Tuesday, October 26, 2010

Question of the week: What should I pack for lunch?

The following question was posed by one of my readers to be addressed on my blog, "I have diabetes and work long hours. I usually eat lunch at my desk while working. I'm struggling with what I can have for lunch. Could you give me some tips on what to pack for lunch at work?"

Packing your own lunch for work is not only a great way to save money, but it is a wonderful way to control what you eat. Ordering take out, buying food in the company cafeteria, or going out to a restaurant make it difficult to control your portion sizes as well as the ingredients that go into your food. Snacks from the vending machine are generally not healthy....

Hopefully you have access to a refrigerator and a microwave at your workplace as it will expand the options that you can bring with you!

Here are some great ideas for "brown bagging it":

Soup! Choose those that are clear broth based. Avoid cream-based soups. Look for kinds full of veggies, beans (or other types of legumes), or lentils. These are the types of soups that will really keep you satiated.

Salad: Chop your own veggies at home and put together a salad at home. Add garbanzos or kidney beans for extra nutrients. Swap lettuce for spinach to change things up a bit. Skip croutons but sprinkle slivered almonds or sunflower seeds (watch your portions with these!!!) for some crunchy texture. Pack some oil/vinegar on the side in a separate container that you can dip your fork in.

Yogurt: Choose greek yogurt for protein. If greek yogurt isn't your preference, choose yogurts of low/nonfat variety. Sprinkle with a spoonful of walnuts or slivered almonds for texture.

Fresh turkey or chicken breast sliced thin rolled with lettuce (hold the bread). Use mustard or a very ripe avocado to spread in your "roll". Skip the mayo.....

Tuna fish or canned salmon...... (again hold the mayo)

Hard boiled eggs (limit the yolks)

Small sandwich made on whole grain bread(see my earlier post on how to pick a healthy bread) using either all veggies (tomato, lettuce, cucumber) with your favorite hummus.

Lean Cuisines or Healthy Choice lunches are an option however they are high in sodium. If you find these are not filling enough for you, supplement with more nonstarchy frozen veggies or a piece of fresh fruit.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Question of the week: How many veggies should I eat?

The following question was submitted by one of my readers,

"I was just diagnosed with pre-diabetes. The nurse told me to eat lots of vegetables. Could you tell me what "lots of vegetables" means and what type of vegetables to consume? Also, how should I prepare them?"

Depending on how many vegetables you currently eat, start with 3 servings a day with a goal of 5 servings a day (to avoid any possible GI distress from the new fiber increase to your diet).

A serving of vegetables is equivalent to either 1 cup of raw vegetables or 1/2 cup of cooked vegetables. When choosing which vegetables to eat, eat more "non-starchy" vegetables as they have less calories and carbohydrates than "starchy vegetables" such as potatoes and corn.

There are so many delicious ways you can prepare your vegetables! Steaming, baking, grilling, and microwaving are just a few of the ways. Utilize garlic and onion for flavoring - experiment with different spices or herbs. Use lemon juice or balsamic vinegar for flavor.

How can you increase my intake of veggies? Load on extra veggies to your sandwich, create a healthy veggie stir fry, or use cut veggies as a snack with hummus or tzatziki.

Examples of Non Starchy Vegetables:
# Artichoke
# Artichoke hearts
# Asparagus
# Baby corn
# Bamboo shoots
# Beans: green, Italian, wax
# Bean sprouts
# Beets
# Broccoli
# Brussels sprouts
# Cabbage: bok choy, Chinese, green
# Carrots
# Cauliflower
# Celery
# Chayote
# Cucumber
# Eggplant
# Green onions or scallions
# Greens: collard, kale, mustard, turnip
# Jicama
# Kohlrabi
# Leeks
# Mixed vegetables without corn, peas or pasta
# Mung bean sprouts
# Mushrooms
# Okra
# Onions
# Oriental radish or daikon
# Pea pods
# Peppers, all varieties
# Radishes
# Rutabaga
# Sauerkraut
# Soybean sprouts
# Spinach
# Sugar snap peas
# Summer squash
# Swiss chard
# Tomato: raw, canned, sauce, juice
# Turnips
# Vegetable juice cocktail
# Water chestnuts
# Zucchini

Source: Mayoclinic.com

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Question of the week: Eating Healthy in a Mexican Restaurant

The following question was submitted by one of my readers, "I have type 2 diabetes and love Mexican food. Could you give me some tips on what to order at my favorite Mexican restaurant?"

My first suggestion is to steer clear of the tortilla chips that are usually on the table. Save those calories and carbohydrates for your meal!

My next suggestion is to check with your waiter or waitress to see if they have whole wheat tortillas available (if your meal includes tortillas). If possible, limit the amount of the tortillas you use with your meal. For example, if you order fajitas, try to eat your meal with one or one and a half whole wheat tortillas despite the stack of them they might serve you with your meal.

Before you even start eating your meal, divide your entree into two portions and ask for a container to take half of it home for another meal. Restaurant portions are usually overinflated. Out of sight, out of mind!

Skip the appetizer - or choose an appetizer as your meal. Usually the appetizer portion is a more reasonable size than an entree.

Pass on the sour cream - salsa is a much healthier choice. Guacamole is healthier than sour cream, however, watch your portions as it is high in calories fat (albeit the of the healthier sort).

Avoid entrees that are fried or breaded - look for ones that are grilled!

Choose black beans as a side dish - avoid refried beans as they have more added fat.

Load up on veggies where possible - lettuce, tomato, peppers, and onions can add alot of flavor and fiber and not alot of calories!

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Question of the week: Healthier bread options?

The following question was asked by one of my readers, "My husband has diabetes and we always eat whole wheat bread but wanted something different for a change. Is rye bread or sourdough bread as good of an option as whole wheat?"

In order to determine healthy bread choices, it is important to read the nutritional labels. This is what you need to look for in making a good bread choice:

Fiber Content: A good bread choice should have at minimum 3g of Fiber per slice. A high fiber choice will have 5g of fiber.

Whole Grains: Brown bread is not always healthier than white - sometimes it is merely a marketing gimmick (coloring). To tell if bread is truly "whole grain" - the first ingredient should be "whole wheat".

If you see the words "bleached" or "enriched", or just "wheat flour" - then this bread is merely just white bread with brown food dye.

In some cases, labels will say only "wheat flour," which means the bread is 75% white and 25% whole wheat.

Always read the nutritional labels!