Tag Archives: food and nutrition

Managing Diabetes During the Holidays

By:  Donna Quirk, MBA, RD, LD
LMC Clinical Nutrition Manager

Today (November 14th) is World Diabetes Day, a day dedicated to diabetes education and prevention.  The International Diabetes Federation works all year long to increase awareness about the ever growing health threat that diabetes poses worldwide.

It also strikes me that World Diabetes Day occurs every year right as many of us start celebrating the holidays.

Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year’s Day are filled with fun and family … and food.  Keeping blood sugars in check while enjoying the food and festivities can be a struggle.  But as always, with a strategy and some planning you can do it!  Here are some ideas:

  • Roast winter vegetables to have as a side dish.  Cube potatoes or sweet potatoes, turnips, acorn squash, red onion then add baby carrots and brussels sprouts.  Toss with a combination of olive oil, apple butter, garlic powder, and pepper.
  • Spread in a baking dish and roast until golden brown.
  • Sprinkle pomegranates on turkey instead of cranberry sauce.  Use pomegranates in any salad as well.
  • Keep fresh fruit on the dessert table with yogurt for a dipping sauce.
  • To save calories and carbohydrates, make fruit crisps instead of pies.
  • Keep beverages calorie free or very low in calories.
  • Exercise regularly through the holiday season!

Green Bean Casserole is Thanksgiving favorite.  Here is an alternate recipe from this month’s Today’s Diet & Nutrition© magazine that saves the calories and fat from the cream soup and fried onions.

Green Beans With Crispy Topping
Serves 4

For the crispy topping

  • 1⁄2 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 2 teaspoons chicken broth
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon garlic powder
  • 1⁄8 teaspoon onion powder
  • Pinch red pepper flakes, optional
  • 1⁄2 cup rice crisp cereal

For the beans

  • 1 (12-ounce) bag green beans
  • 3 tablespoons chicken broth, divided
  • 1 teaspoon olive oil
  • Salt, to taste
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter
  • 1⁄2 teaspoon dried thyme

Directions:

In a small saucepan over medium heat, make crispy topping by melting the butter then adding the broth, garlic and onion powders, red pepper flakes (if using), and cereal, stirring to coat the cereal. Cook, stirring frequently, until cereal begins to brown and pan is dry, about 2 to 3 minutes. Set aside and let cool.

Wash and prep the beans, if necessary. In a saucepan over medium-high heat, heat 1 tablespoon of broth and the olive oil. Add beans and season with salt to taste. Stir occasionally.

When pan becomes dry, about 3 minutes, add the remaining 2 tablespoons of broth. Cook until beans are crisp-tender, about 3 to 5 minutes longer.

Meanwhile, melt the butter with the thyme in the microwave, about 30 seconds. Set aside.

When beans are done, remove pan from heat and toss beans with butter sauce. Place beans in a serving dish and garnish with the crispy topping.

Nutrient Analysis: Calories: 95; Total Fat: 6 g; Saturated Fat: 3 g; Polyunsaturated Fat: 0 g; Monounsaturated Fat: 2 g; Cholesterol: 11 mg; Sodium: 94 mg; Carbohydrates: 10 g; Fiber: 3 g; Protein: 2 g

Recipe by Jessica Girdwain © 2012 Today’s Diet & Nutrition

Smart Trick-or-Treat Choices for Halloween

By:  Donna Quirk, MBA, RD, LD
LMC Clinical Nutrition Manager

Halloween is a fun and festive day for kids of all ages.  If you and your family have been making healthier food choices – don’t stop now!  Halloween can still be lots of fun without lots of sugar and fat. Fill your Trick-or-Treat basket with:

  • Individual cereal bars
  • Trail mix with dried fruit and nuts
  • Dark Chocolate kisses
  • Sugar-free gum or herd candy
  • Goldfish Crackers
  • Pretzels
  • Snack packs of raisins
  • Animal crackers
  • Fig cookies
  • Graham crackers
  • Snack pack pudding or fruit
  • Individual packets of low-fat microwave popcorn

Or, go the non-food route with:

  • Stickers
  • Pencils
  • Markers
  • Rub-on tattoos
  • Small toys
  • Costume jewelry
  • Nickels, dimes, or quarters
  • Anything that Glows!

Even though it’s Halloween, you can continue to build and encourage healthy eating habits and have a fun fall holiday!

Nutrition’s Role in Cancer Prevention

By:  Donna Quirk, MBA, RD, LD
LMC Clinical Nutrition Manager

October is Cancer Prevention Month and Breast Cancer Awareness Month.  All of us probably know someone who has had cancer.  The food choices you make can play an important role in cancer prevention.

There are a wide variety of foods that contain macronutrients, vitamins, minerals and phytochemicals that may provide protection against developing several different types of cancer.  The good news is that not only are they good for cancer prevention, but they are just plain good for you!

So what should you eat to make a difference?

  • Apples provide 10% of the Vitamin C and fiber needed daily.  Gut bacteria uses an apple’s pectin to protect colon cells.  Apples have a variety of phytochemicals.  Be sure to eat the whole apple – the peel has at least a third of an apples’ cancer protective compounds.
  • Cruciferous Vegetables are excellent sources of fiber, Vitamin C, carotenoids (beta-carotene), and folate.  The vegetables in this category provide protection against cancers of the colon, esophagus, mouth, and stomach.  Cruciferous vegetables are broccoli, brussels sprouts, rapini, green cabbage, cauliflower, turnips, and dark green leafy vegetables like kale and collard greens.
  • Blueberries and Cranberries are antioxidant “powerhouses” due to their rich amount of phytochemicals such as flavanols, anthocyanins, catechins, resveratrol, and ellagic acid.
  • Dry Beans, Split Peas, and Lentils provide 20% of our daily fiber requirements and 10% of our daily protein needs.  They are also an excellent source of folate.  Folate may help reduce pancreatic cancer and fiber may help reduce colon cancer.  Other phytochemicals in beans, peas, and lentils help reduce the effects of inflammation and, therefore, may decrease cancer risk but the research is ongoing.
  • Whole Grains such as wheat, oats, barley, brown rice, quinoa, and corn also provide fiber, selenium, and other anti-oxidants.

So, how do you put it all together?  Ideally, start planning your meals and eating based on the “My Plate” recommendations from the USDA or the “Healthy Eating Plate” from the Harvard School of Public Health.  Both recommend filling half your plate with vegetables and fruits and a quarter of your plate with whole grains.

And, finally, researchers believe that it is how nutrients work together in all the foods we eat that really makes a difference.  So, enjoy a wide variety of whole foods – they are your best cancer defense.