Popcorn and pre-diabetes?

September 14, 2010

I recently received this question to www.foodpicker.org:

I have pre-diabetes and enjoy having an afternoon snack.  Is microwave popcorn ok for me to have?

Dear popcorn lover,

Popcorn is actually a great option for an afternoon snack for it is high in fiber and offers a sufficient portion size in regards to carbohydrate count.  You can allow yourself 3 Cups per serving.  However, I greatly recommend air popping your own popcorn because it is free of butter, salt, and radiation from the microwave. I airpop my popcorn at home all the time and it is so quick and easy!  You can buy Orville Redenbacher unpopped kernals in any grocery store, and even purchase a cheap air popper on Amazon.com.  You may add a little dash of salt for flavoring, or Molly Mcbutter flavoring which is very low in calories and can also be purchased at any grocery store!

Enjoy your nice big snack!


Healthy Fats?

August 31, 2010

Here is a question that was posted to www.Foodpicker.org

I have pre-diabetes and am confused about fats.  A friend was telling me there are “healthier fats” I should be including in my diet.  I thought all fats were bad?  Could you tell me which fats I should include in my diet (if any)?

Dear ‘Confused about Fats’,

Your friend was absolutely right.  There are several different kinds of fats which include saturated fats, monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats.

The fats you want to stay away from are the saturated fats.  This includes whole-milk dairy products including most cheeses; animal food-based products such as bacon, sausage, and processed meats; butter; egg yolk.

The “healthy” fats are the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.  This includes foods such as avocado, nuts including unprocessed nut butters, olive oil, olives, and fish oils which contain omega 3 fatty acids (known to have many health benefits).  Good sources of Omega 3s are salmon, sardines, canned tuna,  or herring.

I hope this helps you distinguish the bad fats from the healthy fats! Every body needs fats in their diets! Go “nuts”!!

Orange Juice and Diabetes?

June 1, 2010

We received this question to www.foodpicker.org:

“I am worried because I was just diagnosed with diabetes.  I drink freshly squeezed orange juice three times a week.  Does orange juice contain too much sugar and is it advisable for a diabetic to drink juice?”

Dear juice lover,

Although fresh squeezed orange juice is a better option than concentrated juice loaded with extra sugars, eating a whole orange is the best option as it provides less sugar (carbohydrate) than the juice, as well as fiber from the pulp.  Fruit juices raise blood sugars almost instantly and would not be advised for a diabetic.  Drinking lots of water is always the best beverage choice.

It would be recommended to speak with a registered dietetian to create a meal plan specific for your new diabetic diagnosis.

Good luck!

Avoiding Cravings?

May 19, 2010

We recently received this question on foodpicker.org:

I am very new to the diabetes lifestyle.  I have started working out and so far have dropped 8 pounds (I have about 100 pounds still to lose).  I am excited about the weight loss so far, but I am scared that I won’t drop the weight and that I will slip somehow.  Can you offer any advice in regards to cravings (I have a big sweet tooth and enjoy greasy foods such as burgers and fries)?

Dear Craver,

Congratulation for doing so well on your weightloss and exercise plan.  Once you start noticing a difference it can be very motivating! As long as you keep up with the exercise as healthy eating habits you can live a very long and healthy life.   

Lots of people have cravings whether it be greasy foods, salty foods, sweets, chocolate, etc.  If you feel like something sweet, consider a small (4oz) cup of frozen yogurt. However, do not top it off with chocolates or hot fudge.  If you must, get fresh fruit as a topping and try to limit your frozen yogurt out-ings to twice a week.  Dark chocolate is another “healthier” option.  Try to find at least 70% cocoa dark chocolate and if you are in dire need of a sweet have a square or two of the chocolate bar.  Do NOT eat the whole bar of chocolate in one day!  Always consider fresh fruits and berries as a “sweet” to curb your craving.  In terms of the greasy foods, making your own french fries or sweet potato fries using a tiny amount of extra virgin olive oil can be a much healthier option.  Limit the amount of salt included as well.  With summertime approaching, think bbq’s at home and your burger will again be much healthier than if you were to drive through McDonalds. 

However, keep in mind that whole wheat products, fruits, and vegetables are the best options for low blood sugar levels and weight management.  

I hope this helps and keep up the good work 🙂

Frozen Dinners or Restaurant Food?

April 16, 2010

We recently received this question posted to foodpicker.org

“Since I live alone, I rarely cook (if ever).  I have type 2 diabetes and I’m wondering which is better… eating frozen dinners or restaurant food?  Thank you for your help.”
To one who does not like to cook,

Restaurants and frozen dinners are defiantly a quick easy option when it comes to your meals.  However there are some things to look out for.

Frozen Dinners:  Many of the frozen dinners on the market that are lower-calorie meals are Lean Cuisine, Healthy Choice, and Smart Ones.  Make sure to find meals that are low in fat content, and  more importantly low in carbohydrate content.  Try to avoid the starchy carbohydrates like pastas and potatoes.  A benefit of the frozen meals is that the portion size is fairly accurate for one person.

Restaurant Dinners:  The portion sizes at most restaurants are about 3 servings per one meal.  One piece of advice I can give is when your meal comes, ask for half of it to be boxed up and take it home for later.  Try to order lean meats such as chicken or fish.  The best options are when the menu says “baked, broiled, or grilled”.  Stay away from fried foods.  Steamed vegetables are always a great choice for the side dish.  Try to avoid creamy sauces, and ask your server if your food can be prepared in very light oil, intead of butter.

Hope this helps!

Sugarless Candy Question

April 1, 2010

This question was posted to www.FOODPICKER.org

My doctor recently diagnosed me with type 2 diabetes.  I know it is important to watch my sugar intake.  Is sugarless candy really sugarless?

Dear Sugarless,

I want you to remember that “sugar-free” does not mean calorie free.  Most diabetic meal plans do allow sugar as part of the meal plan, but make sure to talk to your Dietitian or Certified Diabetes Educator (CDE) first!  It is more important to pay attention to carbohydrate intake rather than the amount of sugar in foods.  Some products that are sugar-free still contain carbohydrate, so always check the food labels!

The American Diabetes Association agrees with the FDA that saccharine, acesulfame K and sucralose are safe and can be used as part of a healthy diet for diabetics.  Sucralose, also known as Splenda, does not affect blood glucose levels, so it is a good option for diabetics.

Sugar Free Candy

Fasting Glucose Question

March 28, 2010

The latest question posted to www.FOODPICKER.org:

My fasting glucose number was 127.  Does this sound like pre-diabetes or diabetes?  What should I do to control by blood sugar?

Dear New Diabetic,

A fasting glucose value of greater than or equal to 126 indicates a diagnosis of Diabetes.  To help restore healthy blood-sugar levels, avoid all forms of sugar, including sucrose, glucose, maltose, corn syrup, honey, maple syrup, barley malt, and molasses. Learn to enjoy the unprocessed sweetness of fresh fruits (in moderation) and sweet vegetables such as yams, carrots, and winter squash. Although giving up concentrated sweeteners may be difficult initially, you will find that your cravings for sugar will diminish within a few weeks.

Other foods that interfere with healthy blood-sugar levels include refined carbohydrates such as breads and pastas made from white flour and white rice, all of which are rapidly broken down into simple sugars in the body.  Alcohol also interferes with blood-sugar stability because it hinders the body’s ability to use glucose.

To help maintain steady blood-sugar levels, eat a diet high in fiber which slows down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates and prevents rapid increases in blood sugar levels.  Strive for at least 35 grams of fiber each day. Legumes, whole grains, nuts, seeds, vegetables, and fruits are good sources of fiber.

Making these dietary changes are a great start to controlling your blood sugar levels.  But most importantly, speak with your doctor about necessary treatment and get started in a diabetes education course to learn more about the condition.

Fruits and Veggies Question

March 17, 2010

Here is a question recently posted to http://www.FOODPICKER.org 

I have pre-diabetes and am trying to lose weight.  How many servings of fruit and veggies should I have each day?

Dear Pre-Diabetic,

The first step in trying to avoid the stage of Type 2 Diabetes is to lose weight and it looks like you have already taken charge! Good for you!  To keep your blood sugar levels in check, and hopefully lower them, diet and nutrition is especially important. Keeping up with regular exercise and a healthy diet has been proven to lower glucose levels enough to avoid Type 2 Diabetes, according to the American Diabetes Association.

For those with pre-diabetes, about three to five servings of vegetables should be part of a healthy diet. Vegetables such as carrots and tomatoes, and greens like cabbage, spinach and kale make excellent choices. They are low in calories and fat. You can eat them raw or cooked. In addition, broccoli, cauliflower, and zucchini are great choices as well.

While fruit does have carbohydrates and natural sugars, keeping a count of them along with the other foods in your diet can help you not to overindulge. Plus, fruit is a healthy alternative to a sugary snack or dessert. Choose fresh fruits like apples, melon, strawberries and blackberries, oranges and bananas. 

The best choices are to eat FRESH fruits and veggies as opposed to canned or juiced.  That way you avoid the extra sugar and syrups.

Keep up the good work 🙂


Diabetes Education Help

March 11, 2010

Here is a question recently posted to www.FOODPICKER.org

I am trying to find a class for our grandson.  He is 19 and has a part-time job but no insurance.  He just found out last week that he is a type 1 diabetes after losing a lot of weight and his blood sugar was 523.  He is on insulin but needs to go to a class to manage his diabetes without going hungry.  Where do we start?  Any suggestions would help us a lot.

Caring Grandparents,

Firstly I can recommend stopping by a convenient hospital in your area and speaking with a Certified Diabetes Educator for specialized guidance for a newly diagnosed diabetic.  The CDE may also be able to recommend diabetes education classes for your grandson to attend to learn how to manage his diabetes.

Being diagnosed with diabetes means a huge lifestyle change and I can only imagine what your grandson must be feeling.  It is very important to pay attention to the carbohydrate intake throughout the day, especially controlling spiking blood sugars. Eating foods with a low glycemic index, meaning keeping stabilized blood sugar levels, are best when diabetic.  Low glycemic foods include, but are not limited to: multigrain or whole wheat breads (in moderation), grapefruit, cherries, strawberries, blackberries, peanuts, tomatoes,  broccoli, cauliflower, eggplant, celery, artichoke, green beans, cucumber, peas, chickpeas, lentils, kidney beans, soy beans, low-fat yogurt, all-bran cereal, and more.  Choosing foods with a low glycemic index are the best choices for your grandson.

But always remember, distribute your carbohydrate intake evenly throughout the day.  This will help control your blood sugar levels.  I wish you the best!

Help with Controlling Snacking

February 25, 2010

Here is a question that was recently posted to http://FOODPICKER.org 

“I have been diagnosed with type 2 diabetes.  During the day at work I eat very little, but in the evenings and weekends, I can’t seem to stay out of the kitchen.  Do you have any suggestions to control my snacking in the evenings and weekends?”

Dear Evening Snacker,

You are not the only one! One big suggestion I have for you is to eat small meals about every 3 hours of the day.  That way, your blood sugar levels will be in control and you won’t feel hungry or have the urge to splurge later on at night. 

Eating a lean protein such as chicken, fish, turkey, deli meat, and eggs paired with a very small portion of a healthy fat such as avocado, nuts, or olive oil and a carbohydrate such as whole grains, legumes, fruit, vegetables, and beans is a great and well balanced meal. If need be, snack on lots of raw veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, zucchini, celery, tomatoes etc which are high in fiber and keep you feeling full for longer while keeping your blood sugar levels stable. 

Keep a tin waterbottle (go green!) with you at all times and constantly drink drink drink!!  
If you are not used to eating breakfast this may be a big change, but getting in the habit of eating a healthy breakfast each morning is a great way to get your metabolism kick-started for the day.

These few tips should help with your contant evening and weekend trips to kitchen, keeping your blood sugar levels stabilized while feeling full all day long!