CAN I EAT FRUTI IF I AM A DIABETIC?

CAN I EAT FRUTI IF I AM A DIABETIC?

Fruit contains some of the highest levels of antioxidants, and essential vitamins and minerals needed for good health. So even if you’re a diabetic, the good news is that fruit can be part of a healthy well balanced diet!

It is important to distinguish between “added sugar” and naturally occurring sugar. The sugar in fruit is naturally occurring, and therefore is processed by the body differently than added sugar. Keep in mind that fruit, being a carbohydrate, will cause a rise in blood sugar, but the fiber and naturally occurring sugar in fruit are much slower to digest than the added sugar in say a cookie, cake or candy. The fiber in fruit can help you feel full longer, helping to keep your blood sugar stable. Berries and fruit with skin, are a great choice because they contain some of the highest amounts of fiber.

Look for fruit that is fresh, frozen or canned (without added sugar). Practice portion control when eating fruit, and try to limit dried fruit (which sometimes contains added sugar) to no more than 2 tablespoons per serving. Additionally, eating a piece of fruit is a great way to satisfy a craving for sweets, try ½ cup of fresh berries with Greek yogurt for a healthy snack,  for more snack ideas check out these 5 Healthy Snacks Under 150 Calories.

Nutrition Tip: Paring fruit with a protein (like a hard boiled egg or a small handful of nuts) will help give you a slow steady release of blood sugar.

So what is one serving of fruit?

One serving of fruit is approximately 60 calories, and 15 grams of carbohydrate. Which is equivalent to a small piece of whole fruit, ¾ – to 1 cup of fresh berries or melons, or approximately ½ cup of frozen or canned fruit. For optimal blood sugar control, skip the smoothie or large fruit salad, and try to break up your fruit intake throughout the day, aim to eat one serving of fruit at a time. If you’re counting carbs, fruit can be exchanged for other carbohydrate source such as starchy vegetables, whole grains, or dairy. Aim for more servings of vegetables than fruit per day, the Dietary Guidelines for Americans recommends aiming for 2 cups of fruit and at least 2.5 cups of vegetables per day based on a 2000 calorie diet.

Check out these examples of a serving size of fruit:

  • 1 small apple with skin (~4 oz)
  • ½ of a banana, or 1 extra small banana (~4 oz)   
  • ¾ cup of blueberries
  • ¾ cup of blackberries
  • 1 cup raspberries
  • 1 ¼ cup whole strawberries
  • 17 small grapes
  • ¾ cup fresh pineapple
  • 1 small orange (~6 ½ ounces)
  • 1 small nectarine (~5 ounces)
  • 1 slice of watermelon or 1 ¼ cups cubed
  • ½ grapefruit (~ 11 oz)
  • ½ of a fresh large pear (~ 4 oz)  
  • 4 whole fresh apricots (~5 ½ oz) or 8 dried halves
  • 13 of a cantaloupe melon (11 oz) or 1 cup cubed

Enjoy a wide variety of colorful fruits and vegetables as part of a healthy well-balanced diet!

5 HEALTHY SNACKS UNDER 150 CALORIES

5 HEALTHY SNACKS UNDER 150 CALORIES

Snacking is a great way to boost metabolism, and keeps you energized throughout the day. Pairing together a healthy carbohydrate (like an apple, orange, or carrots) with a healthy protein (like nuts, cheese, or yogurt) is an effective way to make your snack more energy-balanced.

The carb and protein combo helps balance blood sugar, curbs your appetite, and leaves you feeling full longer. Additionally, healthy snacking can be a great way to get additional servings of fruits and vegetables!

Check out these 5 healthy balanced carb + protein snack combos.

1 cup of sliced strawberries + 12 almonds
   
  136 calories (16g Carb, 4g Protein, 8g Fat)

small apple + 1 tbsp nut butter (all natural, no added sugar or salt)
      147 calories (17g Carb, 4g Protein, 8g Fat)

20 baby carrots + 2 Tbsp hummus
      140 calories (21g Carb, 3g Protein, 6g Fat)

1/2 cup grapes + 25 pistachios
      132 calories (18g Carb, 3.5g Protein, 7g Fat)

blueberries (½ cup) + Greek yogurt (8 ounces, nonfat plain Greek yogurt)
    142 calories (18g Carb, 19g Protein, 0g Fat)

By keeping simple grab-and-go snacks on hand, you can reduce your cravings for sweets and set yourself up for healthy eating success throughout your day. Here is to making healthy snacking easy and nutritious!

*All nutrition information obtained from Calorie King.

HOW TO MAKE A HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS SALAD!

HOW TO MAKE A HEALTHY AND DELICIOUS SALAD!

Getting your daily intake of veggies in is easy when you incorporate salads for lunch or dinner. Remember that a salad doesn’t have to taste boring and bland, try this simple build-your-own salad blueprint that is balanced and nutritious. Loaded with fiber, protein, and non-starchy vegetables this delicious salad combo will keep your taste buds happy and your tummy full!

BUILD-YOUR-OWN HEALTHY SALAD BLUEPRINT

GREENS: 1 to 2 cups salad (ex: lettuce, arugula, kale, mesclun or spinach mix)
     ~ 5 calories for 1 cup raw; 2 cups = ~ 10 calories

NON-STARCHY VEG: Add 1 to 2 cups non-starchy vegetables (ex: cucumber, tomatoes, carrot, mushroom, etc.)
      ~25 calories for 1 cup raw; 2 cups = ~ 50 calories

WHOLE GRAINS / STARCHY VEG / BEANS: Add in ⅓ a cup of starchy carb (ex: whole grain, beans or starchy veg: potato, yams, corn, etc.)
      ~ 80 calories for ⅓ cup whole grains, ½ cup beans, or ½ medium potato

LEAN PROTEIN: Top with 3 to 4 ounces of lean protein (ex: chicken, salmon, tuna, tofu or egg)
      ~ 45 calories for 1 ounce of lean protein; 3 ounces = ~ 135 calories

HEALTHY DRESSING: ½ tablespoon of dressing (extra virgin olive oil, balsamic vinegar, fresh lemon, crushed pepper, and a pinch of salt)
      ~ 60 calories for ½ tablespoon

Try this Simple Healthy Summer Salad!

– 2 cups of raw spinach
– 1 cup of  cherry tomatoes
– ½ cup of cucumber (with peel)
– ½ cup of sliced radishes
– ½ cup of raw carrot strips
– ½ cup of raw bell peppers
– ¼ cup of garbanzo beans (canned and drained)
– 3 ounces of light tuna, canned in water (drained)
– 1 tablespoon of dry roasted sunflower seed kernels (no salt)

Healthy Dressing:
– ½ tablespoon of extra virgin olive oil
– 1 teaspoon of balsamic vinegar
– Fresh squeeze of lime or lemon
– Fresh ground pepper with a pinch of salt

Total: 377 calories, 36 g of carb, 32 g of protein, 13 g of fat

*All nutrition information obtained from Calorie King.

SHOULD I GO GLUTEN-FREE?

SHOULD I GO GLUTEN-FREE?

Gluten… often feared and avoided by the health conscious, this little protein has made quite the headlines! So should you eat gluten, or are you better off going gluten-free? Let’s discuss the pros and cons, and figure out if avoiding gluten is right for you.

What is gluten?

Gluten is a protein made up of glutenin and gliadin. Some grains, wheat being the most commonly known, contain gluten. Gluten helps keep flour moist and pliable, and is often used in baked goods to help provide shape and a chewy texture.  

Which foods contain gluten?

Most whole grains are naturally gluten-free, with the exception of wheat, rye, barley and triticale. The following wheat varieties also contain gluten: spelt, kamut, farro, durum, bulgur and semolina. If you’re trying to avoid gluten, pay close attention to the listed ingredients on the food label, gluten can be hidden in products like soy sauce, condiments, seasonings, alcohol and vegetarian meat alternatives. Here are some common foods that contain wheat:

– Baked goods such as cake, cookie and pie
– Most breads including both wheat and white varieties
– Pasta, pizza, bagels, crackers and flour tortillas
– Breakfast foods like doughnuts, waffles, pancakes and crepes

Should you go gluten-free?

There may be some health benefits for going gluten-free, since most “whole foods” like vegetables, fruit, meats, dairy, and some whole grains are naturally gluten-free. However, there is a small percentage of the population that needs to avoid gluten, those with a diagnosis of celiac or an intolerance to gluten (a blood test or an intestinal biopsies can help determine these diagnosis). If you do have celiac, it is imperative to follow a strict gluten-free diet. You should consult with a Registered Dietitian or a qualified healthcare professional for further guidance. If you don’t have an allergy or intolerance to gluten, consuming gluten in moderation can be part of a healthy balanced diet.  

Will going gluten-free help me lose weight?

Maybe, since avoiding gluten often requires cutting out processed junk foods and desserts, which can promote weight loss. Keep in mind that just because a food item is “gluten-free” doesn’t necessarily mean it is healthier for you. Gluten-free products may contain added sugar, refined starch flours (like potato or rice) artificial sweeteners, emulsifiers, fillers, and possibly unhealthy saturated or trans fat which can contribute to weight gain. For example, a piece of gluten free cake still contains added sugar, and can be just as calorically rich as a piece of regular cake containing gluten.

For optimal health, stick with minimally processed foods and whole grains, many of which are naturally gluten-free like rice, quinoa, oats, wild rice, millet, buckwheat, corn and oats. If you have a gluten allergy, opt for a gluten-free oat option (oats may be processed in the same facility as wheat, making them susceptible to cross-contamination).

The Bottom Line

Unless you have a medical reason to avoid eating gluten (such as celiac disease), whole grains can be part of  a healthy balanced diet. Remember that just because it’s “gluten-free,” doesn’t mean you’re undoubtedly eating a healthy food! Try to stick with whole foods that are minimally processed, closest to their natural form as possible.

Curious about how to get more whole grains into your diet, try swapping out white bread for whole wheat. Check out our latest myth-buster piece on White Bread vs Wheat Bread. Is there a food myth you would be interested in learning about, leave a comment below we want to hear from you!