I have partnered with Sunsweet PlumSmart Light and Amaz!n Prune Light to bring this content to you. Although I have been compensated for this post, all opinions are my own.
If you are like most of my clients, from the day you heard the words “you have diabetes,” you have probably felt like the list of foods and drinks you need to avoid is a mile long. Trying to keep a list of “good foods” and “bad foods” in your head is not only exhausting, but it can also be unnecessary and even unhealthy. To manage diabetes, you need to eat a well-balanced, nutritious diet. That means that very few foods or beverages need to be completely off limits. Sure, portion control and moderation are key, but the same can be said about any food that any of us eat, whether we have diabetes or not. Telling yourself you can never have a certain food or drink can backfire. As soon as you tell yourself you can never have something, guess what you want way more than you ever did before? Telling yourself a food or drink is completely off limits causes feelings of deprivation, which lead to cravings, and eventually may even lead to binge eating. As we kick off National Diabetes Month this November, my mission is to show you how you can still eat and drink what you love while successfully managing diabetes.
One big myth I hear from my clients time and time again is that juice is a complete no-no for anyone with diabetes. Most individuals that I meet with who have diabetes think that juice needs to be reserved only for times when blood glucose levels are crashing. But that’s actually not the case. If you love juice, you don’t have to feel like it is completely off limits. Sure, water should always be the go-to beverage for people with diabetes, but small amounts of juice can still be included as part of a healthy diabetes meal plan. The key is knowing how to choose the right juice and the best portion for your own individual health needs.
Not all juice is created equal
Some brands of juice are a better choice for those with diabetes than others. Two brands I like to recommend are PlumSmart Light and Amaz!n Prune Light. I prefer these varieties since they contain fewer calories and sugar compared to full sugar beverages. Less sugar and less carbohydrates per serving means that these juices still provide great flavor without having as large of an impact on blood glucose levels. For instance, per serving Amaz!n Prune Light contains only 100 calories and 8 grams of sugar and is good for helping to regulate digestion. PlumSmart Light provides a good way to get in your daily fiber contains with only 60 calories per serving and 60% less sugar and calories than other leading juice cocktails.
How to Work Juice Into Your Meal Plan
How to Choose The Right Juice For You
When you are choosing a beverage, it’s not just calories and grams of sugar that matter. Fiber matters too. Fiber helps to slow digestion, allowing you to feel full longer and allowing blood glucose levels to rise and fall more gradually. Fiber, particularly soluble fiber, can be helpful in managing blood glucose levels as well as cholesterol levels. There is a misconception that fruit juice contains very little to no fiber at all, but that isn’t true for all juices. Both PlumSmart Light and Amaz!n Prune Light contain fiber from the fruit of the plum, which can be a helpful way to boost your overall daily fiber intake. A high fiber diet is essential to good health. Taking in enough fiber each day can help promote weight maintenance and blood sugar control, in addition to digestive health. So how much juice is okay to have when you have diabetes? When choosing a fiber containing juice, such as PlumSmart Light and Amaz!n Prune Light, you can determine the appropriate portion of juice based on your carbohydrate counting goals. If you are allowed 45 grams of carbohydrate per meal, an 8 ounce serving of PlumSmart Light or a 4-ounce serving of Amaz!n Prune Light could be balanced into a meal containing 30 grams of other carbohydrates.
Boosting Hydration with Flavor
Having juice on hand can also be beneficial in helping you to reach your daily hydration goals. If you struggle to drink enough water each day, adding a hint of flavor to your glass may help you to consume more. Staying hydrated is essential when it comes to managing diabetes. Even slight dehydration can cause your energy levels to drop. And as I am sure you know, it is a lot harder to be motivated to eat well, prepare healthy foods, or exercise when you are tired. In addition, dehydration can cause higher blood glucose levels. As blood glucose levels rise, you can become even more dehydrated as your kidneys try to flush out the excess glucose by producing more urine. Making sure to drink at least eight glasses of water per day (64 ounces total) is key to keeping energy levels up and blood glucose levels down.
If you struggle to drink plain water, why not try adding 2-3 tablespoons of PlumSmart Light or Amaz!n Prune Light to an eight-ounce glass of water for a hint of sweetness. This is a great way to boost the flavor of your drink while consuming minimal amounts of carbohydrates. You can even take it a step further and freeze the juice in an ice cube tray. Then simply add 2-3 cubes per glass for a refreshing beverage that will stay chilled and flavored while you drink.
As you celebrate National Diabetes Month this November, remember that following a diabetes meal plan means that you are eating a well-balanced, nutrient rich diet- a diet that everyone could benefit from regardless of if they have diabetes or not. Don’t set yourself up for feelings of frustration and deprivation by focusing on “yes” and “no” foods, but instead, understand how can you balance the foods and drinks you love into a healthy meal plan.
The Halloween countdown is on!
With only a few days left until Halloween, why not get into the spirit by treating yourself and your family with healthy ‘treats’ that are more fun to eat than any candy! It’s amazing how much nutrition you can pack into your family when their food becomes artwork. And don’t worry, I have very limited artistic abilities, so if I can pull this off, you can too! All of these ‘food art’ ideas took less than five minutes to create and were a major hit. Please make sure to share your favorite ways of having fun with your food too 🙂
Banana Ghost, Cheesy Pumpkin, and Peanut Butter & Apple Witch
High Protein Ghosts with Antioxidant Packed Pumpkins
Stuffed Pepper Jack-o-Latern
Peanut Butter Ghostly Graveyard
Yes, it’s a little but of work. But it’s also a lot of fun! And just look at the reaction it gets 🙂
What food art creations do you and your family love?
It’s that time of year again. In just a little over two weeks, Halloween will be here and with it comes the piles of candy and temptation. Then, just when you think you can finally say goodbye to the last Reese’s, Thanksgiving pops up. Yup, it’s that time of year that we all love celebrating, but dread the results that it has on our waistlines. So what can you do to avoid this inevitable weight gain? Well first, stop thinking it’s inevitable! You don’t have to gain weight over the holidays, but if you decide in advance that you will, well guess what – you definitely will!
I’ll tell you a secret- I love sweets! Yup, I have chocolate chips and cookies in the house right now. If it were up to me, these foods wouldn’t be in my house at all because I have no willpower. If I’m around candy for too long, I eat it. Sound familiar? I know there are some people who could care less about sweets and desserts (and I hate them just a little for it), but I think sugary treats really do tempt most of us. So what’s the solution? Definitely don’t ban yourself from them. That’s actually the WORST thing you can do. Why? Think about it this way – imagine I just told you that you could NEVER have ice cream again. Were you thinking about ice cream a minute ago? Probably not. But let me guess, now you feel like raiding your locally grocery store and stock piling every pint of Ben & Jerry’s you can get your hands on, right? Deprivation does that. So don’t deprive yourself or you will definitely go overboard and gain weight during the holidays.
So what can you do? Treat yourself! Yup- go ahead -indulge, but before you do, just give your favorite treats a little bit of a makeover. I’ll tell you a quick little story – one of my favorite holiday treats used to be a Cinnabon. This was before I learned how to read a food label and the horror that I experienced when I discovered what was really in my favorite Christmas morning breakfast. Now, don’t get me wrong, I have eaten an occasional one since that sad, sad day of revelation, but it hasn’t tasted quite the same knowing the reality of how much sugar and fat it really contains.
As sad as that story I just told you is, it that doesn’t mean I don’t still crave an ooey-gooey warm cinnamon roll. I’d eat one everyday if I could. So that’s why this holiday season I decided to find a better way to enjoy my favorite treat. With a little research and experimenting, I came up with a version I think is on par with the mall food court version with a quarter of the calories. And the best part- no added sugars! What?! Yup- no added sugar- even in the icing! So this recipe is even perfect for those trying to lose weight or control blood sugar with diabetes. And it gets better- you can make it in minutes in the microwave! Yes! This is actually a mug cake recipe. If you don’t know what that is, you are missing out on a big, delicious trend (and don’t worry, I only discovered this trend like a week ago myself). To sum it up, you can make individual serving size cakes in a coffee mug – in the microwave! So amazing! I will definitely try to come up with more of these little cakes, but today, I share with you my very first mug cake recipe – Skinny Cinnamon Roll Mug Cake with Cream Cheese Frosting. Get ready to get excited about breakfast (or lunch, or dinner, or any meal really- it’s healthy enough you can enjoy it anytime you want!)
- 1/4 cup oat flour
- 2 tbsp rolled oats
- 1/4 cup mashed banana
- 1/4 tsp baking powder
- 1/2 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 1/3 cup low-fat plain Greek yogurt
- 1 tsp Truvia
- 1 each Medjool date pitted
- 1/4 tsp cinnamon
- 1 pinch salt
- 2 tbsp fat free cream cheese
- 2 tbsp low fat Greek yogurt plain or vanilla
- 1/2 tsp Truvia
- 1/8 tsp vanilla extract
Spray a large mug (or two small mugs) with non-stick cooking spray. In a small bowl, mix together oat flour, rolled oats, cinnamon, baking powder, salt, and Truvia. Add in mashed banana and yogurt to form dough. In a separate bowl, mash the date and add in cinnamon and salt (you can also do this in a food processor and add in a bit of water for a thinner textured filling if desired).
Place ½ of dough into the mug. Pour ¾ of date filling on top and then add remaining dough. Cover with the remaining filling. Microwave on high for 60-90 seconds or until cooked throughout.
While mug cake is baking, mix together cream cheese, Greek yogurt, vanilla, and Truvia in a small bowl or food processor. Top cinnamon roll with icing when warm. Remaining icing can be stored in the fridge for up to 3 days.
Nutrition Facts (per serving): 186 Calories 32 gm Carbs, 3 gm Fiber, 8gm Protein, 2 gm Fat
I can’t wait to hear what you think!
When it comes to weight loss, a lifestyle change that is customized to you and your dietary habits is the key to success. Just as we all have different personalities, we also each have a unique weight loss personality. This is why a ‘one size fits all’ approach to weight loss just doesn’t work. Tailoring a plan to your lifestyle is necessary for both weight loss, and most importantly- weight maintenance following weight loss. Let’s discuss different weight loss personalities and identify strategies for each one to promote long term weight loss success.
The Personality: ‘Perfectionist’
Do you find yourself always trying to do everything right, all of the time? Are you hard on yourself when things do not go exactly as planned? If so, you likely have a ‘perfectionist’ personality. When it comes to eating, it is nearly impossible be perfect 100% of the time. Life is going to throw curveballs that require a bit of leniency in your diet; and while you may not be able to make the perfect food choice every single time, you can still lose weight and maintain a perfectly healthy lifestyle! Often with this personality we see over restriction and emphasis on ‘forbidden’ foods. Even one diet ‘slip up’ can cause feelings of failure or hopelessness and lead to a cycle of overeating followed by over restriction.
The Strategy: Stop the cycle! Work on learning to forgive yourself when you do have a diet ‘slip up’, and try incorporating a small weekly indulgence to your diet. Adding flexibility to your diet will not hinder your health or your weight loss efforts, and you will likely feel more relaxed and at peace with your new lifestyle changes.
The Personality: Impulsive
Do you get halfway through the bag of Doritos before you even realize you grabbed them from the kitchen? Do you take seconds at dinner just because the leftovers were sitting there? These are habits seen often with ‘impulsive’ personalities. Changing your lifestyle usually requires a bit of planning and thoughtfulness, especially in the beginning while getting used to new foods and eating habits. Those with impulsive personalities are more likely make a poor dietary choice in the moment and less likely to consider the feelings of guilt that usually follow. Impulsive eating often leads to poor dietary decisions, disregard of hunger cues, and overeating.
The Strategy: Get rid of temptation! Think about the food temptations you give into throughout the day and find a way to eliminate these temptations altogether. Stock your fridge and cabinets with healthy snacks and avoid buying sugary and salty treats. Contribute a healthy dish at the next BBQ so you know there will be something nutritious there for you to eat. Keep dinner leftovers on the kitchen counter or somewhere they will be out of reach. Making your food choices more planned and deliberate throughout the day will help you stay on track!
The Personality: Night Owl
Do you find yourself staying awake late into the night even when you don’t need to? The ‘night owl’ personality is a common one, and it can have a substantial impact on your weight loss efforts. Studies have shown that people who stay up later often engage in night time snacking and consume significantly more calories than those who hit the sack earlier. Additionally, sleep deprivation can lead to clouded judgment when choosing foods the following day, and can also mess with your hunger and satiety hormones.
The Strategy: Commit to a bedtime! Choose a bedtime that is realistic for your lifestyle, preferably early enough to get at least 7-8 hours of sleep per night, and commit to it. To promote a more restful sleep, turn off electronics 30 minutes to an hour before getting into bed. Try practicing nighttime yoga or meditation to relax your mind and body. It will take consistency and patience while your body adjusts to the new sleep schedule, but I bet you will find the new rested you makes healthier choices throughout the day!
The Personality: All or Nothing
Have you started a nutrition or exercise program, strayed a bit off course, and then abandoned the program all together? This ‘all or nothing’ personality can sabotage weight loss efforts; any deviation from the plan will lead to feelings of failure and subsequent giving up. This personality often relies on a very structured plan for weight loss success. While structure can be helpful while losing weight, flexibility is essential for long term weight loss and weight maintenance.
The Strategy: Add flexibility! When you begin your weight loss journey, follow a structured plan while you are getting used to the changes. After a couple weeks, allow yourself to stray a bit from the plan. This may mean experimenting with one or two different meals a week, adding in a night at your favorite restaurant or enjoying a small treat at the Sunday barbeque. Adding flexibility to your plan will allow for continued weight loss while preventing diet burn out that can occur from too much structure.
The Personality: Short Attention Span
Have you ever given up on trying to lose weight after feeling bored with eating the same foods over and over again? Structure is important for weight loss, but that doesn’t mean the foods you eat have to lack variety! Someone with the ‘short attention span’ personality may find they get into a rut of eating the same foods every day that is not only boring, but is also unsustainable. Eating should be an enjoyable experience, and the greater variety of healthy foods you have in your diet, the more likely you are to feel satisfied and find success on your journey to weight loss.
The Strategy: Mix it up! There is no way to get around the fact that structure and planning are necessary components for weight loss. To add variety but keep structure, plan out a week of meals, Sunday-Saturday. Make sure these meals differ from day to day. Now, you have seven days of different meals that will help you stay on track without becoming bored. You can repeat these meals each week, or find new healthy recipes online or in a cookbook to swap with. Getting creative in the kitchen is a great way to stave off boredom while discovering new nutritious snacks and meals.
No matter what your weight loss personality is, the important thing to remember is that the changes you are making are lifestyle changes; they have to be sustainable if you hope to reach long term success. Once you identify your weight loss personality, work with the strategies that are tailored to you and your lifestyle (a registered dietitian can help you do this!).
Which personality do you identify with? Do you have a different weight loss personality that was not mentioned?