Examples of Secret Sugars:
For more information on added sugars in foods and beverages, visit: http://www.choosemyplate.gov/what-are-added-sugars
Sue Cunningham, PhD, RD/LD, CDE, FAND
UT Health Services
2012 Texas Outstanding Dietetic Educator
2015 Texas Outstanding Dietitian
Texas Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
Fellow, Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics
As plans for summer gatherings are made, picnics are often the preferred way to feed the crowd!
How can you keep everyone having fun instead of falling prey to food-borne illness?
The most important guidelines to remember to keep perishables fresh-tasting and safe to eat are that they need to be stored at refrigerator temperature (40 degrees or below) and they also shouldn’t be left out of refrigeration for more than two hours. If it’s over 90 degrees outside, the maximum time out should be one hour. Harmful bacteria grow rapidly at temperatures between 40 and 140 degrees…they double in number every 20 minutes!
So make sure your perishable foods “chill out” and enjoy eating outside safely!
Don’t forget those fruits & veggies!
There are several picnic-friendly foods that don’t need to be chilled.
Most produce is fine unrefrigerated before it is cut or peeled, and it adds beautiful color and nutrition to the picnic; so bring plenty! Cherries, grapes, peaches, plums, figs, berries, whole melons, tomatoes, cucumbers, radishes, and avocado — are all summer favorites you can bring along whole and easily cut or peel before eating, if needed. Be sure, however, that you rinse and dry them well before they are packed up. It’s a good idea to even rinse fruit with rinds or skin you don’t eat so that you don’t drag bacteria into the flesh as you slice them.
Keep things in balance!
Other healthful nonperishables to bring along include whole-grain crackers, nuts and nut butters, and dried fruit. Cheese aged two years or longer, such as Parmesan, Romano, aged Gouda and cheddar may also be left out, as well as many dried and cured meats, such as dried sausages and jerky. But to keep your picnic healthfully balanced, don’t rely too heavily on cheeses and processed meats because they are very high in salt and saturated fat. Also keep in mind that many of today’s dried and cured products are made with a short-cut method and do require refrigeration. Be sure to check the package to see if refrigeration is necessary!
Make sure there’s no “bugs” in those burgers!
Raw meat and poultry should always be cooked to a safe minimum internal temperature, for instance, beef and pork should be 145oF and poultry should be 165oF as registered by a meat thermometer inserted into the thickest part of the food. When roasting these items in the kitchen oven, make sure to use an oven temperature that is no lower than 325°F, and cook the food until these recommended internal temperatures are reached.
When you’re cooking meat and poultry out-of-doors, it’s more difficult to judge the temperature of the coals on the “barbie”! Then, it is even more important to use that meat thermometer and insert it into the thickest part of the meat or poultry to make sure that beef and pork is at these recommended internal temperatures. By the way, ham that is fully cooked only needs to be heated to 140oF.
If you aren't going to serve hot foods right away, it's important to keep them at 140°F or above, so move them off from the center of the grill so that they keep warm!
Being mindful of these simple precautions will ensure that you and your family enjoy eating outdoors safely, no matter the weather or time of year!
Sue Cunningham, PhD, RD/LD, CDE, FAND
Call 713-500-3267 for an appointment at UTHS.
Don’t Let the Weekends Set You Back
Many people find their healthy groove during the weekday, but come Friday night through Sunday, even the best intentions go out the window. Parties, dinners out, drinking, sports events, spending hours on the couch, and traveling can all interfere with a healthy routine. Enjoy the weekend to the fullest with these simple tips and feel good come Monday morning.
Start the Day off Right
Begin your weekend days with some physical activity. Go for a (short or long) walk or hike, join a gym class or simply do some light stretching shortly after you wake up. Make plans with a buddy or family member to stay accountable. Movement at the start of the day helps regulate blood sugar levels, boosts energy and mood and sets the tone for making healthy choices the rest of the day.
Eating Out and Eating In
Plan ahead. If you make plans for breakfast, lunch or dinner, be sure that the other two meals are especially healthy. Check out the menu online ahead of time and choose three of your top choices. This way when you get to the restaurant you already know what you want to order without the social distractions. Save calories by skipping on the bread or chip basket. If alcohol is involved, limit your- self to two drinks (for men) and one drink (for women) and be sure to drink plenty of water or club soda so you stay hydrated.
If you are staying around the house more during the weekend, try to eat relatively similar to your weekday schedule. Eat three meals and one snack, spaced about 4-5 hours apart, to avoid consistent snacking all day. If snacking during the day is a weakness, eliminate tempting foods and replace with healthy foods. Try to eat without distractions. Studies show that if we eat while we are distracted we eat more because our body doesn’t register that we are full. Turn off the television, put away the books, cell phones, laptops and magazines and just focus on the food. Although weekends are time to get multiple things accomplished at once, try eating meals without any distraction and see if you feel more satisfied with less.
Whether you are hosting or being hosted, make or bring a healthy dish that you know you can eat. Good options include a vegetable platter with light dip, cucumber slices with chicken or tuna salad (see recipe below), a large Greek salad or a fruit salad. If you are unable to bring a dish-make sure to have a light snack (apple and string cheese or almonds) prior so that you do not show up ravenous. Fill half of your plate with the main vegetable dish and fill the other half with food of choice.
Plan for the Week Ahead
Make time for grocery shopping, make a shopping list (and stick to it) and plan meals for the upcoming week. Prep or batch cook food ahead of time so that weekday evening meals and lunches can be assembled in no time at all.
In our fast paced world it feels like there is not enough time in the day to get everything done— and having diabetes lengthens that to-do list. Here are 10 easy ideas that may lead to better diabetes control and health. Each takes just 10 minutes or less so pick one or two and get started!