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Welcome to The Power of Nutrition for Health

“One cannot think well, love well, sleep well or be well if one has not dined well.”  – Virginia Woolf

For the coming weeks, I’m going to share some of the ideas, tips, suggestions and coaching information that I share with my clients. When you see a post titled “The Power of Nutrition for Health” it means I’m sharing coaching information you can use to help keep you and your family healthful.

The first few will be centered around the 3 top risk factors of ill health in today’s environment, Diabetes, Heart Disease & Lung disease/Asthma

Today’s focus: Diabetes, Prediabetes or type 2 diabetes

Food plays a vital role in diabetes management 

Eating well with diabetes does not mean you can’t eat your favorite foods or dine out; it means you have to monitor how much and when you eat – plus get physical activity.  Since blood sugar control is the primary goal with diabetes management – whether type 1, type 2 or gestational diabetes – some foods are better at stabilizing blood sugar (i.e., “slow” carbs) and others raise blood sugar more quickly (i.e., “fast” carbs).  The key is balancing your plate with all food groups:  carbohydrates, lean proteins, and healthy fats, to keep blood sugar fluctuations at bay.

 

What are “slow” carbs? 

Slow carbohydrates are high-fiber, whole foods like whole fruits, non-starchy vegetables (i.e., broccoli, cauliflower, Brussels sprouts, bell peppers, snap peas, cucumbers, kale, collard greens, etc.), whole grains, beans, legumes, dried peas, and lentils. These foods allow the gradual release of insulin and smaller elevations in blood sugar – which is a good thing since your body has a chance to dispose of the blood sugar into the cells to use it for energy.

What are “fast” carbs? 

Fast carbohydrates are refined foods like cookies, candy, cakes, muffins, white bread, white rice, and egg noodles.  They are typically low fiber and high in sugar. Fast carbohydrates enter your system running and spike blood sugar immediately, allowing it to stay up there longer, but then dropping it significantly. This creates highs and lows in blood sugar, which leaves you feeling tired and drained of energy. Plus, fast foods make your pancreas work harder since they require more insulin to cover the higher blood sugar levels. Over time, this can wear out the pancreas even more than it already is with diabetes – causing the need for more medication or insulin shots.

 

Eat Regularly with Balance

The main thing you want to think about when eating with diabetes is the timing of meals and snacks. Eating consistently throughout the day is vital for blood sugar control. Set a schedule for eating every day. When planning meals and snacks, space them 3-4 hours apart. Balance your carbohydrates – whether slow or fast carbs – with a bit of protein (i.e., almonds, walnuts, peanuts, chicken, fish, or low-fat cheese, plus some healthful fats like olive oil, canola oil, flax or hemp seeds, or avocado).

 

Measure your portions. 

Know how many carbs you’re eating – aim for 2-4 servings of carbs with meals and 1-2 servings of carbs with snacks. For example, 1 serving of carbs = ½ cup cooked pasta or brown rice, a small to medium whole fruit, or 1 slice of whole-grain bread. (Note: milk and yogurt contain carbs from the naturally occurring sugar called lactose. 1 cup of milk or plain yogurt contains about 1 serving of carbs).

Be sure to measure protein – for meals, it’s 4 ounces (about the size of the palm of your hand) of lean meat, chicken, fish, or a whole egg.

Pay attention to adding healthful fats with 1 ounce of nuts (i.e., pistachios, almonds, walnuts, peanuts), 1Tbsp of peanut or almond butter, 1 Tbsp of olive or canola oil or 2 Tbsp of avocado.

Limit empty calories from alcohol, sweets, and unhealthy fats.  If you drink alcohol, stick with 1 drink per day for women and 2 drinks per day for men. Eat 1-2 servings of carbs + 1-2 ounces of protein when imbibing.  As far as sweets, limit to one small cookie or 1 small piece of cake or candy as a treat, but not part of your regular eating regimen. Avoid trans fats or partially hydrogenated oils and limit saturated fats from foods like beef, bacon, dark meat of poultry, butter, whole milk, and/or full-fat cheese.

Create A Diabetes Plate:   ½ plate = fruits + veggies; ¼ plate = protein; ¼ plate = whole grains + water

Regardless of your budget, you can eat all of the above foods if you look for fruits and vegetables in season. You can also pick up frozen varieties, as well as canned or poached fish. Foods that are affordable all year round are beans, rolled oats, and barley, all of which you can cook from scratch.

 

Other Helpful Resources:

Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics: www.eatright.org

American Diabetes Association: www.diabetes.org

Dietary Guidelines for Americans: www.dietaryguidelines.gov

Fork’s Over Knives: https://www.forksoverknives.com

 

Adapted from, The Way to Eat with Diabetes, BY Victoria Shanta Retleny, RD, LDN

 

Note:
This Content is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, prescribing, diagnosis, or treatment, but to be used as information only. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health providers with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.   Never disregard professional medical advice or delay in seeking it because of something you have read!

 

Always Remember to Stay Amazed,

Kris the Health Coach

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