Portion control key to maintaining healthy diabetic diet

TUPELO – Weight loss.
Isn’t that the answer to everything that ails us?
But it’s especially important for those prone to Type 2 diabetes.
“People with a family history of diabetes need to lose weight, which goes along with exercise and portion control,” said Julia Lucius, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator at the North Mississippi Medical Center Diabetes Treatment Center.
Lucius advises these folks to stay away from sodas, other sweet drinks, fried foods and cream sauces.
“Limit desserts and fast food – those two are killers,” she said. “Portion control is so big. You can still go to a fast food restaurant. Just order the kid’s meal and that’s enough for an adult.”
Those who have already been diagnosed should be on a reduced-calorie diet for weight loss. Typically they’re given a carbohydrate-counting meal plan based on their weight and age.
“Again, portion control has to be stressed,” she said. “You can’t control carbs if you can’t control portions.”
Now, don’t go get the idea that carbs are bad guys.
“Carbs provide fuel, they provide energy, so we have to have them,” Lucius said. “People come in and think they can’t have them, but they must have them for energy.”
Diabetics are given a range of carbs they can eat at each meal. For women, it’s three to four carb choices at 15 grams per choice, which is 45 to 60 grams per meal. For men, it’s four to five carb choices, which is 60 to 75 grams. Snacks for both should be between 15 and 30 grams.
“No food is off limits,” Lucius said. “Portion control and moderation are the keys.”
Lucius noted that diabetics can’t “bank” carbs.
“You cant skip carbs at breakfast or lunch so you can have a big starchy dinner,” she said. “You need to eat about the same amount of carbs at each meal to keep your blood sugar regulated. Whether you’re on pills or insulin or no medication at all, eating snacks regularly and not skipping meals is very important.”
Lucius recommends diabetics eat using the plate-method: Fill half of the plate with non-starchy vegetables, one-fourth with a lean protein and one-fourth with a starchy item. You can also have a glass of milk and a piece of fruit at each meal, but those are both carb choices and must be counted as such.
Non-starchy vegetables include broccoli, green beans, salads, spinach, summer squash, carrots, cabbage and greens. Starchy choices include white potatoes, sweet potatoes, corn, lima beans, purple-hull peas, green peas, rice, pasta and bread.
“Whole-grain pasta, whole-wheat bread and brown rice are better choices, but they’re still carbs,” she cautioned.
Diabetics can include a dessert with a meal, but it’s got to be included in the carb content of a meal and shouldn’t be eaten every day.
So, what exactly is a serving?
Some examples are a half-cup of cooked rice or pasta, a three-ounce potato, a half-cup of dried beans or peas, eight ounces of milk, a half-cup of sweet potatoes, a small banana, seven small grapes, three-fourths of a cup of fresh pineapple, a small apple, half of a large pear, a small orange, two tablespoons of dried fruit and a half-cup of juice.
“Basically, we encourage more whole grains, a variety of fruits and vegetables – the more colorful, the better – and avoid high-fat foods,” Lucius said. “Just watch your portions.”

Contact Ginna Parsons at (662) 678-1581 or ginna.parsons@djournal.com

Marinated Vegetables
1 can red kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can whole kernel corn, drained and rinsed
1 can French-style green beans, drained and rinsed
1 can sliced mushrooms, drained and rinsed
Finely chopped sweet onion
Finely chopped red, yellow, orange or green bell pepper
Sliced green or black olives
Zesty Italian fat-free dressing

Marinate vegetables in Italian dressing in the refrigerator at least 1 hour before serving. This will keep several days in a sealed plastic container in the refrigerator.
Makes 12 servings.
Nutrition info per serving: 100 cals, 1g fat, 18g carbs, 3g fiber, 4g protein, 1050mg salt. (Draining and rinsing the canned vegetables will lower sodium levels.)

Veggie Chili
1 can black beans, drained and rinsed
1 can kidney beans, drained and rinsed
1 can fat-free refried beans
1 can Ro-tel tomatoes
1 (28-ounce) can crushed tomatoes
1 can chopped green chilies
1 package 2-Alarm chili kit (don’t add salt)
1/2 onion, chopped
1 bell pepper, chopped
Chopped jalapeños to taste
1 package Morningstar or Boca veggie crumbles
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon

Combine all ingredients in a large pot and simmer 2 to 3 hours on the stove or cook in Crock-Pot on low for 2 to 3 hours.
Makes 20 servings.
Nutritional info per serving: 116 cals, 1.4g fat, 496mg sodium, 18g carbs, 6g fiber, 8g protein.

Pumpkin Muffins
1 box Duncan Hines spice cake mix
1 can 100 percent pure pumpkin
1 cup diet cola or lemon-line drink
2 tablespoons brown sugar Splenda
2 tablespoons quick-cooking oats
2 tablespoons chopped nuts

Combine cake mix, pumpkin and soda and mix with a mixer until well combined. Divide mixture among 16 greased muffin cups.
Combine Splenda, oats and nuts. Sprinkle each muffin with some topping. Bake at 350 degrees about 20 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in the center comes out clean.
Makes 16 muffins.
Nutritional info per serving: 165 cals, 2.5g fat, 28g carbs, 1g fiber.

GINNA PARSONS / NEMS Daily Journal