Get Organized for Health and Diabetes
My own patients and clients – whether they have diabetes or not – are better able to reach their health goals when they embrace structure and routine. To give you a few more ideas about becoming more organized for diabetes and other health concerns, I interviewed Susan Weiner, MS, RDN, CDE, CDN, co-author of The Complete Diabetes Organizer: Your guide to a Less Stressful and More Manageable Diabetes Life and Diabetes: 365 Tips for Living Well.
Jill: You co-authored The Complete Diabetes Organizer published in 2013. Diabetes is such a time-intensive and energy-intensive health condition, so being organized is critical to success. Can you share a couple of your favorite tips from the book?
Susan: Here are two simple organizing tips to help reduce daily stress and improve your diabetes self-care management.
- Keep a checklist. Use checklists for remembering, so you can use your brain for thinking! Start by keeping a checklist for your diabetes supplies. Create a list of everything you need at home and away from home. For example, monitoring your blood sugar can be challenging when you have diabetes. Try keeping a checklist to make the most of those precious morning minutes. And try to do as much as you can the night before. For example, pack your diabetes supply bag the night before. Your list might look like this.
- Check your blood sugar
- Check your continuous glucose monitor (if you wear one)
- Mediate, stretch or exercise
- Take your insulin and medications
- Eat breakfast
- Attend to your children/spouse/elderly parents’ needs
- Attend to your pets
- Brush your teeth, shower
- Get Dressed
- Double check your diabetes supplies for the day
- Pack your food for the day
- Create a launching pad. A launching pad is one place in your home to corral all the items each family member must have before he or she leaves the house. Your launching pad could be next to your front door, at the entrance to your garage or the entrance or exit most used. Your diabetes supply bag should be placed at the launching pad before you go to sleep, so it’s ready to grab and go when you’re ready to leave your home. Stock your diabetes supply bag before you go to sleep. Make sure blood sugar monitoring supplies and your medications are at the ready. Insulin, lunch and snacks can easily go from the refrigerator to tote early in the morning. Here’s a great tip: Keep an index card pinned to your diabetes supply bag with a checklist of all the items you’ll need inside for the day. You can quickly double check the contents in the morning to make sure you don’t forget anything you need for the day ahead.
Jill: What are some aha moments people with diabetes might expect once they become organized with blood glucose monitoring?
Susan: You may experience a major aha moment when you use a checklist for your morning routine. You’ll feel accomplished and less stressed-out for the day ahead.
Jill: Do you have a preferred schedule for self-monitoring blood sugar levels?
Susan: I don’t have a preferred schedule, because each person’s needs are different. But I do recommend using a routine. That way you are less likely to forget to check your blood sugar. In addition, you’ll have information about your blood sugars, which can help you and your health care provider make adjustments in your treatment plan as necessary.
Jill: Please share a diabetes-friendly, heart-healthy meal that you can put together quickly if you have organized your kitchen and shopping.
Susan: It’s smart to keep your kitchen counter-tops clutter free, so you can prepare your healthful meals with ease. And keep your refrigerator and pantry well stocked and organized, so you can find what you need easily. Here’s Susan’s Simple Supper:
- Keep a steamer bag of your favorite veggies in your freezer. Try a stir-fry medley or broccoli florets.
- Cook several chicken breasts in advance, and freeze them in individual portions. Make sure to season the chicken breasts with plenty of garlic and pepper for extra flavor. Defrost one in the refrigerator the night before you plan to eat it. When it’s time to prepare dinner, you may need to microwave it for about a minute. But if you defrost it in advance, it should be ready to go.
- Chop the chicken breast and add it to the veggies.
- Toss it over ½ cup of pre-cooked quinoa or 1/3 cup rinsed canned beans. Add 1 tablespoon of extra-virgin olive oil.
- Serve with cold water with sliced cucumber and lemon.
Susan is the owner of Susan Weiner Nutrition , PLLC. She was named the 2015 AADE Diabetes Educator of the Year and is the recipient of the 2016 Dare to Dream award from the Diabetes Research Institute. Susan is the Diabetes in Real Life Column Editor for Endocrine Today.
Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, CHWC, FAND, is a Nutrition, Culinary & Diabetes Expert, Wellcoach®-certified health and wellness coach, Freelance Writer, Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and Certified Diabetes Educator. She's also the author of four books, including a best-seller. She's a nationally-recognized media expert in high demand for print and online interviews, as well as corporate and one-on-one nutritional counseling. Jill's philosophy is that nutrition science should be understandable, realistic and oh so delicious.
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Like most of my patients and clients, I lead a busy life. You probably do too. Fortunately, you don’t need weeks, days or even hours to start living better and healthier. This blog offers timesaving strategies and bite-sized nutrition and health information. Come by often for tips and inspiration to healthy living – no matter how busy you are. I am a registered dietitian nutritionist offering credible, practical nutrition advice to keep busy people healthy. Yes indeed, we can be both busy and healthy.