Tag Archives: clinical dietitian

What Can I Eat? Bringing Back An Old Favorite

By Laura Stepp, MA, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian at Lexington Medical Center

Again, I find myself looking at another beautiful picture of food and thinking about all of those vegetables I bought at the farmer’s market over the weekend. There are so many ways to incorporate and combine vegetables. The possibilities are endless, and yes, overwhelming. So as I looked through the most recent edition of Diabetic Living® Magazine, I saw an up-to-date and refreshing recipe for an old favorite: Waldorf Salad Lettuce Wraps.

Waldorf Salad Wraps

Waldorf Salad Wraps

Now many of you (especially if you are a child of the 70’s or before) might be thinking, “Yikes! The mayonnaise based salad with nuts and fruits that our parents used to eat?” Yes. My cardiac and diabetes clients are always interested in eating better but are conflicted with wanting to enjoy old traditional recipes. At the same time, I’m encouraging them to try new vegetables in new ways. Let’s do both with this heart-healthy and diabetes-friendly version.

Servings: 4 (2 wraps each)
Carbs per serving: 33 g
Start to finish preparation; 25 mins (not including cook time for whole grain)

1-1/4 cups of a cooked whole grain (brown or wild rice, pearled barley)
1 cup thin sliced apple
1 cup chopped celery
¾ cup chopped cauliflower florets
½ cup red/black seedless grapes, halved or quartered
½ cup chopped walnuts (toasted)
½ cup plain low-fat Greek yogurt (yes, really)
1 Tbsp honey (local – preferably)
½ tsp kosher salt (can substitute sea salt)
½ tsp celery seeds
¼ tsp black pepper
8 Bibb lettuce leaves (can substitute green or red leaf lettuce leaves)

1. In a large bowl combine the first six ingredients (Whole grain through walnuts). For dressing, in a small bowl combine the next six ingredients (yogurt through pepper)
2. Pour dressing over whole grain mixture; toss gently to coast. Spoon onto lettuce leaves; roll up.

Per Serving: 204 calories; (1 g Sat fat), 33g carbs (5 g fiber, 14 g sugars), 8 g protein

Go for the Green, But Think Outside the Leafy Box

by Laura Stepp, MA, RD, LD, Clinical Dietitian at LMC

It’s National Nutrition Month! Time To savor the flavor of eating right.

Laura Stepp

Laura Stepp

All colors of food are important to include in our meals, but since it’s March and I’m part Irish I think we need to explore the world of green foods. Besides the obvious green leafy choices, there are several excellent foods coming into season that will help put new life into our spring meals.

Asparagus and Brussel sprouts “spring” to mind. Both can seem scary due to their natural chemical makeup that can sometime cause them to smell (and sometimes taste), well, not so good. Both vegetables offer a variety of nutrients that are beneficial to our health and both can be used in several ways to increase flavor and variety to our recipes.

Green_veg_3___Read-Only___Compatibility_Mode_Eaten on their own and simply prepared allows asparagus and Brussel sprouts to show off just how good they really can taste. One of my favorite ways to prepare and eat either of these vegetables is to roast them in a 400 degree oven. If you are roasting Brussel sprouts, first cut them in halves or quarters. Drizzle a little olive oil and cracked pepper over the top, and then toss well before spreading on a cookie sheet in a single layer. I roast for 15 mins and check them. Brussel sprouts will need to be tossed and put back in for another 10-15 minutes depending if they were cut in half or quarters.

Oven roasting brings out and enhances the natural nuttiness of the vegetables without the smell that typically turns most people away. In addition to oven roasting, grilling or sautéing (stir-fry) will also enhance the flavor. (Tip: Choose asparagus that is thin, not thick, and trim the hard white ends off before cooking) A squeeze of lemon and some fresh grated parmesan cheese is an excellent way to finish off this simply heart-healthy side.

Where are all the carbohydrates and which ones are best?

By Laura Stepp, MA RD LD CDE at LMC

We hear it all the time “I’m on a low carb diet” or “I don’t eat carbs”. We see it in the news and on social media. Are carbohydrates good or bad, do we choose them, avoid them or limit them?

bread_1What really is a carbohydrate? A Carbohydrate is a macronutrient and major energy source in our diet coming from plants. Carbohydrates can be simple or complex. Simple carbohydrates are fast and easy for the body to digest. Although in some situations this is good, people with diabetes or those interested in losing or maintaining weight loss want to choose complex carbohydrates. Complex carbohydrates are intact and whole foods: Whole grains, beans, fruits and vegetables. Complex carbohydrates are higher in FIBER.

If we all need carbohydrates to fuel our bodies, why do we hear about low carbohydrate diets? Highly processed foods (foods that are prepackaged, premade, fast foods) are generally low in fiber (and often high in sugar and calories) making it easier for us to over indulge which could result in too many total calories, weight gain and high blood sugar for someone with diabetes.

In general, all foods in moderation can fit into a healthy diet. For people with diabetes, moderating and portion controlling carbohydrates — especially starchy carbohydrates and fruit — and choosing higher fiber versions not only helps improve and balance blood sugar but may also help with weight loss.

Lower Fiber starches and fruits: White pasta, white bread, white rice, French fries, fruit juice, dried fruit and desserts

fruit_1High Fiber starches and fruits: Whole wheat breads and pasta, oatmeal, brown rice, whole potato or beans/legumes, whole fruit

A standard serving of carbohydrates is equal to 15 grams if reading a food label and a higher fiber choice is equal to 4 grams of fiber or more per serving. If there is no label, then measuring ½ cup cooked or using the palm of your hand (no fingers) is a good general guide for a serving of carbohydrates. For most people, 60 grams or four servings of carbohydrates is a normal and reasonable meal plan. Here is an example I use with my clients to show how much food can equal 60 grams.

3-4 oz skinless turkey
1 cup cooked butternut squash (1 choice)
1-2 cups cooked vegetable (not corn, peas or beans) (0-1 choice)
1 large green salad (oil & vinegar dressing)
1 palm size whole fruit (1 choice)
1 cup of milk or yogurt (1 choice)

This meal plan comes from the Diabetes Care and Education dietetic practice group of the American Dietetic Association

By using the above example as a template for preparing our own plates this holiday season, we will all be eating a very colorful and filling plant based meal.