Thursday, March 10, 2011

Increasing Vegetable Intake

This week I received the following question from

I have a very big issue when it comes to having diabetes and that is I do not eat vegetables.  I have tried.  I want control my diabetes and be around to raise my young children.  What suggestions do you have to add vegetables to my diet? 

What a fun topic! I'm so happy you are willing to consider adding vegetables to your diet because you understand they are a healthy option. I brainstormed a few ways you can add vegetables in your meals or daily diet:

  • Mix vegetables into baked dished such as adding spinach or mushrooms in your lasagna or favorite casserole.

  • Replace spaghetti with using spaghetti squash for your noodles. (This is actually really good, I was even hesitant to try it at first)
  • Buying pre-cut carrots, peppers or celery sticks helps it be more appealing to want to grab it from the fridge and eat it. Try dipping them in a light ranch dressing, hummus or peanut butter or adding them in a chicken or tuna salad along with peas

  • With Spring finally arriving you can also try grilling vegetables such as peppers, zucchini, onions or eggplant by making kabobs and adding some seasoning for some extra flavor.
  • Top you're pizza with all your favorite vegetables

  • Salads or mixing vegetables in a wrap or sandwich can make a great lunch
I hope this gave some creative ideas for you to add vegetables in your daily diet!

Leave comments with you're favorite ways to add vegetables in your day!

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Cereal and Carbohydrate Exchanges

This week I received the following question from 

I love cereal and with my new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, I'm wondering if I can still have cereal in my diet.  Are there any types to avoid?

You most certainly cam have cereal in your diet! Having diabetes does not indicate you can't eat certain foods but only changing the moderation of eating certain foods!

It is important to read the food labels and consider the amount of carbohydrates in your cereal serving. Make sure to stick to the serving size listed on the box which may require using measuring cups for the first few times. Using smaller bowls also helps you psychologically thinking there is more in the bowl. Also, cereals with high fiber will reduce your total carbohydrate intake as discussed below. Try to pick fortified cereals which provide vitamins and minerals, low sugar and high fiber. Cereals with 5g of fiber or more will help reduce your total carbohydrate intake as discussed below. And, if you do choose a fiber choice make sure to gradually increase your fiber and fluid intake if you typically do not eat a lot of it.

American Diabetes Association:
"Because fiber is not digested like other carbohydrates, for carbohydrate counting purposes, if a serving of a food contains more than or equal to 5 grams of dietary fiber, you can subtract half the grams of dietary fiber from the total carbohydrate serving of that food."

If you choose a high fiber cereal such as General Mills Fiber One Bran Cereal which has 14g of Fiber and 25g Total Carbohydrate. You can subtract half of the fiber (7g) from the total carbohydrates and count this bowl of cereal as 18g of Carbohydrates. Don't forget to factor in your milk though! Milk for a 1/2c serving provides 6g of carbohydrates.  Overall this bowl of cereal and milk would equal 24 carbohydrates which is about 1.5 carb exchanges. You can even add a small piece of fruit for one more exchange if you're still hungry!

    • Use this site to help you find the right carbohydrate balance for your cereal of choice!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Inspirational Quote

An amazing quote I found in my textbook and inspires me for all my interest in nutrition.

"Nutrition is a cornerstone that affects and defines the health of all people, rich and poor. It paves the way for us to grow, develop, work, play, resist infection and aspire to realization of our fullest potential as individuals and societies."  - Gro Harlem Brundtland

Monday, January 31, 2011

Eating for Two?

Did you know that during pregnancy you do not need to eat necessarily for 2?

First trimester you only need 10 extra calories in your diet.
Second trimester it is recommended to have 350 extra calories
Third trimester you only need an additional 450 calories to you diet then before you were pregnant!

Many times women may feel they need to eat a lot to support the babies growth but really only an additional peanut butter and jelly sandwich, piece of fruit and yogurt is all that is needed during your 3rd trimester.

A balanced diet with lots of fruits and vegetables is key during pregnancy. Vitamins and Minerals in your food are really helping your baby grow and develop healthy.

Diabetes and Pizza

This week I received the following question from

Friday nights my family & I have dinner at our favorite pizza restaurant.  Now that I've been diagnosed with diabetes I don't know what to order.  Could you help me with what (if anything) I can order? 

There are definitely items you can find to eat at the pizza restaurant. Don't let diabetes stop you from your friday family nights. It's just going to take small adjustments. Because pizza is a carbohydrate food then it will require some attention regarding your diabetes.

Typically for a meal it is good to aim for about 45-60g Carbohydrates (3-4 servings of Grains)
If the pizza restaurant is a chain company then you may be able to find the amount of carbohydrates per slice on their website or by calling their corporate office. 

If not, MyPyramid suggests that
  • 1/8 medium thick crust pizza = 30g Carbs
  • 1/8 medium thin crust pizza = 15g Carbs
This allows you to have about 3-4 slices of thin crusts or 2 slices of thick crust. Keep in mind the amount of calories pizza can provide when toppings are added on. You can reduce calories and fat by asking for no cheese on the pizza. I'm lactose intolerant and always ask for no cheese. It tastes just like a breadstick with dipping sauce! Also try a veggie pizza and load the pizza with carb-free vegetables which adds great nutrients at a low calorie expense.

You could also order a salad (try with oil based dressing) before your pizza comes out to help fill you up

Sunday, January 9, 2011

A1c Tests

This week I received the following question from

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 values mentioned seem to show the borderline of diabetes. A typical range for an A1c level is <6.5%. The A1c test is indicating what your average blood glucose (blood sugar level) has been the previous 3 months. This allows physicians to know how well the patient has monitored and controlled their blood glucose.  6.4% is equal to an average glucose around 135mg/dL which is above normal. Typically we want someone who is not diagnosed with diabetes to be <110mg/dL and a patient that is diagnosed with diabetes should be between 70-130mg/dL. The value of 113 shows that it is slightly high of the normal range for non-diabetics.

Looking at the A1c and fasting blood sugar from the question above, I would suggest scheduling a doctors visit and have them evaluate your blood glucose levels. Being overweight, history of diabetes in the family, high triglycerides and high blood pressure are risk factors that could lead to having Type 2 Diabetes. Many times in the early pre-diabetes stages, losing weight and eating balanced meals can help reduce any further progression to diabetes.

If you have been diagnosed with diabetes then scheduling appointments with a Diabetes Educator and a Registered Dietitian is highly suggested. This will help you get a full understanding of how to monitor your blood glucose levels, what diabetes means, type of diet you should follow, diabetes medications and getting any questions or concerns answered. Many times people are advised by family, friends and neighbors about what diabetes is and what types of foods they need to avoid. Getting educated by a health professional credited for diabetes education and talking with a Registered Dietitian will allow you to get all the right information you need for a diabetic lifestyle.

A1c Equivalents to Blood Glucose - From American Diabetes Association Website

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Low Fat Diet

This week I received the following question from
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?

All foods are acceptable in a diabetic diet. The key is just to keep it in moderation.

Sweet potatoes are considered a vegetable but they fall into the same category with all other white potatoes, green peas and corn. This is because they all contain a high amount of carbohydrates compared to other vegetables. Most vegetables contain only 5g of carbohydrates per serving where a potato is about 15g per serving.

It is OK to eat sweet potatoes. They even provide a nutrient called beta-carotene where other potatoes do not. This nutrient helps with preventing infections, colds, flu and night blindness. Vegetables are a great addition to any diet since the majority are low in calorie, carbohydrate have zero grams of fat and provide many nutrients. Since you are on a low-fat diet it is important to prevent adding too many condiments on top of vegetables because the amount of fat can quickly add up.

In conclusion, sweet potatoes are a great vegetable to eat in your diet and the only key is to monitor the intake since it is 15g of carbohydrates per 1/2 cup serving. 

Carbohydrates are important to monitor when during diabetes since they control your blood glucose and cause the spikes if you consume too much. 

To help monitor your carbohydrate and fat intake of foods, use the website!