Archive for May, 2011


I am a Nutrition Editor at Foodpicker.org, a website designed to help people with diabetes.  Here is a question I recently received:

Question

On special occasions, my family usually gets together for a big breakfast. Now that I have diabetes, I’m not sure what I can eat. Waffles, pastries, omelets, bacon, or what? What are the best items I should choose?”

Answer

Breakfast is a great way to get together with family in an informal way.  With a big family get-together usually comes high calorie and high fat foods.  There are ways that you can visit with family, consume a hearty breakfast, and manage your diabetes all at once.  Of course an overall healthy diet consists of whole grains, fruits and vegetables, good fats and lean proteins.  Fueling up your body with healthy foods will help to manage diabetes.  Fueling up on high calorie/high fat foods may make you feel sluggish, may cause weight gain and may not be ideal for controlling blood sugars.  However, it sounds like your family breakfasts are only for certain occasions.  In this scenario if your favorite foods are the items you listed (waffles, pastries, omelets, bacon), try eating these only on special occasions AND try to stick to the portion size.

Here are some Healthy Breakfast Tips

  1. At A Restaurant:  If your breakfast occasions are at a restaurant, plan your carbohydrates out for the entire day and stick to an actual portion size.  For example if you order waffles, you may receive an enormous waffle that could be equivalent to 4 servings of carbohydrates (1 serving of carbohydrates is 15 grams, this waffle could potentially equal 60g).   60g at breakfast may be an acceptable number for you, but planning your carbohydrate intake for the rest of the day will help ensure that you do not exceed your daily allotment. A dietitian can help you figure out how many carbohydrates you need per day and per meal.  For additional resources there is a book you can order for about $3 called Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes (1). It is a great resource for meal planning and carbohydrate counting.
  2. Breakfast at Home:  If the family breakfasts are at your home or a family member, you may have more control over how breakfast items are prepared.  For example, you can try substituting rolls or toast made from white flour with whole grain rolls or toast, which will add more fiber.  Check out this website for diabetes friendly recipes such as Nutmeg Pancakes with Lemon Zest and Berries (2).
  3. Watch the Sodium:  Ordering a side order of bacon or pork sausage can drastically increase your sodium intake and send you over your daily allotment for sodium.  Look for reduced sodium and reduced fat sources.  Canadian bacon and lean ham are lower in fat than pork sausage.  Stick to portion sizes here.  A slice or two of bacon is the limit.
  4. Fruit:  By cutting back on your portion sizes of the typical breakfast items, you can add fresh fruit to help fill you up, provide you with vitamins and antioxidants and may help slow blood sugar spikes compared to fruit juices.
  5. Omelets:  Omelets can be a healthy dish depending on the ingredients that go into them.  Add spinach, tomatoes, mushrooms or just about any vegetable you like.  The 2010 Dietary Guidelines suggest that up to 1 egg per day is acceptable and will not raise cholesterol (3).  Use egg whites and one whole egg to make the omelet.

The moral of this story is to try to stick to a healthy diet and kick off each day with a breakfast that has lots of vitamins, nutrients, fiber, and lean protein and save the high calorie/high fat breakfasts for a special occasion.  Consider counting carbohydrates to help keep blood sugars stabilized.

REFERENCES

  1. http://www.amazon.com/Choose-Your-Foods-Exchange-Diabetes/dp/0880913770.  Accessed May 8, 2011.
  2. http://www.americandiabetes.com/diabetic-recipes/breakfast-brunch.  Accessed May 8, 2011.
  3. http://www.cnpp.usda.gov/Publications/DietaryGuidelines/2010/PolicyDoc/Chapter3.pdf.  Accessed May 8, 2011.
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I am a Nutrition Editor at Foodpicker.org, a website designed to help people with diabetes.  Here is a question I recently received:

 

Question

I’ve been trying to increase my salad intake and am not sure about what type of dressing to choose.  Could you give me some suggestions for salad dressings that are acceptable for someone with diabetes?”

Answer

Eating a salad every day (or most) days is a simple and easy food habit to commit to.  They are easy to make and help to increase your fruit and vegetable intake.  Good for you for increasing your salad intake. 

I have a few tricks to try to add flavor to your salad without all of the fat and calories from regular salad dressings.

  • Try making your own dressing:  This recipe is from my friends at CitySprouts.  It is a Tangy Fresh Herb Salad Dressing.  Using fresh herbs you will get bursts of flavor while using herbs that promote good health.  This recipe is only 15 calories per serving and packed with flavor. 

Ingredients:
1/2 cup plain yogurt
1 TBSP (packed) chopped fresh basil
1 TBSP (packed) chopped fresh chives
1 TBSP (packed) chopped fresh dill
1 TBSP (packed) chopped fresh mint
1 tsp red wine vinegar
1/8 tsp sea salt
1/8 tsp freshly cracked pepper
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor and puree until smooth and uniform in color. Add salt and pepper.

  • Oil and vinegar:  Mixing oil and vinegar is also a simple solution which won’t give you all of the preservatives that are in a bottled dressing.  There are so many different types of vinegars to choose from (such as balsamic, sherry, champagne, and red wine to name a few).  Alternate vinegars so that you don’t get bored.  You only need a small amount of oil for this dressing.
  • Top with a protein:  On most occasions I will top my salad off with a “runny” protein such as a vegetarian chili in place of a dressing.  Putting a hot food on the salad changes up the texture and adds flavor.  Here are some other options for proteins; chop up a hamburger, ground turkey or chicken and brown rice (or a sweet potato).  Adding hot dishes to your salad will also give you a complete meal (which includes a protein, a starchy carbohydrate, a non-starchy carbohydrate, and some good fat).
  • Pre-made: If you prefer to buy a pre-made dressing from the supermarket, look for dressings with the least amount of ingredients with words that you can pronounce and check the nutrition facts panel.  Usually a “low-fat” dressing will contain more sugar. 

I hope these tips help you in your endeavor to finding the perfect salad dressing!