Juice vs. Fruit

In particular, the fiber whole fruit offers can help with your digestive health. Here are some easy ways to incorporate more fiber into your diet.

Deciphering Food Labels for Diabetes

Reading nutrition facts panels is important for everyone who wants to make smarter food choices, but understanding them is even more critical if you or a loved one is managing diabetes. The information on these labels will help you choose foods that meet the diet outlined by your doctor or nutritionist. Here’s what to look for on a package. 

Total Carbohydrates and Sugar

Pay close attention to the grams of sugar listed. But don’t stop there -- you also want to look at the total carbohydrates amount. This number will give those with diabetes better information for meal planning, and by knowing the total, you can make sure that you don’t skip on nutrient dense foods, like skim milk. For example, even though low-fat dairy products naturally contain sugar they are an excellent source of lean protein and calcium.

Hidden Carbs

Sometimes low-sugar or sugar-free products have the same amount of total carbohydrates as the sugared versions. If that’s the case, they might not be the better choice to help manage your diabetes.  Remember that sugar-free doesn’t mean carbohydrate-free and look at the label for the total carbohydrates per serving.

Total Fat

Don’t just look for low-fat or fat-free foods if you’re trying to lose weight while managing your diabetes. Instead, look for healthy fats that will be listed as polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats. These good-for-you fats have been associated with promoting better heart health. They’re typically found in foods like olive or canola oils and nuts, but they also show up in other packaged goods. What you want to eat little of is saturated fats -- and avoid trans fats altogether. Remember, though, that all fats have 9 calories in a gram, so moderation is key even with the good stuff.

Today’s Recipe: Citrusy Chicken Fajitas

Fajitas provide a wholesome mix of ingredients that make up a healthy diet --which, in turn, keeps your digestion in tip-top shape. Plan this dish during the week for a night of easy cleanup!

Makes 4 servings

Ingredients

1/4 cup vegetable oil

2 oranges, juiced

1 lime, juiced

1 lemon, juiced

2 tablespoons chili powder

1 teaspoon kosher salt

1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper

1 1/4 pounds boneless, skinless chicken breasts

4 bell peppers, cored, seeded and quartered

1 red onion, peeled and cut into thick rings

Warm corn tortillas

Lime wedges

Cilantro leaves

Directions

  1. In a medium bowl, combine oil, juices, chili powder, salt and pepper.
  2. Pour half the marinade into a separate medium-sized bowl.
  3. Add the chicken to one of the bowls and toss to coat.
  4. Add the vegetables to the other bowl and toss to coat.
  5. Cover both bowls and let marinate for at least two hours, or overnight.
  6. Heat a ridged grill pan, cast-iron skillet or outdoor grill over medium heat.
  7. Place vegetables in a single layer to cook until they start to soften and are charred on the outside, about four to five minutes per side.
  8. Remove vegetables to a plate, cover and keep warm.
  9. Add chicken to the pan and cook until browned and cooked through, about five to six minutes per side.
  10. Slice the meat and vegetables into strips; serve with warm tortillas, lime wedges and fresh cilantro. 

Today’s Recipe: Chickpea Coleslaw

In this side dish or picnic staple, garbanzo beans (a good source of protein) are paired with a veggie base -- cabbage -- which is filling while remaining low in calories.

Makes 6 servings

Ingredients

2 tablespoons olive oil

2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice

2 tablespoons tahini

2 teaspoons honey

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 clove garlic, minced

2 tablespoons warm water

4 cups shredded cabbage

2 green onions, sliced thin

1 red pepper, sliced thin

5-ounce can chickpeas, rinsed and drained

Directions

  1. In a large bowl, combine the olive oil, lemon juice, tahini, honey, salt and garlic.
  2. Whisk together until combined; thin the mixture with the warm water.
  3. Add the cabbage, green onions, red pepper and chickpeas. Stir until everything is coated. Serve immediately.

Simple Ways to Swap Out Saturated Fats

While consuming too much of any fat is not great -- fat equals calories, and a little bit adds up fast -- completely cutting out fat is also unhealthy. Your body needs fat for fuel, both to utilize fat-soluble vitamins and for the satisfaction and satiety that keep you from overloading on calories. Scientists now understand that certain healthy fats, particularly fatty acids like omega-3s, may be good for your cardiovascular health. The trick is limiting bad-fat consumption (saturated fats and trans fats are the worst offenders) and replacing those no-no’s with good fats, such as monounsaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats, like omega-3 fatty acids. Read on for fat swaps you can feel good about.

Switch Butter for Olive Oil

Butter is a saturated fat, which is linked to higher cholesterol levels. Olive oil is monounsaturated fat, which may help reduce bad (LDL) cholesterol. More than just a salad dressing, olive oil can be used in place of butter or vegetable oil in many baking recipes too.

Lighten Up Your Meat

No one says you have to refuse every rib eye or juicy burger you see. The same goes for chicken with the skin on or other fatty meats. But enjoy those foods, which are high in saturated fat, as only occasional treats and opt for smaller portions and leaner cuts when filling you plate. For example an 8-ounce rib eye has 492 calories and 27 grams of fat—10 grams of which are saturated, while a 3-ounce portion of flank steak (about the size of a deck of cards) has just 172 calories and 8 grams of total fat, with only 3 grams of them being saturated Meanwhile, add a couple servings a week of omega-3 fatty acid–rich fish, such as salmon and white albacore tuna canned in water.

Replace Cookies, Cakes, Doughnuts With … Anything

What you’ll find in these goodies: trans fats. When baking at home skip the shortening and butter, and when shopping at the grocery store look for the words “partially hydrogenated” on labels. Those are the oils that help keep these foods shelf-stable, and there’s nothing good about them. Eat these products very sparingly. If your sweet tooth beckons, have one delicious homemade chocolate chip cookie or a bowl of a sweet-tasting cereal. Or try a serving of low-fat frozen yogurt.

Forgo Peanut Butter for Almond Butter: Both nut butters are high in fat and calories, so you should look for varieties that skip added ingredients like sugar, corn syrup, and palm oil. But almond butter edges out peanut thanks to less saturated fat and more monounsaturated fat.