Learn more about healthy carbs, good sources of fiber, and how to avoid mindless eating with these quick health snippets from Joslin’s Center for Innovation in Diabetes Education
Everyone needs carbohydrates or “carbs” to give our bodies the energy necessary to work and play. Carbs are made up of starches, sugars, and fibers. Carbs also provide us with lots of vitamins and minerals. People with diabetes need to pay particular attention to carbohydrates, as these foods become glucose in your blood. They are not the enemy.
But be selective; some carbs are really healthy and others are merely empty calories. We all know that cereal, pasta, rice, and breads are rich in carbs. Go for the whole grains, the brown rice and high fiber foods- check that food label!
Some other healthy carb choices include starchy vegetables, such as peas, corn and winter squashes. And I bet you didn’t know that beans such as those in chili or three bean salad also contain carbs. Fruits are another delicious healthy carb choice- but watch out for fruit juices. They are loaded with carbs and the very important fiber you get from eating a piece of fresh fruit is gone. So forget the juice- eat the orange!
So: Watch those portions, Read those labels and Choose your carbs wisely!
A Joslin Dietitian can help you decide how many carbs per meal you need to stay healthy and control glucose levels.
We all do it: eat without paying attention. We eat while watching TV. Eat while driving. Eat while working at our desks. But what we may not realize is that being distracted by what’s going on around us can make us eat more.
Here are some examples. A person can eat up to 70% more food while watching TV. We also eat more at social events. The more people, the more food.
When we are distracted we may not be aware of how much we are eating. This can lead to unwanted health consequences like weight gain, difficulty controlling blood sugars, and taking more medications. However, when we focus on our food, we feel full sooner and eat less.
Here are some steps we can take to control how much we eat when we are distracted.
- First, identify your distractions.
- Second, follow this motto: Choose, Chew, Control.
- Choose! Choose what foods and portions you are going to eat before you become distracted. Put the rest of the food away- out of reach and out of sight.
- Chew! Enjoy your food.
- Control! Resist the urge to go back for more.
Remember: Distractions make us eat more. Identify your distractions and then Choose, Chew and Control. Decide how much to eat before sitting down to enjoy that movie with your family.
Do you ever wonder why you feel full longer when you start your day with a bowl of oatmeal instead of a bagel? You guessed it- fiber! Fiber is a type of carb that is not completely digested. But don’t be alarmed that it’s a carb! Fiber can help you feel full, and has lots of other great health benefits. Fiber helps improve the digestive tract and may decrease the risk of heart disease and certain types of cancer.
Eating lots of fiber on a regular basis can even help improve blood glucose control and promote weight loss! Carbs can send your blood glucose spiking up and right back down. Choosing carbs that are high in fiber can help reduce these spikes in blood glucose through slower digestion.
So, what are some good sources of fiber?
- Beans and peas like chickpeas, snap peas and lentils.
- Whole grains like quinoa, brown and wild rice or barley
- And, of course, fruits and vegetables.
Eating the edible skin and pulp of fruits and veggies is a great way to sneak in some extra fiber. Fiber and whole grains often go hand-in-hand, so try to choose breads and cereals that contain 100% whole grains. Remember though, just because a food has whole grains doesn’t mean it’s high in fiber- make sure you read that food label!
Foods that are good sources of fiber have more than 3g of fiber per serving. In a single day, you should try to eat between 25 and 35 grams of fiber. What does that mean for you? Here are a few ways to work 25 grams into your day:
-1 medium apple, 1 cup of quinoa, 1 medium potato, & 1 cup broccoli OR 1 cup zucchini, 1 cup carrots, 1 medium pear & 1 cup black beans
If you are not used to eating lots of fiber, increase your intake gradually to help your digestive system adapt. And drink lots of water. Remember, when choosing carbs- high fiber is the way to go!
To make an appointment with a Joslin Dietitian call (617) 309-2440.
Do you need help managing your diet? Learn more about the Joslin Nutrition Programs.