Healthy Eating Tips for Living with Diabetes

Diabetes can be managed and treated with medicine and changes to what you eat and drink. People living with diabetes need to give their body a little help by being proactive.

For someone diagnosed with diabetes or at risk of developing diabetes, making changes to what and how much food they eat can have a big impact. These tips will help people make good decisions about what to eat and how much to eat.

Tip #1 – Portions Matter

In a lot of ways, portions can be deceiving. Larger portions at restaurants and even larger plates in our own kitchens can mislead people about how big their portions should be. A few decades ago, the average American dinner plate was nine inches, today they average around 12 inches.

Diabetes portioning

When you plan out your meals and snacks, a good way to measure the portions is using your hand or basic measuring cups. Here are some examples:

  • The palm of your hand is a good measurement for meat, seafood, and poultry.
  • A cupped hand, about ½ cup, is the right amount of pasta, potatoes, chips, and nuts.
  • At least one heaping cup, or both hands cupped together, for vegetables like tomatoes, cucumbers, spinach, and more.
  • For fats like butter or olive oil, use about a tablespoon per meal.
  • About 1 cup, or a fist, is the amount of milk, fruit, rice, beans, soups, yogurt.

Tip #2 – Swap Your Proteins

Protein is an essential part of a healthy diet. The types of proteins eaten, though, are not all the same in their health benefits. Keep the portions from above – about the size of the palm of your hand – and consider which proteins are best.

Best ProteinsProtein to Limit
ChickenFilet mignon
Turkey/lean ground turkeyPorterhouse
Pork SirloinRib eye steak
Fish (not breaded or fried)Ribs
ShrimpPork belly
CrabHotdogs
Tofu or soyBacon
Yogurt (low sugar or plain)Chorizo
Eggs (max 7 yolks/week)Corned beef
Low fat (93/7) ground beefPastrami
Lean beef cuts – names with “loin” or “round”Any fired or breaded meat, chicken or fish
Beans and lentils 

Tip #3 – Feel Free to Snack

Snacks are good! Don’t deprive yourself of nutritious, energy-boosting snacks, especially when you are living with diabetes. There are plenty of ways to enjoy something mid-day without sacrificing health or flavor.

The important thing about a well-chosen snack is that it can be both filling and nutritional. A few snack-specific tips:

  • Think of snacks like mini meals when it comes to portions.
  • Do not snack when bored or while multitasking.
  • Snacking shouldn’t be an everyday habit.
  • Only eat snacks when you are hungry.

If a snack is needed to prevent low blood sugars, talk about this with your doctor or provider.

Here are a few good snack options for you to try.

Diabetes Snacks

Tip #4 – Not all Drinks are Equal

Don’t let what you drink ruin your day. The best drink is always water. It has no calories, carbohydrates, or sugar, and your body will thank you for drinking plenty of water every day. Sometimes, though, we all want something a little different, with a little more flavor.

Many drinks from restaurants or grocery stores are full of a surprising amount of sugar, calories, and carbohydrates. Some ways to take control:

  1. Bring your own drink. Whether it is water, coffee, or something else, if you bring your own with you, you won’t be buying something that could have high amounts of sugar and calories.
  2. Instead of getting pre-sweetened tea, get unsweetened tea and add your own – much less – sugar, or natural substitutes to sweeten it.
  3. Juice can be loaded with sugar and carbohydrates. Consider eating a piece of fruit instead. If it must be fruit juice, cut the juice with water and strictly limit the amount you drink.
  4. Coffee and tea lattes and similar type drinks taste so good and may appear a safe choice – tea is healthy, right – but how these drinks are made changes whether they are a healthy option. Limit sugar, creamer and syrups added.
  5. Smoothies can be a healthy and efficient way to get loads of fruit, which is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. Don’t rely on store-bought, pre-packaged smoothies to be low in sugar or carbs, though.
  6. Soda, pop, Coke, no matter how you say it, these drinks are loaded with sugar. In fact, a regular soda can have more sugar than two servings of ice cream!
Diabetes Drinks

Getting a diabetes diagnosis can be a big transition for the person diagnosed and their family. Working with your doctor, healthcare provider, nutritionist, family, and support system together will make changes easier to stick to and improve your health. For more tips on living with diabetes from NOAH, click here.

Holiday Tips for Children with Diabetes by Brandon Bolton, RDN

The holiday season should be a joyous time to spend with family and loved ones. This time of year can be tough for children with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. It can be difficult for children to manage their blood sugars during the holiday season due to changes to daily routines, holiday meals, increased eating, new foods, and changes in activity levels. Remember, holiday meals are special occasions, it is okay for kids to break their typical routine during the holidays and enjoy themselves. You may see blood sugars fluctuate more during this time. Try not to let holiday eating be a full week-long event, and instead enjoy your holiday meal and then try to return to your normal eating schedule as soon as you can.

Here are some tips for healthy and happy holiday eating:

  • Encourage your child to follow the “MyPlate” method of eating : 1/2 plate non-starchy vegetables, 1/4 plate lean protein, 1/4 plate carbohydrate.
  • During holiday meals, try filling up on non-starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, peppers, celery, zucchini, brussels sprouts, asparagus, cabbage, and many more.
  • Help your child count their carbohydrates. It can be difficult for your child to keep track of everything they are eating during a holiday meal, but do your best as a team. This can help with blood sugar and medication management throughout the day.
  • Don’t force children to finish their meal if they take too much.
  • Sweets are allowed. It is alright for your child to have some sweets during the holidays, just try to monitor intake and stick with small portions.
  • Increase blood sugar monitoring. Since there are a lot of foods, sweets, and activities surrounding holidays, be sure to have your child check their blood sugar more often to stay on top of any changes that might be occurring.
  • Plan for some activity. Take a family walk or plan some games that can get everybody up and moving. Staying active can help keep your child’s blood sugar in a normal range and can be healthy for everyone!
  • Enjoy the festivities with your loved ones, and remember not to be too hard on yourselves.

If you have any questions about helping children with diabetes and about your child’s nutritional needs or how to manage diabetes throughout the holiday season, feel free to reach out to the dietitians at NOAH!

Diet and Lifestyle Tips for Cancer Prevention

By Mina Goodman, RDN

While there is still much research to be done on what causes cancer, there are still some easy tips for cancer prevention and healthy living.

To reduce your risk, consider these tips:

  •  Limit processed and fatty meats – these include bacon, sausage, hot dogs, and lunch meats. Try for more fish, poultry, and plant based proteins (beans, tofu, tempeh, seitan, nuts, seeds, or soy products).
  • Choose foods with more nutrients – limit added sugars, sodium, saturated fats and trans fats. Look for choices rich in vitamins and minerals instead such as fruits, vegetables, and other plant based foods.
  • Eat more plants – these include, fruits, vegetables, whole grains, beans, nuts and seeds. Aim for 5 servings of fruits and vegetables daily!
  • Increase (or maintain) your level of physical activity – try to move your body for at least 30 minutes a day, most days. This can be walking, biking, swimming, dancing, online workouts, or whatever you enjoy.
  • Avoid alcohol – if you do choose to drink, limit your intake to one serving a day for women or two servings a day for men. One serving is estimated at 12 ounces of beer, 5 ounces of wine, or 1.5 ounces of liquor.
  • Avoid tobacco or smoking in any form – if you need help quitting find the resources you need at NOAH
  • Drink plenty of water – drink at least eight 8 oz. glasses per day (64 oz. or 4 bottles of water or to drink half your body weight in ounces (so someone weighing 200lbs would drink 100oz daily).
  • Try a Mediterranean diet – this way of eating focuses on plant-based foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and nuts. When possible choose healthy fats, such as olive oil, over butter and fish instead of red meat.

Getting started on a healthier lifestyle can be one way to focus efforts on cancer prevention and to prevent other diseases. Working with one of NOAH’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionists is a great first start. Make an appointment today!

Healthy Halloween Tips

By Stephanie Olzinski, RDN and Rhyan Geiger, RDN

Does the thought of Halloween candy give you the spooks? Worried about trick-or-treating and wanting to stay home this year? Here are some ways to stay safe and on track for a healthy Halloween while still enjoying treats with your family and friends.

  1. Buy fewer bags of candy. 

    Especially if going door to door will be limited this year, try to buy less than usual for the candy that will be given out or kept in your house.

  2. Choose the mini sizes. 

    Larger candy bars come with double or triple the calories. To enjoy your favorite treats without going overboard, opt for the smaller sized candy.

  3. Eat before you treat.

    If you and your family decide to go out trick-or-treating or even to a socially-distanced event, make sure you are eating a balanced meal beforehand to avoid overeating any sweets. A good meal should include some protein and fiber to keep you full and satisfied!

  4. Stay active.

    Whether you’re walking around, doing activities at home, or having a spooky dance party, staying active each day is important to keep your body strong and healthy.

  5. Make your own treats.

    Using this year to begin new traditions could be a great way to have more family time and make healthy choices too. Below are some ideas for snacks that are festive, easy, and good for you!

BONUS CONTENT: recipe ideas for a Healthy Halloween!

  • Boo Bananas – cut bananas in half and place mini chocolate chips as eyes and a mouth.
  • Clementine Pumpkins – peel a clementine and add a small piece of celery to represent the stem of a pumpkin.
  • Witches Broomsticks – cut mozzarella cheese sticks in have and shred one end to make it look like a broom. On the other end, insert a pretzel stick to represent the handle of the broom.

Childhood Obesity Awareness Month – Tips to Stay Healthy

By Dr. Mason Wedel, MD PGY1

September is National Childhood Obesity Month, a time to raise awareness of this growing concern for children. Obesity is a major public health problem for children everywhere, putting them at higher risk for other chronic medical conditions such as diabetes and asthma. Having obesity as a child also makes children more likely to become obese adults.

“About 1 in 5 (19%) of children are obese today.”

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Here are some tips to prevent or combat childhood obesity:

  • Eat More Fruits and Vegetables – serve more fruits and vegetables at meals and as snacks. Decrease the amount of high fat and sugary foods.
  • Stay Active – children are recommended to get 60 minutes or more physical activity DAILY. Include running, jumping, walking, bike riding as well as muscle strengthening exercises such as push ups.
  • Drink More Water – always encourage more water and make it available at all times instead of high sugar drinks such as soda. Limit juice intake.
  • Ensure Adequate Sleep – follow a sleep schedule by going to sleep and waking up at the same time each day, even on weekends. Remove electronics from bedroom and make sure the bedroom is quiet and dark.

These tips will help your child have more energy, control their weight, strengthen their bones, increase their self-esteem and live an overall healthier life. Be sure to have a medical home for your entire family and talk with your child’s doctor about any concerns like childhood obesity. Follow these tips daily and help stop the rising number of children with obesity.

Food Safety Education Month

By Brandon Bolton, RDN

September is Food Safety Education Month. It is a time to bring awareness to food safety and to learn more about foodborne illnesses (also known as food poisoning). There are steps that we can all take to help keep food safe and prevent food poisoning.

“An estimated 48 million Americans get sick from food poisoning every year.”

Centers for Disease and Control

Common symptoms of food poisoning include, but are not limited to:

  • an upset stomach
  • stomach cramps
  • nausea
  • vomiting
  • fever
  • dehydration

Food poisoning can lead to hospitalization, and some groups of people are even more likely to get sick from eating unsafe food. These groups include adults aged 65 and older, young children under 5 years old, people with pre-existing health conditions, and pregnant women. While these groups may be at higher risk of getting sick, food safety is important for everyone!

The CDC recommends following these four steps when you prepare and handle your food:

  1. Clean – Wash hands, surfaces, utensils, and equipment that you use to cook. Wash your hands often, especially before you prepare and eat foods, for at least 20 seconds with soap and water.
  2. Separate – Raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs should be separated from your cooked foods and fresh produce. Be sure to use different cutting boards, knives, and utensils when working with and preparing raw foods and fresh produce. This can help prevent cross-contamination. These foods should also be stored separately in the refrigerator, with raw meats being stored on the bottom shelf.
  3. Cook – Use a food thermometer to make sure you are cooking your foods to the proper internal temperature, which will kill harmful germs and bacteria. To see the appropriate minimum cooking temperatures, look at these food safety charts.
  4. Chill – Refrigerate perishable foods and leftovers within two hours. If food is exposed to temperatures greater than 90 degrees, it should be refrigerated within one hour.

Following these four steps can help protect you and your family from foodborne illness. You can also visit the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention for more information, and don’t forget to reach out to your NOAH dietitians with any questions regarding food safety!

Oh Baby! Celebrating Breastfeeding Month

By Nicole Vaudrin, RDN, Stephanie Olzinski, RDN and Katelyn Millinor, LPC

“The American Academy of Pediatrics recommends exclusively breastfeeding until 6 months old.”

Around 60% of mothers do not breastfeed as long as they intend to due to various factors such as issues with lactation and latching, concerns about taking medications while breastfeeding, un-supportive work policies, cultural norms, and lack of family support.

Breastfeeding can help give babies a healthy start and build their immune systems, and may protect against obesity, diabetes, ear infections, asthma, digestive issues, and more. However, breastfeeding is not always easy and mothers often need extra support. 

Tips for mother and baby that will help with both nutrition and emotional well-being.

  • Worried baby isn’t getting enough? Milk quantity is a common stressor for most moms. If you’re worried about milk supply, be sure to maintain frequent feedings throughout the day. This is also a place to review your own nutrition. Most mothers need 400-500 extra calories per day while breastfeeding to provide the needed nutrition and energy to produce milk. As you are continuing your nutrition post-partum, try to focus on including whole grains (more fiber is better!), lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, and healthy fats (avocado, olive oil, nuts and seeds, fatty fish).
  • It hurts! Soreness is to be expected at first, but breastfeeding shouldn’t hurt. Two of the most common issues are latching and engorgement. Mothers may need assistance from a lactation consultant to problem solve. Lactation consultants in the hospital are very beneficial to help a mother learn how to breastfeed, identify barriers, and work to remedy those barriers. Breastfeeding is a skill that both baby and mother must learn. If pain continues to be a concern, there are local breast feeding support groups to help mothers navigate through various difficulties.
  • It’s a lot of work! The pressure to breastfeed is high for new mothers. The mention of it starts in the prenatal period and it is often discussed as if there will be little to no issues. These messages are impactful and can be stressful. Often there is guilt or shame if a mother is unable to produce milk to feed her infant or if she chooses not to breast feed or pump. A lot of time can go into pumping, storing, and producing milk.
  • Going back to work or school? Pumping can be a great option to continue providing your baby with breastmilk. However some moms may experience lack of privacy or supportive work policies, and may struggle with the time needed throughout the day to pump and store.
  • You may experience increased stress. Some stressors of breastfeeding may include irritability, pain, concerns about privacy, lacking confidence, criticism, milk supply, or feeling unsupported or trapped. There are various ways to cope with breastfeeding stressors such as taking breaks (when it is safe to do so), deep breaths, exercise, talking to someone you trust, or joining a support group. Breastfeeding is natural but it doesn’t always come naturally. Remember, fed is best.

What can you do to learn more and support breastfeeding?

Support your local La Leche League: LLL is an international non-profit that supports and advocates for breastfeeding, including establishing human milk banks. LLL also has information on everything breastfeeding including pumping, reflux, biting, and more! https://www.LLLi.org/about/history/\

HonorHealth Centers for Breast Feeding Support:
Shea Medical Center
Call: 480-323-3638
Scottsdale Osborn Medical Center
Call: 480-882-4827

How to Celebrate Honey Bees Today by The Nutrition Experts

Honey bees are oftentimes overlooked and feared, but these lovely creatures play a crucial role in our ecosystem? Honey bees are responsible for pollinating or transferring pollen grains from the male anther of a flower to the female stigma. Pollination is essential to the production of approximately 90 crops¸ including many fruits and vegetables that we eat every day.

Honey bees are the most common pollinator. About one-third of the food eaten by Americans comes from crops pollinated by honey bees, including apples, melons, cranberries, pumpkins, squash, broccoli, and almonds, to name just a few (1).

How to Celebrate

  • Buy local honey! Often times commercially produced honey provides cruel treatment to the bees, like clipping the queen’s wings and taking too much of their honey that they need for food.
  • Flavors of honey vary depending on the variety of flowers and nectar available to the bees. Wildflower, clover, alfalfa, lavender, orange, and chestnut are just a few to choose from. 
  • Use honey in cooking, baking, making hot beverages, and more! Find some great recipes to use or substitute honey.
  • Collect and spread local wildflower seeds in your yard/garden to help promote honey bee pollination.
  • Replace your usual sweetener with local honey. Not only are you supporting your community by buying local, but you’re supporting reaping all the benefits honey has to offer which is much better than consumer processed sugars.
  • Give the gift of honey by purchasing jars from your local honey business and add a cute ribbon and card to them. Maybe even use them in a gift basket and give to neighbors, family and friends.

Alternative to Honey

If unable to find honey from a local famer or famers market, choosing options such as maple syrup or agave are great alternatives. Remember to be mindful of using all of these as they may have added sugars and could have an impact on your blood sugar.

Infants and honey. Honey may contain small amounts of botulism, a toxin produced by the bacteria Clostridium botulinum, that may affect infants under 1 year of age. It’s best to not give infants honey or even any processed products, like crackers or cereal, made with honey.

Food Safety Tips by Nicole Vaudrin, RDN

Whether you have a healthy, balanced diet or not, food can make you sick! Foodborne illness is estimated to affect 48 million or 1 in 6 Americans each year. Below are tips to help you and your family prepare and store foods safely.

  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands for 20 seconds with soap and water before preparing food or eating and after every time you touch your face.
  • Wash your produce. Gently wash produce in running water before peeling or cutting, so dirt and germs aren’t transferred from the knife into the fruit or vegetable. This includes winter squash and melons, which are often left unwashed before slicing.
  • Organize your refrigerator. Keep raw meat separate from other foods, preferably on the bottom shelf to avoid cross-contamination, particularly with already prepared foods or those eaten raw.
  • Defrost foods properly. See the USDA Safe Defrosting Methods tip sheet.
  • Cook foods thoroughly. Cook foods to the recommended internal temperature, including leftovers. An inexpensive meat thermometer is an important kitchen tool.
  • Store foods properly. Refrigerate cooked and perishable foods within 2 hours.

For more information, visit https://www.foodsafety.gov/

Back to School Health Tips – Snacking the Easy Way by Mina Goodman, RDN

Whether this year means heading back to school physically, via video from home, or both, getting back into the routine of classes can take some time to get adjusted to. Here are some tips for making healthy eating quick and easy. Snacks can be a simple way to add more fruits, vegetables, whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins throughout the day.
Vegetables can easily be eaten raw with or without a topping/dip (salad dressing, bean dips, nut butters, salsa, guacamole). You can choose to cut your own (cheaper) or buy pre-cut, based on your budget and schedule.

  • Broccoli trees
  • Baby carrots
  • Celery sticks – add some nut butter and raisins for “ants on a log”
  • Cucumber coins
  • Jicama sticks
  • Peppers – red, green or yellow
  • Snap peas
  • Snow peas
  • String beans
  • Grape or cherry tomatoes
  • Zucchini slices

Fruits are a sweet treat without any added sugars. If you are choosing canned options, look for fruit that is labeled as in its own juice, if that is not available, try a fruit in light syrup instead of heavy syrup and rinse the fruit before eating.

  •  Apples
  • Apricots
  • Bananas
  • Blackberries
  • Blueberries
  • Cantaloupe
  • Cherries
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes – red, green, or purple
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwifruit
  • Mandarin Oranges
  • Nectarines
  • Oranges
  • Peaches
  • Pears
  • Pineapple
  • Plums
  • Raspberries
  • Strawberries
  • Tangerines

Don’t forget whole grains, healthy fats, and lean proteins! After you check out the produce section for what is available, take a look at the inner aisles of the supermarket for these options:

  • Applesauce (unsweetened)
  • Canned fruit (in 100% juice or water)
  • Dried fruit – try raisins, apricots, apples, cranberries, and fruit leathers with little or no added sugar
  • Frozen fruit (check the label to be sure there is just fruit and no added sugar in the bag)
  • Whole wheat English muffins, pita, or tortillas
  • Breakfast cereals – choose whole grain, low-sugar options like Cheerios, Grape-Nuts, Raisin Bran or Mini-Wheats
  • Whole grain crackers like Triscuits or Wheat Thins
  • Popcorn
  • Baked tortilla chips
  • Nuts or nut butter
  • Unsweetened yogurt
  • Cheese cubes or slices
  • Cottage cheese
  • Hummus
  • Roasted chickpeas