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Tips for Staying Healthy with Diabetes under Restrictive COVID-19 Measures

Natalie Stein
March 22, 2020
Tips for Staying Healthy with Diabetes under Restrictive COVID-19 Measures

Coronavirus cases continue to grow, and the public health crisis is apparently here to stay for a while. States, cities, and counties are taking increasingly strict measures to contain the virus, and it is likely to be in many communities already. Despite the urgency of COVID-19, diabetes is still present, and management is still as necessary as ever to stay healthy. These are some tips on how people with diabetes can continue to manage blood sugar while following orders to “stay at home” or “shelter in place,” staying mentally healthy, and using Lark to make healthy choices easier.

Continue Self-Managing Diabetes


Keeping blood sugar in check lowers the risk for getting respiratory infections, and COVID-19 is exactly such a virus. That means that instead of letting up on your great efforts to control your blood sugar, it is more important than ever to try to hit targets. Eating right, taking medications, testing blood sugar, and getting active are some of the choices you can make to keep yourself healthy.

Lark for Diabetes is there for you, as always, to help you stay on track by reminding you to test blood sugar, log meals, and stay physically active, as well as by offering insights about diabetes management, for starters.

Stay in Touch with Your Doctor


Routine check-ups may be delayed if your healthcare provider’s office or clinic is too busy or your doctor believes it is safer for you to stay away than to possibly come into contact with patients who have coronavirus. Your doctor is still part of your diabetes care program, though. Many providers and insurers are covering telehealth, such as phone and video appointments, so stay in contact with your healthcare provider when you have questions or concerns.

Cook Healthy


Coronavirus or not, everything Lark tells you about weight loss and healthy eating for diabetes still applies. Portion control is key to weight loss, and it may be easier now than before coronavirus if you are eating more meals at home where you may have measuring cups and spoons or be sitting down to meals rather than eating on the go.

Choosing plenty of vegetables and lean proteins, while limiting calorie-dense sugary and other processed foods, is another weight loss strategy that also helps lower blood sugar. It can be tougher to eat this way if supermarkets are barren, but there may be strategies to get nutritious meals until the food supply is back to normal.

  • Frozen vegetables and fruit are long-lasting, nutritious alternatives to fresh ones.
  • Tuna and salmon in cans and pouches, as well as canned oysters, shrimp, mussels, and clams, are high in protein and free or nearly free from carbs.
  • Whole-grain cereal, oatmeal, and pasta, as well as brown rice and quinoa are 
  • If bread is out of stock, this can be a good time to try your hand at baking with whole-grain flour. If yeast breads are too daunting, there are plenty of quick bread recipes that do not require kneading or time for rising. 
  • Dried and canned beans are high in protein and fiber.

If you are able to get your hands on some chicken, fish, or ground turkey, it can easily be frozen for future use.

Support Local Businesses


How does supporting local businesses keep you healthy? Aside from making you feel proud of yourself, it can limit the economic impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on your community. In addition, local businesses may offer some goods and services that can help you out. For example, a local bike repair shop can fix an old bicycle that has been sitting in your garage for years so you can get back on it – and the streets are nearly empty right now, making it safer to bike for exercise.

Treat Yourself


Why not treat yourself to something healthy that will benefit both your mind and your body? Getting takeout or delivery can give you a gourmet meal that can also add variety to your diet if you are not getting all the groceries you are used to having. Some nutritious options might be a salmon salad on mixed greens with walnuts and olive oil-based vinaigrette, or a stir fry with all kinds of vegetables and tofu.

Other treats that may make this time easier on you may include:

  • New exercise equipment, ranging from something small such as a pair of dumbbells or a yoga mat, to a new elliptical trainer or treadmill.
  • A game that your entire family can play together.
  • Subscription to a streaming service that can entertain you through your workouts or give family new options to occupy themselves and keep the peace.

Help Someone


Helping someone can give you a warm fuzzy feeling that actually has benefits for your health. Opportunities to help are everywhere at this time. It could be going grocery shopping for an elderly neighbor while staying safe yourself by shopping during designated early-morning hours that many stores have for high-risk individuals. If you are the one staying at home and getting food delivered, you can show appreciation by cooking a meal or two for someone who is too busy or who lacks ingredients at the moment.

Socialize


How can you socialize when you are social distancing yourself from others, and it is impossible to eat in restaurants together, go to parks, museums, sporting events, or amusement parks, or hit the mall or a movie theater? It will not be the same as your regular in-person meet-ups, but it can keep you engaged and happier than being truly isolated.

These are some tips for staying connected without coming into contact with others.

  • Video chats can let you do activities in tandem, such as sitting down to dinner “together” or watching the same movie at the same time.
  • Most video chat services let you add two, three, or more friends, so you can “hang” with your entire social group.
  • The phone is a great tool for working out together but separately as you talk while walking or hiking.
  • Joining hobby or interest groups on social media to talk about your passions or learn new things.

Wash Your Hands


Hand-washing is still one of the best ways to stop the spread of germs. Stores may be out of hand sanitizer, but soap and water are even better, and more readily available. It may be best to wash your hands every time you enter your home, along with normal times such as before and after eating and using the restroom. Wiping down frequently-touched surfaces in your home and car can also reduce exposure to germs.

The situation is changing daily, and the CDC’s website is a great resource to stay updated on the latest recommendations. Regardless of what happens, your own health is a top priority, and the decisions you make for yourself can have the greatest impact. Lark can help guide you through daily choices to stay as healthy as possible.

Written by Natalie Stein on March 22, 2020
Exercise, Fitness & Nutrition Expert | Lark Health
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