Healthy Eating While Self-Isolating With Type 2 Diabetes

If you have diabetes and you’re stuck at home self-isolating, wrangling up nutritious meals can be challenging. But you still have to find a way to eat right.

Your first step might be to find a dietitian who can lay out what you need to eat and what you need to have on hand while you're in quarantine. But talk to the people you know, too. Go online to find others with diabetes. Find out how they're handling the challenge. More than 30 million people in the U.S. have diabetes. There's help out there.

What Is a Good Diet?

If you have diabetes, whether you're under quarantine or not, eating well means choosing healthy foods, in the right amount, at the right time, while keeping blood sugar levels healthy.

Stock up on healthy foods that will last (so you don't have to go out to the grocery store as often), and stay away from the bad stuff (sugary drinks, refined grains like those in white bread, and the big culprits: chips, cookies, and candy). Do that, and you can come out of your quarantine healthy and happy.

What You Need

To pull off a successful quarantine with diabetes, you need to stock up on healthy foods that let you enjoy balanced meals regularly.

If your blood sugar level starts to fall, it's good to have some simple carbs around to get it back up. Things like:

  • Hard candies
  • Ice pops
  • Gelatin
  • Soda (regular, non-diet)
  • Honey
  • Jam

Isolation can be boring and stressful, and that can lead to some bad eating habits. But you can eat healthy, even in isolation.

One way: the plate method.

Fill half your plate with non-starchy veggies, like broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and green beans. Don't worry about keeping fresh ones on hand. Frozen vegetables often provide as many vitamins as fresh ones.

Fill a quarter of your plate with proteins like beans, chicken, turkey, or eggs. Beans are a great protein choice and are easy to store long term. A whole chicken can last a year in the freezer. Pieces are good for 9 months or so frozen. Eggs last 3-5 weeks in the fridge.

Fill the last quarter of your plate with starchy foods like whole wheat pasta, potatoes, or beans. Pasta and beans will keep for a long time on your shelf. And you can find potatoes in your supermarket's frozen food aisle.

Canned fruits (in 100% fruit juice without added sugar) and veggies without salt may be a good choice, too. And don't forget to get plenty of water. The water content of your food and other beverages counts.

WebMD Medical Reference Reviewed by Brunilda Nazario, MD on July 22, 2020

Sources

SOURCES:

American Diabetes Association: "Nutrition: Eating doesn't have to be boring."

CDC: "National Diabetes Statistics Report," "Diabetes: Eat Well," "Diabetes and Carbs," "Diabetes Meal Planning."

American Diabetes Association: "Planning for Coronavirus."

Muscogiuri, G. European Journal of Clinical Nutrition, "Nutritional recommendations for CoVID-19 quarantine."

Bouzari, A. The Journal of Agricultural and Food Chemistry, "Vitamin retention in eight fruits and vegetables: a comparison of refrigerated and frozen storage."

U.S. Department of Health & Human Services: Foodsafety.gov: "Cold Food Storage Chart."

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: eatright.org: "Getting Groceries During Quarantine."

Mayo Clinic: "Water: How much should you drink every day?"

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