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Archive for November, 2010

Happy Thanksgiving!

This week, I received the following question from http://foodpicker.org

My husband was diagnosed with diabetes as few months ago and has been working hard to lose weight and control his blood sugar.  Each year we have a family gathering for thanksgiving that includes lots of food (large turkey dinner with all the trimmings and assorted pies & cakes for dessert).  What are your suggestions to ensure my husband doesn’t overeat but also does not feel deprived this thanksgiving? -Martha T.

Thanksgiving is absolutely my favorite Holiday of the year! I love being with my family, being surrounded by delicious food, and spending a very relaxing day at home.

All that food on Thanksgiving day can be a caloric bomb! There are so many great pies, cakes, gravies, stuffing with which you can fill your stomach!

On the other hand, there are so many great and healthy choices to eat on Turkey day. Turkey, if not covered in gravy, is such a great protein choice. It is low in fat, calories, and cholesterol. Make sure when you choose a piece of turkey meat, however, that it is white meat. Choose the breast meat. It is the lowest in fat and calories compared to the dark, leg meat.

Instead of having mashed potatoes with gravy on Thanksgiving, a great, and I think more delicious option, is a baked sweet potato. Sweet potatoes are high in vitamin A, vitamin C, vitamin B-6, magnesium, fiber, potassium, iron, and the list goes on and on. Most importantly, sweet potatoes have so much more flavor than a simple white potato. When you make mashed white potatoes, they are usually loaded up with butter and you want to pour gravy or sour cream all over them just to add flavor. Sweet potatoes on the other hand are so delicious plain. You could also mash them up with a pinch of cinnamon for even better fall flavor.

Vegetables are also overly abundant on my Thanksgiving table. Steamed green beans, fresh corn, large salads, and more are always present. Load 3/4 of your plate with these great, vitamin rich vegetables. Just make sure you don’t cover them in butter. Keep them as simple as possible, they are great as they are!

Instead of buying canned cranberry sauce, which is high in calories, sugar, and carbohydrates, make it yourself. It is so much fresher and more delicious than the cylinder that falls out of the can. It is a great way to get a serving of fruit in a much healthier way!

Also remember, everything is okay in moderation. If this is the one day a year you really let yourself have a little something extra. That’s okay! Don’t cut yourself a huge slab of pie, but reward yourself with a little sliver. If you completely deny yourself of the deliciousness that is dessert, you are more susceptible to binge on pie later in the day. Allow yourself a little breathing room.

Happy Thanksgiving and Happy Eating!!


This week I received the following question from http://foodpicker.org.

I was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes last spring.  I enjoy eating hearty soups in the fall and winter months.  Can I still eat soup?  Are there any soups that are better for me to eat than others? -Ellen C.

I love soup! One thing you must know, however, that many canned soups are sky-high in sodium content. The average person should eat no more than 2300 mg of sodium per day. Many experts also recommend to keep sodium levels below 1500 mg. Your daily salt intake can quickly creep up on you if you do not pay attention.

An average can of chicken noodle soup contains about 890 mg of sodium per serving. That much sodium in 1/2 to 1 cup of soup is too much.

The good news however, is there are many healthier soup options for you to enjoy!

The best option, for most foods, is to make it yourself. It may take a little longer than heating up canned soup in the microwave, but the flavor is better, you can control the salt and ingredients, and it is more rewarding to eat something you created yourself. Using low sodium broths as the base of your soup recipes will ensure sodium control. Also, make sure you use fresh vegetables in your soup. Many canned vegetables can have large amounts of sodium in them.

Also, many canned soup brands have low-sodium options. They are still great in flavor, but the amount of salt in each serving is much lower than normal canned soups. When you are in the grocery store, look for these kinds of soups. Always, ,always read the nutrition labels on the back of your foods. It is great to be educated about what you are eating and to make the best choices for yourself.

Best of luck, and happy eating!!

Fad Diets

This week, I received the following question from http://foodpicker.org/

My doctor has diagnosed me with diabetes and has told me to lose weight.  I have heard about high protein diets, low fat/high carb diets, and many others.  I want a sound diet instead of a fad.  What type of diet is best given my situation?

-Trish S.

Trish, I am glad that you are aware that fad diets do not work. We all struggle with choosing between a fad diet, and a lifestyle change. That is exactly how to lose weight, make a lifestyle change. A fad diet promises “quick weight loss” and usually has extensive attention and media buzz. These diets do not work, because they emphasize one food group and try to eliminate others. While a person is on this type of diet, he strongly craves what he cannot have. Either that, or the person becomes extremely bored with the monotonous food choices there are to eat. Once a person is off of this type of diet, they soon gain weight. Only about 5% of those who went on fad diets actually kept the weight off.

So in contrast to this type of diet, a lifestyle change in necessary in order to promote overall health. Small and steady changes to your diet will lead to a longer lasting overall change. Try to make at least one new good food choice every day. Good food choices include a balance of carbohydrates, proteins and fats. It is important to spread the carbohydrates you eat throughout the day in order to keep your blood sugar stable. Eat similar levels of carbohydrates throughout the day for optimum stability. 50% of your daily claorioes should come from carbohydrates. Eating the right type of carbohydrates is very important. Aim for eating more whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and beans.

Keep your fat content between 25%-35% of total daily calories. Do not be afraid of fats! As long as you are eating healthy fats, you are on the road to success. Increase the amount of polyunsatured, unsaturated, and omega-3 fatty acids in your diet by including more cold-water fish, walnuts, flax seeds, and canola and olive oil. The fats that you should limit include saturated and trans fats; found in baked goods, highly processed and deep fried foods.

Portion control is also key. It i a great idea to invest in a food scale for your kitchen. Many times, what we actually think a portion is can be much larger than what is recommended. Also know your portion “rules.” About 3 ounces of meat is the same size as a deck of cards. 1 cup of breakfast cereal is about the size of your clenched fist.

Some good food choices for you to include in your diet are as follows: whole grain breads, oatmeal (soluble fiber), dark green leafy vegetables, dairy products with less than 1% fat, cold-water fish, lean meats, olive oil, natural peanut butter, fruits, beans, and fresh vegetables.

You should try to avoid white breads, refined cereals, dried fruits, fruits in heavy syrup, fried meats, hydrogenated oils (trans fats), cream based sauces and salad dressings, and many deserts.

Another important key to a lifestyle change is to keep a food journal. Writing down exactly what you eat every day will keep you aware of overeating and the amount of great healthy choices you make.

Another factor just as important as diet is exercise. Exercise improves your mood as well as overall health. Start things slowly, walk at least 30 minutes per day.

Best of luck Trish! You will be on the path to success in no time!

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