How to Stress-Proof Your Diet When You’re a Diabetes Caregiver

Between counting the carbs in your loved one’s food, tracking their blood sugar readings and monitoring their medicine, you can get so burned out that healthy eating falls by the wayside. Here’s how to stress-proof your diet.

Stacey Feintuch
Reviewed by
Philip Levy, MD

Keep a food diary, and do this with it. Read it! It’s the best way to learn from the entries that document what, how much and when you eat. Jot down how you’re feeling, too: bored, angry, fed up, just need chocolate, stomach’s growling, etc. You’ll become more conscious of your eating patterns and the food choices you make when you’re stressed. For example, if ice cream is your go-to indulgence when you’re tired, try subbing in nonfat frozen yogurt. If you haven’t tried it in a while, you might be surprised at how much you like the new varieties that have just 100 calories per ½ cup.

Monitor what you munch. Reach for a snack that includes low-fat protein, like red and green bell pepper strips with hummus, grapes with low-fat string cheese or a celery stalk smeared with peanut butter. These foods will keep you satisfied longer, unlike packaged snack foods and sweets, such as candy bars or chips, which will only cure hunger pangs briefly. Plus, the healthy bites are digested slower than carbs, so you’ll be less likely to feel ravenous soon after eating. If you’re craving sweets, indulge in a small piece of dark chocolate; studies have shown it may help protect your cardiovascular system.

Moderation is key. If you can’t leave comfort foods behind, portion them out. Separate a box of cookies into smaller containers or bags so you’ll only eat a serving’s worth.

Still can’t tackle emotional eating? Visit a counselor or therapist to help you deal with your feelings. If time permits, visit a nutritionist, who can help you develop a plan to eat healthfully.

April 2013