Thanksgiving Night (A Night Before Christmas Parody)

So it’s the night before Thanksgiving and all through the house
You were stirring and stirring and so was your spouse

Preparing the feast you are making with care
Looking forward to family and friends who’ll be there

You were thinking and thinking just about bread
I mean, what else does one think of inside of their head?

“I know my dietitian said just think of a cap
Stop eating before your body demands a long nap”

When all of a sudden my brain starts to clatter
I sprang from my thoughts and from stirring the batter

Away to my computer I flew like a flash
Typed in this dietitian’s website – man, she’s a smash

The idea of moderation and even saying “no”
Gave me hope that I could have my glucose to show

When what to my wondering thoughts should appear
That I could eat what I want!?! You see, it’s just that simple my dear

With some look ahead planning I knew just that quick
I’d be able to eat everything I want, ain’t that slick

Maybe not as much as I used to, but that’s not my aim
These numbers were crazy, but them I can tame

Now Fiber and Protein and Veggies and Fruits
On Legumes and Oils and Dairy and Roots

To the plate size and portion size, make them all small
Now you’ll be able to eat what you want, ya’ll!

As dry herbs that cooked with the turkey on high
When you are met with an obstacle, don’t fear to fly!

So up in the morning with breakfast, you’ll chew
With some protein and fiber and healthy fats too

And then you’ll see that it’s not just a spoof
Your glucose won’t be as high as the roof

If after noon is your meal, I think you have found
You’ll need a snack until Thanksgiving dinner comes around

Control is important from your head to your foot
YOU CAN do it during holidays, the numbers WILL stay put

Eating well doesn’t have to be seriously wack
You can eat what you want it’s just a portion hack

Your eyes – how they’ll twinkle! Your smile: how merry!
They’ll see you’re not afraid to eat, even fruits like a cherry!

Your knowledge will surely sprout up and grow
And your confidence, like centerpieces, will definitely show

So as you chew each bite well with your sparkling teeth
Know quite proudly and with a sigh of relief

That your beautiful face, and God-made round belly
Will, on the inside be healthy, and not a nervous Nelly!

I don’t care if your plump or if your scale’s on a shelf
I care most if you’re healthy and loving yourself

Intrinsically you know inside of your head
You honestly, truly, have nothing to dread

Sometimes it does take a lot of hard work
You may feel overwhelmed just don’t go berserk!

Learning to control glucose, God-knows
Can take some getting used to but first, you have chose

To come to my blog and not even bristle
Just take in the info and happily whistle

And I know you’ll exclaim when your sugars are right
That everything worked out well on this Thanksgiving night

-An Amanda Original…you’re welcome (hahaha!)

So if you didn’t quite get it from my exquisite poem writing here’s a few things to remember about keeping your blood sugars controlled on Thanksgiving:

  1. Eat a snack before bed (just as you would normally)
  2. Eat a balanced breakfast. Protein and fiber and healthy fats too!
  3. If Thanksgiving dinner is later in the day make sure to eat a small snack so you don’t go into the dinner ravenous.
  4. If Thanksgiving was earlier in the day (around noon) you’re going to need to eat later in the day. Perhaps a snack.
  5. Decide early on what you REALLY like to eat on Thanksgiving. Things that aren’t really your favorite, don’t eat! Save yourself some carbs!
  6. Think about your plate…half of it should be vegetables (salad, roasted veggies, etc); the palm of your hand size should be turkey; the last quarter of your plate, carbohydrates (mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes, pie, stuffing, etc)
  7. Eat what you want, just eat less!!! A small sliver of pie, smaller portions of potatoes, less stuffing. You’ll get all the flavors, be satisfied, and feel great not stuffed afterward!

Hope you enjoyed this as much as I enjoyed writing it!

5 Easy Diet Tips to Control Blood Sugars

Morning blood sugars, medicines, injectables, insulin. The worry, the appointments, the questions, the diet, the exercises. It is overwhelming! And what happens if they aren’t working…or not as well as they should be for the amount of thought and work you put in to make them better, normal?

Sure you may have cut back on your sugar intake. Maybe you’ve lowered your portion sizes, started eating more vegetables, stopped drinking soda, or even eat breakfast now…but these changes may not have had the impact you hoped.

Try these 5 things. If they work GREAT! But if not you need to talk to your doctor. You should talk to your doctor regardless. Bring them this list. Let them know what you are doing to try and control your numbers.

  1. Eat a bedtime snack. If this is the only tip you take away from this list it may be the difference between normal levels and high ones in the morning. Think protein and carbohydrate. Peanut butter and apple; cheese and whole wheat crackers; Greek yogurt; nuts and raisins; or turkey lunch meat and a slice of whole grain bread. Whatever! Just eat something!
  2. Balance your meals. I know you have heard that protein is important, and it is, but it’s not super important if you aren’t balancing your meals with carbohydrates, fat, and fiber! If all you have for lunch is chicken and your blood sugars before dinner are ridiculous…something is wrong! Balance that chicken out with beans and a salad! Think protein/meat, carbohydrate/grain/beans, and vegetable (not corn).
  3. Watch what you are drinking. Just because you may have stopped drinking soda doesn’t mean that everything else you drink isn’t loaded with it. Juice, iced tea, coffee with flavored creamer, and specialty coffee drinks can have just as much sugar as soda.
  4. Eat every 3-4 hours. Think about your body like a car. It needs to be refueled. By you eating consistently you’re helping your body and your blood sugar. Meals and snacks are super important! Make sure your snacks are nourishing and not just a candy bar out of the vending machine or some stale chips you have in your pantry!
  5. If you do have a meal that has more carbohydrates than your body needs, don’t feel guilty just do better! Every meal, every snack is an opportunity to improve! Take it! Don’t think about starting on Monday or the New Year…do it now!

Remember to keep taking your medicine/insulin, check your blood sugars, and take care of yourself!

Understanding Diabetes

I’ve got my Thanksgiving countdown going on. I love Thanksgiving and I’m actually a little annoyed when Christmas takes over too early! Sure as a Christian I love Christmas, I mean the best thing in the world came to earth and that’s why we celebrate it BUT Thanksgiving is just awesome. It’s a month that I take every year to step back and be thankful for my blessings. I enjoy the food…turkey, side dishes, pies, but I also love the family time…it’s all wonderful! When you have diabetes though, the holidays can be a time of worrying about what your blood sugars are going to be for over a month!

When you have diabetes, the holidays can be a time of worrying about what your blood sugars are going to be for over a month! If you have your 3-month appointment any time within the December, January, or February time-frame you know how stressful it can be! Your A1c level tattle tells you and there’s just no way around it! 🙂

Blood sugars can be finicky especially when you are eating foods that you don’t normally eat; however, they can also be quite calculated if you understand diabetes and how your diet interacts with your blood sugars! What you eat and WHEN you eat can be the map to better blood sugars.

This is the first installation of a few posts about diabetes and eating to control your blood sugars through the holidays! These posts are also helpful if you have a family member or friend with diabetes.

So what is diabetes?

Diabetes is a disease that affects your pancreas. Your pancreas is an organ in your digestive system that makes insulin. Insulin is a hormone that acts as a key to open cells in your body to let sugar inside. The sugar goes into your bloodstream from eating foods with carbohydrates.

Picture this…

You go to the grocery store and come home. Let’s be honest, we all try to get into the house by making the least amount of trips, so you pile those grocery bags on your arms. You get up to your house and the door is locked and somewhere between the grocery store and home, you’ve lost your house key. Without that key, you can’t get in and your groceries are stuck on your arm, weighing you down BUT that’s not the biggest problem. The biggest problem is that whoever is inside the house won’t get fed without those groceries.

You’re welcome…

Well…when you eat foods with CARBOHYDRATES your body turns that into sugar or GLUCOSE. The groceries are GLUCOSE  and you are the BLOODSTREAM. Your BLOODSTREAM’S job is to bring the GLUCOSE to the CELL door (your house door). The problem is if your body doesn’t have the key which is INSULIN then the GLUCOSE doesn’t get into CELLS and your body doesn’t get fed.

SO the problem isn’t necessarily that the sugar is in your blood, but that the sugar is NOT getting into your cells. Still with me????

When you check your blood sugar and it is high, the sugar isn’t feeding your cells because it is stuck in your bloodstream due to a problem with your insulin.

Now that you know what diabetes is and what happens inside of your body, stay tuned for ways to keep your sugars controlled during the holidays!

Precious Heart

Your heart is the life beat of your body…quite literally. Heart disease is a killer. It kills more people every year in the U.S. than anything else. Do you have heart disease? Does someone you love have heart disease? Do you or someone you love have diseases that lead up to heart disease?

  • High Blood Pressure
  • High Cholesterol
  • High Triglycerides
  • Stroke
  • Heart Attack
  • Diabetes

Do you or someone you love have these risk factors that make you more susceptible to get heart disease?

  • Smoking
  • Overweight
  • Obesity
  • Inactive
  • Family History of Heart Disease
  • Preeclampsia (high blood pressure while pregnant)
  • Poor Food Choices

Does this scare you? If it did, that was not my intention. My intention was to get you to hear me out and face the facts of how utterly important your diet is to keep your ticker ticking. I care about you. Every single one of my readers. I pray for you and I pray for the health of your bodies.

What you eat matters a lot when it comes to heart health. I could give you the same old lecture on eating “healthy” food will keep you healthy. But you’ve gotten that before. The month of February we’re going to talk about foods that you may want to get into your diet to improve your risk factors and keep that heart healthy.

Start today…don’t wait. Foods that have a lot of salt (sodium), animal fats (beef, pork, butter, cream), trans fats (partially hydrogenated oils), and not enough balance of the super nutrient rich foods can lead you down the path of illness. Let’s take the path of wellness…

Diabetes and the Holidays

As a dietitian I can appreciate how difficult the holidays can be for someone with diabetes. Year round is challenging for those that struggle with blood sugar control, but when you are surrounded by pie, cookies, candy, cakes, carbs, carbs, carbs the holidays can be down right scary.

I have a few tips for those with diabetes and pre-diabetes for this time of year and I hope it helps you get through with level blood sugars and feeling empowered!

  1. Remember it’s not just sugar that increases your glucose. Carbohydrates in any shape or form raise your blood sugars. That is not necessarily a bad thing but the amount is important! Sure the sweets make your glucose go up but so do potatoes, pasta, rice, sweetened beverages, crackers, chips, pretzels and many other foods. Watch your portions.
  2. One cookie may be fine but 3 cookies could make your sugars sky rocket. Know your body and know your limits.
  3. Test, test, test, test, test. Ignorance is not bliss. Know your blood sugars!
  4. Take your medicine/insulin. Again, testing is key but so is being compliant on your medications. If your body needs help controlling blood sugars and your doctor has prescribed you a medication to lower them…take the meds your body needs!
  5. Pair with protein. A meal of cookies, cake, crackers, pie, and fruit punch may land you a trip to the hospital. Lower your portion sizes, pick and choose the carbohydrates you really want to eat, and then pair those carbohydrates with protein. Things like cheese, meats, eggs, and Greek yogurt are great sources of protein.
  6. Don’t waste carbohydrates or calories. If you pick something to eat at a holiday party and it doesn’t taste good Do. Not. Waste. Carbohydrates! Politely throw it away and get something else that you would enjoy.
  7. Alcohol is not a carbohydrate. Contrary to popular belief beer, wine, and liquor will not bring your blood sugars up. Although there are “carbohydrates” on the label alcohol technically digests like a fat so it won’t send your glucose sky high. If you pair alcohol with a sugary beverage then count on the sugary beverage to increase your blood sugars.
  8. Eat regularly. Even if you are going to a big holiday party in the evening, eat a regular breakfast, lunch, and snacks to keep your blood sugars under control.
  9. HbA1c’s don’t lie. Even if your next doctors appointment isn’t until February the HbA1c blood test will tell your doctor an average blood sugar over the last 3 months. He or she will know if the holiday season was tough on your blood sugars! It’s like Santa…it sees you when you’re eating, it knows when you don’t take your medications, so for goodness sake be careful! 🙂
  10. Why do you care what your blood sugars are during the holidays? Because every time your glucose goes too high it impacts your body in a big way. It affects your eyes, heart, kidneys, nerves, and brain especially. Keeping it under control will not only make your doctor happy but it will also make your body happy.

If you need extra help this holiday season go to see your dietitian. Make an appointment to get a game plan for Christmas parties, cookie exchanges, family gatherings, and keeping blood sugars controlled in your every day life. Having trouble finding a dietitian? Check with your local hospital or Find An Expert.

Season of Thankfulness: Snacking

Snacking throughout the day can be one of the most important things you do for your health. If you are trying to lose weight or have diabetes, snacking can help you control your appetite and your blood sugars.

Finding the right snacks; however, can be a challenge. If a vending machine is close by, you know that perhaps snacking isn’t your best move of day. Packing or having nutrient rich snacks on hand is going to be the secret to snack-cess (yep, see what I just did there?).

Eating every 3-4 hours is quite important. Your body actually expects you fuel it because your stomach empties every 2 hours (give or take) so by the time 3-4 hours rolls around your body is looking for more fuel. This doesn’t mean you have to eat 5-6 small meals throughout the day AIN’T NOBODY GOT TIME FOR THAT! Unless you do then by all means, proceed! It does mean keeping small snacks (about 100-200 calories) with you so that when your next meal rolls around you are not ravenous and making poor food choices.

“Good” snacks:

  • Give your body something it needs (not something it wants)
  • Give your body something it is missing (not something it is craving)
  • Give your body fulfillment (not an empty feeling in a few minutes)
  • Give your body energy (not a sugar/caffeine high)

What falls into those categories? Here’s a list of 25 awesome snacks (not just boring ones) for you to “chew on”:

  1. Fresh fruits. They’re already packed and ready to go! (apples, bananas, oranges, clementines, peaches, pears)
  2. Dried fruits. 100 calorie packs of raisins, cranberries, prunes, or other dried (not fried) fruits are great pick me ups!
  3. Fresh veggies. This requires more planning ahead but carrot sticks, celery sticks, broccoli, cauliflower, etc are wonderful crunchy additions to your day.
  4. Steamed veggies. Sounds weird but they make single serving steamed veggies that, if you have a microwave and enjoy the cooked veggie variety, can be a great mid-afternoon nosh!
  5. String cheese. Let’s face it, 90% of the population loves cheese (I totally made that up). String cheese is super lean and provides your body protein and calcium!
  6. Other portion controlled cheeses. Besides the string variety, many companies are making 90 calorie packs of your favorite variety of cheese. Again providing your body protein and calcium.
  7. Nuts. These nutrient rich poppable palate pleasers come in a variety of types and even some awesome flavors. The 100 calorie packs make them portion controlled and easy to carry around.
  8. Yogurt. Preferably Greek yogurt because it will give your body more protein. Other yogurts are good too because of the live bacteria that will help your gut. Remember that yogurt naturally has sugar so don’t be alarmed when you see the amount of sugar on the food label. In a typical 5.3 oz container of Greek yogurt you are looking at around 6 grams of natural sugar in the product. If it has real fruit, there’s more natural sugar.
  9. Cottage cheese. Packed with protein and calcium this wonderful little snack pairs really well with fruit. Watch the sodium content though! If you are salt sensitive try to choose a brand that has less salt added. Go for 2% cottage cheese instead of full fat or fat free.
  10. Hard boiled eggs. These egg-tastic snacks are full of protein, vitamin D, lutein, and zeaxanthin (antioxidants found in the yolk). The whites are 100% protein but do miss out on some of those key vitamins and antioxidants found in the yolk.
  11. Deviled eggs. They are for more than just summer picnics! This spices up the hard boiled egg. Try mixing the yolk with 1/2 the amount of mayonnaise and use plain Greek yogurt or a mashed avocado for added volume. Dijon mustard instead of yellow mustard adds a kick and instead of plain paprika to make it pretty try adding smoked paprika.
  12. Hummus and veggies. If you haven’t tried hummus yet, go for it! If you don’t like regular hummus try a flavored one. My favorite is roasted red pepper. Hummus is pureed chickpeas so it is loaded with protein, fiber, and other nutrients.
  13. String cheese and pickles. One of my favorites! This is not for the salt sensitive person. Mix that with a little dijon mustard and you’ve got yourself one gourmet snack!
  14. Cheese and apples or pears. Delicious! This salty and sweet snack hits just about every taste bud. Keep the cheese to around 1 oz portion (size of string cheese or 4 dice put together)
  15. Peanut butter (or other nut butters) and apples. This all time favorite can be taken one step further by melting the peanut butter ever so slightly and sprinkling in a little cinnamon in it…then dip the apple. Get a napkin, you’re drooling.
  16. Peanut butter and bananas. Sure this Elvis favorite is a classic but let’s take this one a step further too. Instead of ants on a log with celery, peanut butter, and raisins, lets do ants on a log with a banana cut in half long ways peanut butter on the flat part and raisins.
  17. Celery and peanut butter. Kids and adults both rave over this one! You can even try celery with plain Greek yogurt (mix in a little dry ranch dressing mix to the yogurt and BAM one amazing snack).
  18. Rolled up turkey lunch meat. I like this one because it’s easy, packed with protein, and I like to “dip”. Dip this in yellow mustard, dijon mustard, or grain mustard and it becomes fancier than you’d think.
  19.  Popcorn. They make 100 calorie bags which are great to control portions. Plain air popped popcorn is 3 cups for 1 serving. If you like a little flavor to your popcorn think about adding Old Bay, parmesan cheese, or if you are a fancy foodie – dehydrated vinegar.
  20. Granola bars. But not just any old granola bars. Look for ones with at least 3 grams of fiber for about 100 calories, lowest amount of sugar, and whole food ingredients. My favorite are Kind and Kashi. Remember this is a snack, not a meal replacement. I’m not a big fan of meal replacement bars (100-200 calories).
  21. Trail mix. Make your own! Think energy, protein, and fun. Energy can come from dried whole grain cereal, dried fruit, popcorn, or a mix of all 3. Protein can come from nuts or seeds. Fun comes in all shapes and sizes but personally I prefer dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate mini-chips. My favorite trail mix recipe is: Cheerios (1 cup), dried cranberries (1/2 cup), walnuts pieces (1/4 cup), and mini semi-sweet chocolate chips (1/8 cup). Makes about 2-4 servings (2 servings 200 calories each or 4 servings 100 calories each).
  22. Veggies and Greek yogurt dip. Grab a 5.3 oz plain Greek yogurt container and add your favorite dried ranch dressing or dip mix (you can make your own too). Add enough dip mix to get flavor into that yogurt and go to town on your favorite dip-able veggies! Broaden your horizons and try jicama (hee-kama), kohlrabi, parsnips, and turnips in your dip! They are crunchy, delicious, and have more nutrients than potato chips.
  23. Oatmeal. I know it sounds weird but this breakfast favorite can be a great, warm, soothing snack on a cold day. Watch the sugar on some of the packaged ones. Make your own by adding some walnuts, cranberries, and cinnamon with a splash of honey!
  24. Seeds (pumpkin and sunflower). These gems are easy to make at home or on the shelves year round to buy. Great for munching or pairing with raisins like a trail mix.
  25. Frozen yogurt. Not like you’re thinking. Take your favorite Greek yogurt, throw it in the freezer and in a few hours you’ve got an incredible, creamy, flavorful frozen treat!

Let us know, what are some of your favorite healthy snacks?