A New Book Lays Out Diabetes-Friendly Meal Plans and Teaches Healthy Eating Habits
When people ask former Mrs. Maine America Jaynie Higgins how she always stays in such great shape, she has an answer for them: "It's all about meal planning."
Higgins, a certified personal trainer who has type 1 diabetes, works as a health and wellness consultant. In addition to developing fitness routines, she has also logged countless hours preparing meal plans for people trying to lead healthier lifestyles. Now she's applying that skill, along with coauthor David Groetzinger, in the new book, The Ultimate Diabetes Meal Planner, published by the American Diabetes Association.
The book takes a yearlong approach to meal planning, with each week's food and recipe choices mapped out based on daily caloric intake (there are 1,500-, 1,800-, 2,000-, and 2,200-calorie-a-day plans). It's laid out a week at a time, giving 4 weeks of meal plans, recipes, shopping lists, and exchange information for all four seasons of the year.
"A lot of people don't know how to get on a meal plan and stay on it," says Higgins, who also founded an assisted living facility, working with many residents who had diabetes and figuring out how to adjust their menus accordingly. Learning how to eat is one of the most difficult things about a diabetes diagnosis, Higgins says. So she tries to teach important concepts that can be used with or without a meal plan, such as learning how to get enough nutrients each day and how to calculate carbs and caloric intake. "One of the healthiest ways to cook," Higgins says, is to "stop at your grocery store and go to the produce department. Trade a regular cracker for a whole grain cracker. Get string cheese instead [of regular]." Every shopping trip is a chance, she says, to change the way your whole family eats—for the better.