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Fresh produce has place in diabetes toolkit

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Fruits and vegetables are a valuable part of a healthy diet. The standard for how much produce should be on your plate may be going up again. A study release this week encourages seven servings of fruits and vegetables a day instead of five.

The United Kingdom researchers found that people who eat up to seven servings of fruit and vegetables a day can cut their risk of preventable death by 42 percent. They also concluded and that vegetables may be more important than fruit to overall health.

The findings:

  • The participants ate an average of 3.8 servings of fruit and vegetables per day. Older, non-smoking women tended to eat more than other demographic groups. Produce consumption was also linked to participants’ body mass indexes; those who ate more fruit and vegetables tended to have a lower BMI.
  • The researchers found that a diet rich in fruit and vegetables can be protective against cancer, heart disease and all other causes of death. Eating at least seven servings was best, but each serving increase was associated with a lower risk of death from preventative conditions.

This is also good news for people living with diabetes. One can control blood sugar and take advance of vegetables and fruit. The American Diabetes Association encourages people with diabetes to focus on non-starchy vegetables and don’t hold back.

Vegetables are rich in vitamins, minerals, fiber. Fiber is the part of produce that is hard to digest. Foods high in fiber take longer to digest. This gives a slower effect on blood glucose.


The ADA Recommendations:

  • The best choices are fresh, frozen and canned vegetables and vegetable juices without added sodium
  • If using canned or frozen vegetables, look for ones that say low sodium or no salt added on the label.
  • As a general rule, frozen or canned vegetables in sauces are higher in both fat and sodium.
  • If using canned vegetables with sodium, drain the vegetables and rinse with water. Then cook the rinsed vegetables in fresh water. This will cut back on how much sodium is left on the vegetables.

For more, visit:

CNN: Study: Eat 7 servings of fruit, veggies daily
ADA:  Making healthy food choices: Non-starch vegetables

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Make a holiday meal game plan

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bigstock-Christmas-Time-500From the desk of Ellen Smith RD, LDN
Diabetes Management & Supplies

Holidays can be hard when you are trying to handle your diabetes. When family and friends gather, food is often involved. Routines are often disregarded for parties, shopping, cooking and decorating. Learning how to choose the best foods for you can be stressful.

Keep in mind that Thanksgiving and Christmas are days to relax and celebrate. Treat yourself to your favorite stuffing or homemade pie on these days.  Keep these treats to Thanksgiving and Christmas. You will then avoid turning this time into a whole season of blood sugar trouble.

These tips can help you stay on track during the holidays:

  • Drink water and eat a snack before you go to parties. You won’t make choices when hungry.
  • Be sure to eat some food when drinking alcohol. This will help prevent low blood sugar.
  • Help out the host. If you are going to a party, call first and ask if you can bring a dish. Now, you will know there will be food that fits into your needs.
  • Look for hidden carbohydrates. Gravies, soups, dips and salads can have flour, sugar, potatoes, corn and bread. Remember to count these foods with your allowed carbohydrates per meal.
  • Don’t forget about free foods. Chicken, turkey, cheese and non-starchy vegetables are great. These foods fill you up, but will not affect your blood sugar.
  • Work in exercise. Just a 15-minute walk before or after a holiday party can help to keep your blood sugar in control when you are celebrating.

Enjoy your holidays. Make good choices to keep your blood sugar in control. This will allow you to have many more healthy and happy holidays.


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Turkey leftovers give diabetes-friendly options

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gif_turkey002PR_cAs we approach the holidays and observe Diabetes Awareness Month, Chef John Wright offers some suggestions on using turkey leftovers and ways to incorporate turkey into your eating plan.

Meals built around turkey can be more than just holiday favorites. Turkey is low in fat and high in protein. It is cheap source of iron, zinc, phosphorus, potassium and B vitamins. A serving of turkey is a 2 to 3-ounce cooked portion. The Food Guide Pyramid suggests 2 to 3 servings from the meat group each day.

The following portions represent 100 grams, approximately 3 1/2 ounces, of sliced meat from a whole roasted turkey. A 3 1/2-ounce portion of turkey is about the size and thickness of a new deck of cards. The fat and calorie content varies because white meat has less fat and fewer calories than dark meat and skin.

As you ponder menu items for your leftover holiday bird, consider these recipes from Chef Wright:

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Roasted Turkey Chicken Salad

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IMAG3879-11 cup roasted turkey, chopped

2 tablespoons low fat mayonnaise

5 red seedless grapes cut in half

2 teaspoons chopped pecans

Salt and pepper to taste

Combine all ingredients and mix well.  Put mixture into a half of whole wheat pita with lettuce and tomato and serve.

Categories : Holidays, Nutrition, Recipes
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1 whole wheat tortilla (8 inch)
¾ cup chopped roasted turkey
½ cup shredded pepper jack cheese
1 teaspoon olive oilturkey-leftovers

Place half of pepper jack cheese on bottom half of tortilla.  Put chopped turkey on top and then put remainder of pepper jack cheese on top of the turkey.  Fold tortilla in half.  Heat non-stick skillet to medium and put 1 teaspoon olive oil in skillet and brown each side of the tortilla, about 3 minutes each side.  Remove from pan and cut into wedges and serve.

Categories : Holidays, Nutrition, Recipes
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Turkey soup a cozy, but smart meal option

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The fall change in weather and the approaching holidays bring opportunities for soup with meals and ideas that use a fall holiday favorite – turkey. Hearty Wild Rice Turkey Soup is not just a turkey dish, but it also offers a wise choice for those living with diabetes and those trying to eat healthier.

Whether your turkey is cubed from the deli or leftovers from a holiday meal, it offers a lean, high protein ingredient. Turkey breast is low in fat and contains only about 30 calories per ounce. The recipe referenced calls for about 8 ounces of chopped turkey in the entire dish.

The dish is also a low-carb delight because its main source of carbohydrates – long grain wild rice – adds only about 10 grams of carbs per serving. Uncle Ben’s Wild Rice also provides a hearty, nutty flavor and is a source of fiber, protein and whole grains.

IMAG3811This dish contains tasty fresh vegetables (onions and celery) that are sautéed in a margarine-type spread instead of oil. The Diabetes Management & Supplies “I’m in Control” program recommends using plant stanols to get a heart-health benefit.  Plant stanols or plant sterol esters lower total cholesterol and LDL.

They are found in fortified items such as margarine-type spreads, orange juice, cheese, and yogurts.  These products can be found in your local grocery story.

Recommended intake 2 grams /day = 2 Tbsp of these:

  • Smart Balance®
  • Promise Activ®
  • Benecol®

The rest of the soup contains your choice of canned or frozen vegetables. The examples shown use a frozen blend of corn, green beans, peas and carrots. If you use canned veggies, it is recommended that you rinse them thoroughly to eliminate the excess salt. There’s plenty of salt in the low-sodium chicken broth and no other salt was added in cooking or at the table.

See recipe: Hearty Wild Rice Turkey Soup

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Hearty Wild Rice Turkey Soup

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1 TBSP heart-healthy buttery spread containing phytosterols  (Benecol, Smart Balance, or Promise Activ)

2 TBSP finely chopped white onion

2 medium (6 inches) celery ribs, chopped

¼ tsp black pepper

8 oz leftover chopped cooked turkey (about 2 cups)

2 cans (14.5 oz) fat-free, reduced-sodium chicken broth

1 cup leftover (or frozen) chopped mixed vegetables

1 cup cooked wild rice blend, any brand

½ tsp onion powder

½ tsp ground thyme

In a medium saucepan (2-3 quarts), melt margarine over medium heat. Add chopped onion and celery and sauté until vegetables are softened. Sprinkle with black pepper. Added chopped turkey, broth, vegetables, rice, onion powder and thyme. Bring to a simmer and cover. Cook 20 minutes. Serve with whole grain crackers.

Preparation time: 5 minutes

Cooking time: 25 minutes

Serving Size: 1 cup

Per serving: Calories: 127 | Carbohydrate: 10g | Protein: 15g | Fat: 3g | Saturated fat: 1g | Cholesterol: 36mg | Sodium: 149mg | Fiber: 2g

Exchanges per serving: ½ starch |  2 lean meat | Carbohydrate choices: ½

Categories : Holidays, Nutrition, Recipes
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Eating Wright: Cook your way to good control

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john_close_ingredientsHealthy eating and nutritional support are valuable assets for people living with diabetes. Chef John Wright of Diabetes Management & Supplies uses both his culinary knowledge and his personal experience with type 1 diabetes to provide meal-planning support and cooking demonstrations.

In a recent cooking demo, Chef Wright prepared a Breakfast Burrito while DMS dietician Ellen Smith, RD, LDN, explained the nutritional value of the meal and how participants can incorporate the dish in a healthy eating plan. The breakfast dish features two very lean protein sources  – shrimp and eggs – as well as vitamin-rich bell peppers and whole wheat tortillas.

See slideshow below and full recipe and nutritional values: Breakfast Burrito.

Chef Wright, the DMS marketing and sales director, uses an insulin pump to help control his blood sugar and has lived with type 1 diabetes for more than 20 years. Follow Eating Wright through the following online features:

Live cooking demonstrations with nutritional support:

  • 1st and 3rd Thursdays – Humana Guidance Center, Veterans Boulevard, Suite 2B, Metairie, LA, 70005
  • (504) 219-6616
  • 3rd Wednesdays August-December – Diabetes Management & Supplies, #10 Commerce Court, New Orleans, LA 70123 (504) 734-7165

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DMS offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services. For more information on specific nutrition needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.

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Breakfast Burrito

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Breakfast Burrito


1 egg, scrambled

3-4 shrimp, sautéed

2 tablespoons white onion, sautéed

2 tablespoons red bell pepper, sautéed

1/8  cup pepper jack cheese, shredded

1 small wheat tortilla

1 tablespoons olive oil

Salt and pepper


Cook onion and bell pepper in olive oil until tender.  Season shrimp with salt and pepper and add to pan and cook until pink.  Set aside.  Scramble egg in non stick skillet and set aside.  Take wheat tortilla and fill bottom half with shrimp, onion, bell pepper and eggs.  Top with pepper jack cheese and roll up.  Serve with salsa or sour cream.

Makes one serving

Nutritional value: Calories – 412 calories; Carbohydrate – 29.33 g; Fiber – 3.6 g; Sugar – 1.04 g; Protein -  16.86 g; Fat – 26.71 g; Cholesterol – 39.7 g; Saturated Fat – 7.33 g; Sodium – 434.11 g

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Plate Method a visual tool in diabetes control

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The nutrition of diabetes control is divided between choice and portion. While it is important to make wise food choices that encourage good blood sugar control, it is also important to practice portion control and add foods in the right combinations.

The American Diabetes Association (ADA) and Diabetes Management & Supplies (DMS) advocate portion control strategies for people living with any form of diabetes and for those trying to prevent diabetes.

The ADA suggest “creating your plate” as an easy way to get started with managing blood glucose levels.

“You don’t need any special tools or have to do any counting,” the ADA Web site says. “It’s simple and effective—draw an imaginary line on your plate, select your foods, and enjoy your meal! You may have heard of this as the ‘Plate Method.’”

The DMS “I’m in Control” diabetes education program details meal planning and the Plate Method in its Healthy Eating section.

The plate method is a way to visualize proper portion sizes using a 9-inch plate. Make half of your plate non-starchy vegetables, a fourth of your plate protein and a fourth of your plate starch. On the side you may either have a serving of low fat milk or a serving of fruit. Following the plate method helps to ensure that you eat a well-balanced meal containing all the necessary food groups and stay within recommended carbohydrate intake.

Menu Planning

  • Start with the Carb choices allowed on your meal plan – how many – what is a serving size?
  • Add the correct amount of Protein food – usually about 2-4 ounces of meat per meal (size of your palm) cooked using a low-fat method
  • Add no more than one or two servings of Fat per meal. Add none if you include fried foods at that meal or if trying to lose weight. (1 tsp = 1 serving)

Elaine Blackwood, DMS certified diabetes educator, appreciates the visual appeal of the Plate Method and will often use paper plates and markers to help others plan, plot and visualize meals. “Many of us are hands-on,” Blackwood says. “We need to either see or touch something.”

The ADA plate method is detailed in the video below.

For more on summer picnic and cook-out ideas, check out “Get Ready for Summer Picnics and Barbecues” from the American Diabetes Association.

DMS offers diabetes self-management and diabetes education services. For more information on specific exercise needs or to enroll in group or individual sessions, call our Education Department at 1-888-738-7929.

Contact DMS diabetes educator Elaine Blackwood at

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Ordering Supplies and Equipment

A diabetes treatment plan is very important. Make sure you know how things should work. Carefully following any medication orders and instructions is vital to your plan's success. Make sure you don't run out of supplies just as you refill prescriptions so you don't run out of medication.

Here are some ways you can let us help you reorder supplies:

At Diabetes Management & Supplies, we value the part we play on your treatment plan team and realize that winning is promoting good health.