Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Question of the week: Oh Nuts!!!!!

The following question was submitted by one of my readers to be addressed on my blog, "Are nuts ok to snack on and if so, are there certain types I should look for? "

Nuts are a great choice for a snack for almost everyone. They are chock full of vitamins, minerals, and other nutrients such as fiber! Nuts are naturally cholesterol free and contain only a trace of natural sodium (unless salt is added during roasting). Since nuts contain protein, "healthy fat" (monounsaturated or MUFAs), and fiber, they can be very satisfying.

While they are a healthy, "nutrient dense" snack, please keep the following in mind:
*Nuts are highly caloric and high in fat (albeit the healthy kind) so keep your serving to 1 handful to 1.5 handfuls per serving size.
*Look for varieties that are raw or dry roasted. Salt, honey roasting, cinnamon sugar and other "coatings" can add extra unwanted calories.

Extra Facts:
*Walnuts contain Omega-3s
*Peanuts contain folate and niacin (B-vitamins)
*Whole almonds are a naturally high source of vitamin E, calcium, magnesium and potassium. Almonds are the tree nut highest in protein, fiber, calcium, vitamin E, riboflavin, and niacin when compared ounce for ounce.

For more great information on these types of nuts and others:

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Question of the Week: How Often To Check Blood Glucose?

A reader submitted the following question for discussion on my blog, "How often should I check my glucose if I have type 2 diabetes?"

Blood glucose monitoring is an essential part of proper diabetes care. If you take insulin to manage your type 2 diabetes, your medical professional may recommend blood sugar testing one to three times daily , depending on the number of doses you take.

Ideal times for testing are usually before and after meals and before bedtime.

If you manage type 2 diabetes with other medications or with diet and exercise alone, you may be able to test your blood sugar level less often.

Most importantly, keep a log with the results of your testing so that you can track how well your current diabetes plan is working with your doctor or Certified Diabetes Educator.

Discuss blood glucose testing with your medical professional to see what is best for your plan.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Super Bowl Party Survival!

This February 6th, many of you may be attending a Super Bowl Party which can be a day of indulgence for not just sports fans, but for all those invited. Party spreads usually include everything from Buffalo wings to nachos, beer to soda, and chips with dip. With all these temptations in front of us, it is not uncommon for many to consume more than a day’s worth of calories just in appetizers alone. It is not necessary to deprive yourself of many of the delicious dishes that may be put before you; however, it is a good idea to watch the amounts of these items that we are consuming.

Below are some tips to help you still enjoy the big game and the goodies that go along with it:

1. Skipping meals before the game will cause you to binge on all the wrong types of food. Have a little protein, small meal with lots of fiber, or a piece of fruit before you go which will not leave you ravenous when the festivities begin.

2. Use a small salad-sized plate when choosing from the table. With a larger plate you are more likely to try and fill it.

3. Balance your plate with protein and fiber-rich foods such as lean meats, salad, vegetables, and fruits. Simpler is better; shrimp cocktail, crudités (without high fat dip) are great party staples to enjoy.

4. Try to steer clear of anything that is fried, cheesy, or oily. Stay away from mayo-based salads, greasy appetizers, fatty dips, or anything deep-fried.

5. Use oil-based dressings for your salad and put them on the side. Dip the tines of your fork in them before piercing your salad for flavor. You'll save on calories but not skimp on flavor.

6. Don't deprive yourself of the goodies being served as some of these particular dishes only come once a year. Sometimes a taste is all you need to satisfy a craving.

7. Although nuts are healthy, it is very easy to eat them mindlessly and end up eating more than just a handful which adds up in calories and fat grams.

8. Don't drink your calories (save it for the food). Drink water with your meals - add a lemon or lime slice for flavor. If you want to have a holiday drink, enjoy a wine spritzer instead of wine - you'll save on calories but not substitute flavor.

9. If possible, ask if you can bring an entree or side dish - that way you can make something healthier and have control of the ingredients that are in it.

10. When socializing, try to do it away from where the food is displayed. Out of sight, out of mind.

11. Have a little pre-game of your own – get together before the game begins and toss the ball around. A little exercise before the big game or at half-time and help burn some of those extra calories!

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Question of the week: Healthy Fruit Smoothies

The following question was submitted by one of my readers, "I have type 2 diabetes. I am wondering if I could have fruit smoothies? If I can, which ingredients I should include and avoid?"

Smoothies can make an excellent breakfast or snack and they are a great way to incorporate more fruits into you daily diet. Here are some tips to keeping your fruit smoothies healthy:

*Use skim milk or non-fat yogurt when making your smoothies.

*Frozen fruit works great for fruit smoothies and keeps longer than fresh!

*Watch your portion sizes - although it may be healthy, fruit smoothies still contain calories and sugar (albeit natural).

*If you are looking for flavor enhancements consider a sprinkle of cinnamon or a drop a vanilla extract.

*Add a small amount of ground flax for added omegas.

*Adding ingredients like fruit juice, sugar, honey, or ice cream may add flavor but will turn a healthy smoothie into a dessert!

*If adding whey or soy protein powders - read the nutritional information to see how many added calories you are including.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Question of the week: Diciphering Numbers

The following question was submitted by one of my readers for discussion on this blog: "My A1c test result is 6.4% and my fasting blood sugar level is 113. Do these numbers sound like diabetes and if so what do I do now?"

The A1c test measures your blood glucose control over an average period of approximately 3 months.
Ideally your A1c (according to the American Diabetes Association) should be < 7.0%. Pre-diabetes is defined with an A1c of between 6 - 6.5%.

It is recommended that you speak with your doctor regarding your health as he/she will have more data and lab work. Your medical professional should retest you in 3 - 6 months to confirm your diagnosis and monitor your blood glucose control.

Suggestions that may be offered by your doctor: weight loss, eating a healthy diet, increasing physical activity, and if necessary, medications.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Question of the week: Sweet Potatoes or Not?

The following question was submitted by a reader, "I was recently diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes and I’m trying to follow a low fat diet. I have a question I hope that you can answer. Are sweet potatoes considered a vegetable and are they ok to eat in my diet?"

Sweet potatoes are a vegetable but are classified as a "starchy vegetable" like regular potatoes or corn. Sweet potatoes contain more carbohydrate than "non starchy vegetables" therefore it is important to watch your portion size when enjoying them! 1/2 cup of sweet potato is equivalent to 15g of carbohydrate.

Sweet potatoes are rich in beta-carotene, vitamin C, and manganese. They are also a good source of vitamin B6, copper, dietary fiber, potassium, and iron! Mash or roast them, or stir-fry them with some non-starchy vegetables.

Other examples of starchy vegetables include:

* Parsnip
* Plantain
* Potato
* Pumpkin
* Acorn squash
* Butternut squash
* Green Peas
* Corn

Sweet potatoes are definitely okay to include in your diet -- just watch your portion sizes and preparation methods (watch the butter and brown sugar....). The size of your fist is a good guide for potato size!