, milk, and beans for their protein content
- Include high fiber into the diet to help with feeling full and support a stable blood glucose. Foods rich in fiber include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and legumes
- Excessive consumption of fried and processed foods
- Ultra-processed foods such as instant noodles and packaged snacks
- Foods high in sodium, sugar, refined carbohydrates, and trans-fats
Eat Well Plate2
To learn more about balanced eating and proportioning the plate, please refer to the Eat Well Plate from the Canada Food Guide. According to the Eat Well Plate structure, 1/2 of the plate is made up of fruits and vegetables, 1/4 of the plate contains whole grain foods, and 1/4 of the plate has protein-containing foods. Below are examples of how to use the Eat Well Plate for various meals:
Canada’s Food Guide2
For healthier snacks, try the following ideas recommended by Canada’s Food Guide:
- Whole grain toast with nut butter and banana
- Green leafy salad with orange sections and almonds
- Low fat yogurt topped with frozen berries and walnuts
- Low fat cheese and whole grain crackers with cherry tomatoes
- Sliced cucumber and red pepper with hummus or lower fat yogurt dip
- Whole grain crackers topped with lower fat cottage cheese and peach slices
- Whole grain English muffin topped with apple slices and melted lower fat cheese
- Whole grain cereal with fruit slices and milk or unsweetened fortified plant-based beverage
3. Practicing Healthy Eating2
Despite current changes in daily life routine, try to eat meals and snacks at regular times and keep up with a regular life routine.
During family mealtime, focus on spending time together and put away toys and screens. Try to encourage conversation by using food as a conversation starter. Discuss how food is grown, how nutrition can impact your health, and the role of food in culture and traditions.
Another great way to engage in food is by getting involved in cooking, planning meals and snacks, and other food-related tasks.
4. Meal Planning and Recipes
Suggested Recipe Ideas from Diabetes Canada: Click Here!
For healthy recipes and cookbooks visit: shopdiabetes.org
For more meal planning aids for diabetes management visit: https://archive.childrenwithdiabetes.com/d_08_430.htm
1. Government of Canada. Coronavirus disease (COVID-19): Being prepared. https://www.canada.ca/en/public-health/services/diseases/2019-novel-coronavirus-infection/being-prepared.html
2. Government of Canada. Canada’s Food guide, 2020. https://food-guide.canada.ca/en/
3. Ministry of Health of Brazil. Dietary Guidelines For The Brazilian Population. 1st ed. [ebook], 2015. http://bvsms.saude.gov.br/bvs/publicacoes/dietary_guidelines_brazilian_population.pdf
4. International Diabetes Federation. COVID-19 and Diabetes, 2020. https://www.idf.org/aboutdiabetes/what-is-diabetes/covid-19-and-diabetes.html
Disclaimer: The information regarding COVID-19 is changing constantly as more data become available. The information provided in this website is not meant to replace diabetes healthcare team or public health agencies recommendations, and is intended for information purposes only. Please check with your healthcare providers for any deviations from your care plans.