Thursday, September 30, 2010

Question of the week: How much protein should I eat?

One of my readers has sent me the following question, "Since I've been diagnosed with diabetes, a lot of people have given me advice about how much carbohydrate and fat to eat. I'm wondering about protein. How much protein should I get in my diet and from what foods besides meat?"

The recommendations for protein for people with diabetes are the same as for people without. However, before you take this recommendation, be sure to check with your medical practitioner to ensure you are not experiencing any kidney problems.

Your protein intake should be between 10-20% of your total calorie intake. For example, if you are eating 1800 calories for the day, between 180-360 of those calories (45g-90g) should be protein.

There are many other sources of protein other than meat:

Legumes are good sources of protein. Chick peas, beans, and lentils can be used in many delicious ways and are full of nutrients. Dairy products such as eggs, milk, and cheese are also good sources (watch your portion sizes for fat/cholesterol content). Tofu, tempeh, and other soy products (i.e. milk, edamame) are even more choices for non-meat sources of protein.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Question of the Week: What are "good" blood sugar numbers?

The following question was posed by one of my readers, "I have diabetes and my blood sugar is all over the map. Could you please tell me the ideal blood sugar level?"

Your "ideal" blood sugar level is dependent on when you have taken the test:

Before a meal(no food/liquids other than water for several hours): 70-130 mg/dl

After a meal 1 - 2 hours after you have started eating): <180 mg/dl

After you finish testing your blood glucose, log your results in a journal or notebook to review and see how the food you are consuming, your activity and stress levels have affected your blood glucose. If your blood glucose record levels are too high or too low several days in a row around the same time, you may need to make some changes to your care plan. You can work with your diabetes educator, registered dietitian or medical practitioner to find what works best with you. Don't be discouraged as it may take some time to find what works.

Source: American Diabetes Association

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Question of the week: Popcorn as a snack choice?

The following question was asked by one of my readers, "I have pre-diabetes and enjoy having an afternoon snack. Is microwave popcorn ok for me to have? "

Popcorn can be a healthy snack depending on how it is prepared. 3 cups of air-popped popcorn has just less than 100 calories and is equivalent to 1 carbohydrate choice. Popcorn is also a good source of fiber!

Microwave popcorn can be an okay choice but read your labels as there are some that are very high in sodium and fat. Keep in mind that a whole bag of microwave popcorn may contain anywhere from 2 - 3 servings.

Calories for microwave popcorn may vary depending on brand. The following website is very helpful in researching nutritional information on different brands,

In addition to sodium and calories, other items to watch out for on your labels of microwave popcorn:
*Saturated Fat
*Trans Fats

The optimal way to consume popcorn would be if you could air-pop your own (being able to control the type of oil, amount of salt, and toppings that it would contain.

Suggested tasty toppings for your popcorn: A small amount of grated Parmesan, cayenne pepper, Mrs. Dash, paprika, nutritional yeast, lemon pepper, garlic powder,cinnamon, or taco seasoning.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Question of the week: How Do I Stay Motivated?

The following question was posted by one of my readers, "I have diabetes and I'm having trouble staying consistent and motivated. I'm usually good for about 2 weeks and then I go back to my old ways of eating and lack of exercise. How can I stay motivated?"

It isn't easy to change habits, especially those that we have had for a long time. The key is to start small, and once you see yourself succeed, you'll have the motivation to continue.

Try the following to help with motivation and to stay consistent:

Set short term goals that are attainable.
**For example, instead of setting a goal to workout an hour per day or to go to the gym everyday, set a goal to work out 3 or 4 times per week. However, you can start "small" and work your way up. When you see yourself succeeding at the 3 or 4 days, you will feel motivated.

**Another example, would be instead of setting a goal saying that you are going to stop eating ice cream (for example) everyday, set a goal that you will allow yourself a low calorie frozen portioned dessert (i.e. Skinny Cow, Weight Watchers Frozen Treat) a couple of times a week or allow yourself one 1-Cup portion of ice cream on the weekend and one during the week.

Another way to stay consistent (and stay motivated) is to keep a journal or make a chart of your successes. Get a blank notebook, date the page, and list all the positive choices that you made that day. For example, I could list that on a particular day:
*I skipped eating a slice of cake at the company party
*I exercised for an hour on the treadmill
*I took the stairs instead of the elevator at the office
* I drank 8 glasses of water throughout the day
* I had 3 pieces of fruit during the day
*I used skim milk instead of half and half in my coffee

As you look back on your successes and positive choices, you'll find that you stay motivated!