From The Nutritionist

Guest Author
Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., C.D.E

Three Meals or Six? Which is Better for Diabetes?

Happy National Diabetes Month! This is a month to celebrate what we have learned about the prevention and treatment of diabetes and to continue to educate the public about this disease. There are a lot of myths about diabetes. Today, I'm going to tackle just one.

Myth: People with diabetes must have several snacks throughout the day.
Truth: For most adults, even those with diabetes, snacks are optional. It's best to eat wholesome food on a regular schedule, but whether you eat three, four, five or even six times per day should be up to you.

My take on how this myth got started: Years ago there were few diabetes medications available, and they all were likely to cause low blood glucose (hypoglycemia). Because of this risk, people with diabetes were rightly told to eat carbohydrate-containing foods such as fruit, milk, crackers or yogurt every few hours. Today, our treatments are far more sophisticated; many drugs don't cause hypoglycemia, and sometimes insulin dosages can be adjusted for the amount of carbohydrate the individual eats. All of this gives the person with diabetes more flexibility. If you fear hypoglycemia or if you have it often, talk to your healthcare provider about changing your medications. You may need less medication or a different medication. (Do not alter your treatment before discussing it with your medical team!) Rarely after medication changes does someone need to snack more often than they want to.

So are snacks right for you? To decide, ask yourself these questions.

  • Am I hungry between meals?
  • Does having a small snack help me prevent overeating later in the day?
  • Does snacking help me fit in missing food groups? Think fruits and vegetables!


If you decide to snack, be prepared with several smart snacking solutions. Don't let extreme hunger force you into poor decisions. You've been in that situation before, right? I think we all have. Be sure to have healthful choices on hand. Some of my patients find that keeping a list of snack options in sight helps them make a good choice. Try it. Grab a 5” x 7” index card (or make a note in your phone), and write a list of acceptable snacks. The snacks you choose should reflect your meal plan, taste preferences and convenience. Here are some of mine, but you should choose what's appropriate for you.

  • Nonfat (or low-fat) Greek yogurt and fresh fruit
  • Cottage cheese, raisins and cinnamon
  • Mini whole grain bagel with peanut or almond butter
  • Chocolate-covered almonds (chocolate is my weakness, but really, I eat just 6 at a time)
  • Hummus and veggies
  • Vegetable-based soups. Two of my faves are homemade gazpacho and Campbell's® Homestyle Light Southwestern-Style Vegetable soup
  • Low Sodium V8® 100% Vegetable juice


I carry some shelf stable items in my purse for times when I'm stuck in traffic, late at the doctor's office or otherwise inconvenienced and away from my lunchbox or refrigerator. I like nuts with a bit of dried fruit for sweetness. I also carry wholesome high-fiber snack bars.

So what are your favorite nutritious snacks? Keep them handy, so you'll always have something wholesome to reach for.

Cheers!

Jill




Jill Weisenberger, M.S., R.D., C.D.E.
Jill Weisenberger is a registered dietitian, certified diabetes educator, consultant and writer in SE Virginia. She counsels patients in her Newport News office. She is the author of Diabetes Weight Loss – Week by Week. Learn more about Jill at www.jillweisenberger.com.

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En Papillote Technique

1. Prepare the parchment paper
Get a large piece of parchment paper, approximately 2.5 times as large as a single portion of food. Cut the paper into a heart shape, lightly brushing one side with oil. This creates a slight barrier to water, preventing the paper from becoming soaked too quickly. Another option, though not as attractive, is to use tin foil instead of parchment paper.

2. Select the ingredients
This is a very quick-cooking approach, so it works best with tender proteins such as fish and shellfish. The accompanying ingredients, like julienned vegetables (matchstick size), must be small enough to cook at the same rate as the fish. In some cases the vegetables can be blanched, or quickly cooked in boiling water, to ensure proper doneness. Fresh herbs will go a long way in providing flavor.

3. Assemble the packet
Lay the oiled, heart-shaped paper on a baking tray, oiled side up. Season your vegetables with salt, pepper, extra virgin olive oil, and half of the herbs. Toss them around for an even coat. Place enough for one portion on half of the paper. Bunch them up to create a bed for your fish, leaving about two inches between the food and the edge of the paper. Place the seasoned fish on the vegetables and sprinkle the remaining herbs. Add a splash of the liquid on top of the fish, just enough to add moisture.

4. Seal the packet
To seal, fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables (so it resembles a teardrop). Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge toward the center. Fold over again to create a seal. Continue along the length of the parchment, folding each section twice. When you get to the point of the heart, twist and fold to finish the seal.

5. Bake your dinner
Bake the packet in a 425°F oven for 10-14 minutes, depending on the size of the fish. The packet will puff and brown while in the oven and as the steam builds. When cooked, remove from the oven and carefully place the packet on a plate. With a knife or scissors cut an "X" on the top and fold back the edges for a dramatic presentation and a delicious, healthy meal.

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Spicy Flounder and Clams with Summer Vegetables

Prep Time: Less than 20 minutes
Cooking Time: 10-14 minutes
Yield: 2 servings

Ingredients:

  • 1/3 cup carrots, finely cut julienne
  • 1/3 cup sugar snap peas, cross cut thinly
  • 1/3 cup zucchini, yellow, finely cut julienne
  • 6 each cherry tomatoes, cut in half
  • 1 Tbsp. shallot, minced
  • 1 clove garlic, minced
  • 1 Tbsp. extra virgin olive oil
  • 2 tsp. parsley, fresh, minced
  • Dash salt
  • Dash black pepper
  • 6 oz. fillet, flounder (2 fillets, 3oz. each)
  • 2 Tbsp. Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice
  • 3/4 lb. clams, in the shell

Instructions:

  1. Preheat the oven to 425°F.
  2. Combine the carrots, sugar snap peas, zucchini, cherry tomatoes, shallot, garlic, extra virgin olive oil, half of the parsley, salt and pepper in a bowl. Toss well to combine.
  3. Lightly oil two large heart shaped pieces of parchment paper.
  4. With the parchment paper on a sheet tray, place half of the vegetable mixture in the center of one half of each heart leaving about a 2" border.
  5. Lightly season each fillet with salt and pepper. Fold or roll the fillet to create a uniform thickness and place on top of the vegetables.
  6. Top the fish with the remaining herbs and the Low Sodium Spicy Hot V8® 100% Vegetable juice.
  7. Place half of the clams around each portion of vegetables and fish.
  8. Fold the heart over to enclose the fish and vegetables so that it resembles a teardrop.
  9. Starting at the top of the heart, fold about 1/4" of the edge towards the center. Fold over again to create a seal.
  10. Continue with this method along the length of the parchment packet folding each section twice to make an attractive edge.
  11. When you get to the point of the heart twist and fold to finish the seal.
  12. Bake the packets for 10-14 minutes (depending on the thickness of the fish).
  13. Remove from the oven and serve by cutting an "X" in the top and folding back the edges.

Nutrition Information (per serving):

Calories 180, Total Fat 9g, Saturated Fat 1g, Monounsaturated Fat 5g, Polyunsaturated Fat 1g, Cholesterol 50mg, Sodium 450mg, Carbohydrate 10g, Fiber 2g, Sugar 4g, Protein 16g.