Many exciting things are happening in March. The snow is melting, we are getting warmers days, and the tulip bulbs are even starting to sprout. One thing you may not realize is that March is National Nutrition Month!
National Nutrition Month is a nutrition campaign created by the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics to help spread sound nutrition information to the public. This year’s theme is “Enjoy the Taste of Eating Right.” Research has shown that while social, emotional and health factors play a role in what one chooses to eat, what influences one’s food choice the most is the way a food tastes. That is why our main role as dietitians is to suggest foods that taste great, but also will help you meet your individual health goals.
If you have a medical condition like diabetes you may be wondering how you can choose foods you enjoy while still keeping your blood sugar in control. You are not alone in this struggle. Since 8.3% of the U.S. population live with diabetes, much thought has gone into how you can eat food that tastes great while also controlling your blood sugar.
You do not need to deprive yourself when following a diabetic meal plan. You must include all three fuel-providing nutrients: protein, carbohydrates and fat. Although carbohydrates raise your blood sugar they are the body’s main fuel source, if you eliminate this food group or cut your carbohydrates too low you would not have enough energy to get through the day. Without carbohydrates your meals would not be satisfying, you would get hungry faster and you would likely develop strong cravings for this food group. Most people with diabetes need about 40-60 grams of carbohydrate in one meal depending on their size. You can talk to your dietitian to figure out what amount is right for you. You can also judge how much to eat based on a very simple method called the Plate Method. The Plate Method recommends that based on a 9 inch plate- ¼ should be protein, ¼ starch (grains or starchy vegetables) and ½ non-starchy vegetables. Following this article, I have included a chart, which lists lots of good types of carbohydrates you can include in your meal plan. You will find grains and starchy vegetables that are high in fiber, fruit that will satisfy your sweet tooth and dairy foods like yogurt and milk.
We will move on to more good news. Protein and fat do not have any carbohydrates so they do not raise your blood sugar. In fact, when you pair carbohydrates with lean protein and healthy fats your blood sugar will be in better control then if you eat carbohydrates by themselves. The trick is to limit saturated and trans fat because these types of fats can increase your risk of high cholesterol and heart disease. Fats also add lots of flavor to foods. Oils, nuts, seeds, avocado and vegetable based spreads are all good types of fats that add flavor to your meal. You will also find a chart with the best proteins and fats to choose from below this article. You will notice that even red meat is on the list because there are cuts available that are relatively low in saturated fat.
You can find free and delicious recipes for almost anything you can think of at the American Diabetes Association. Remember, these recipes are not just good for you but for your whole family. They have recipes like Pesto Stuffed Chicken Breast with Bruschetta Sauce ( http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/recipes/2013-05-pesto-stuffed-chicken-breast.html), Pork Tacos (http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/recipes/2012-03-pork-tacos.html) and desserts like Berry Crisp (http://www.diabetes.org/mfa-recipes/recipes/2012-07-berry-crisp-quick-recipe.html).
There are also great cookbooks available created by foodies and Registered Dietitians such as:
“Quick & Healthy Volume II: More Help for People Who Say They Don’t Have Time to Cook Healthy Meals, 2nd Edition” by award-winning author Brenda J. Ponichtera, RD
These and more books can be ordered from the American Diabetes Association website: www.shopdiabetes.org .
This article was written by Jenny Torino, MS, RD, LDN a Registered Dietitian at Healthy Ever After, with locations in Providence, Cranston, and Warwick Rhode Island. Healthy Ever After is a featured partner of Loiselle Insurance. Be sure to visit the Loiselle Agency Partner page to receive 10% off your first consultation. We love our clients and want to keep you healthy!
Now here are the “Best of” lists we promised you.
Best Carbohydrate Choices:
|Whole Grains||Whole wheat flour, Whole oats/oatmeal, Whole grain corn/corn meal, Popcorn, Brown rice, Whole rye, Whole grain barley, Wild rice, QuinoaSome lesser known but great grains: Buckwheat Buckwheat flour, Triticale Millet, Sorghum|
|Starchy Vegetables||Low Sodium-Canned or Dried beans (black, lima, and pinto), Lentils, Peas (black-eyed and split), Fat-free refried beans, Vegetarian baked beans, Parsnip Plantain, Sweet Potato, Pumpkin, Acorn squash, Butternut squash, Green Peas, Corn|
|Fruit||Apples, Unsweetened Applesauce, Apricots, Banana, Blackberries Blueberries, Cantaloupe, Cherries, Dates, Dried fruit, Figs, Fruit cocktail (fresh or in its own juice), Grapefruit, Grapes, Honeydew melon, Kiwi, Mango, Nectarine, Orange, Papaya, Peaches, Pears, Pineapple, Plums, Raspberries, Strawberries, Tangerines, Watermelon|
|Milk/Yogurt||Fat-free or low-fat milk, Plain non-fat yogurt (regular or Greek), non-fat light yogurt (regular or Greek), unflavored fortified soy milk|
Best Protein Choices:
|Red Meats||Select or Choice grades of beef trimmed of fat including (chuck, rib, rump roast, round, sirloin, cubed, flank, porterhouse, T-bone steak, tenderloin) Lamb (chop, leg, or roast), Veal (loin, chop or roast) Pork (center loin chop, tenderloin)|
|Poultry||White Meat chicken and turkey without the skin, Cornish hen, eggs (egg whites or whole eggs*)*can limit egg yolk to 3 per week|
|Fish||Fish high in omega 3 fatty acids (Albacore tuna , herring, mackerel, rainbow trout, sardines, and salmon)Other fish (catfish, cod, flounder, haddock, halibut, orange roughy, and tilapia), Shellfish (clams, crab, imitation shellfish, lobster, scallops, shrimp, oysters)|
|Nuts , *beans and legumes||Any variety of unsalted nuts, seeds and natural nut and seed butters*the beans and legumes listed under starchy vegetables also can count as a protein source|
Best Fat Choices (unsaturated fats listed below should replace saturated fats):
|Monounsaturated Fats||Avocado, Canola oil, Olive oil, almonds, cashews, pecans, peanuts, olives, Natural peanut butter, peanut oil, Sesame seeds|
|Polyunsaturated Fats||Corn oil, Cottonseed oil, Safflower oil, Soybean oil, Sunflower oil, WalnutsPumpkin or sunflower seeds, Soft margarine (trans fat free), Low fat- Mayonnaise and Salad dressings|
|Omega-3’s||Albacore tuna, Herring, Mackerel, Rainbow trout, Sardines, Salmon, Tofu and other soybean products, Walnuts Flaxseed, and flaxseed oil, Canola oil|
-American Diabetes Association: www.diabetes.org
-National Diabetes Center Statistics-National Diabetes Information Clearinghouse: http://diabetes.niddk.nih.gov/dm/pubs/statistics/#fast