Uncategorized

Grilled Summer Vegetables

Enjoy the fresh flavors of summer with this easy recipe for grilled veggies from the MGH Be Fit Program.

Ingredients:
2 medium zucchini, cut into large slices (about 1½inches)
2 bell peppers (red, yellow, orange, or green), cored and cut into large chunks (about 1½inches)
1 large eggplant, cut into medium slices(about ¾inch)
1 red onion, peeled and cut into ¼ inch rounds
1 tablespoon fresh herbs (basil, thyme, chives,etc.)
1 tablespoon lemon juice
½ tablespoon olive oil
¼ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:
Turn grill on medium-high heat.  (If using a charcoal grill, see note below.)

Place all the vegetables in a bowl and add in herbs, lemon juice, olive oil, salt, and pepper. Toss together until vegetables are well coated.

Spread vegetables on grill grate. Cook until they soften and start to show grill marks (about 10 minutes). Use grill tongs to flip them once or twice during this time to ensure even cooking.  Keep an eye on the vegetables as some may cook faster than others.

Note: To judge heat on a charcoal grill, hold your hand about 5 inches above the grill grate. Keeping your hand there for 4 to 5 seconds (before it becomes too hot) is roughly medium-high temperature.

Yield: 4 servings

Nutrition Information per Serving:
Calories: 120 • Protein: 4g • Sodium: 160mg • Carbohydrate: 22g • Fiber: 9g •
Fat: 3g • Sat fat: 0g

Uncategorized

7 Ways to Increase your Fiber Intake

Jordan Shute
Dietetic Intern

As the weather starts to warm up flowers begin blooming, trees start budding out, and fresh, local produce is right around the corner. Fruits and vegetables contain vitamins and minerals our bodies need to work correctly.  Now is the time to check out local farmers markets to taste and experience fruits and vegetables grown right here in Massachusetts! Click here to find a market near you, or check for locally grown produce at your grocery store. Worried about produce spoiling before you can eat it? Buy frozen– it’s still full of the same nutrients as fresh produce.

Fiber is a weird word, right? You may have heard that eating fiber is good for you and your health, but what foods have fiber and how much do you need each day?  Fiber is a carbohydrate found in fruits, vegetables, legumes, and whole grains. Our bodies can’t actually break down fiber to use for energy. However, fiber helps us feel full longer which helps keep hunger at bay and blood sugars in check.

Fiber comes in two different forms:  soluble and insoluble. Soluble fiber can help lower blood sugar.  Foods with soluble fiber include apples, blueberries, oatmeal, nuts, and beans. Insoluble fiber helps keep your trips to the bathroom regular and prevents constipation. Foods with insoluble fiber include carrots, cucumbers, tomatoes, legumes, and brown rice.

Adults and children need 20-30 grams of fiber per day. Increase your fiber intake by:

  • Eating whole fruits instead of drinking fruit juice
  • Snacking on raw vegetables and fruits instead of chips or candy
  • Eating whole grain pasta, bread, and brown rice instead of white bread, white pasta, and white rice
  • Eat beans or legumes a few times per week

Try one of these ideas to increase your fiber intake:

  • Layer low fat Greek yogurt with ½ cup blueberries and 1 tablespoon chia seeds (7 grams of fiber)
  • Dip raw vegetables in ½ a mashed avocado (½ avocado has 6.5 grams of fiber)
  • Steam 1 cup of edamame, top with a pinch of sea salt (8 grams of fiber)
  • Make peanut butter & banana sandwiches: spread 1 teaspoon of peanut butter between 2 slices of banana (1 banana has 3g of fiber)
  • Make an apple donut: core an apple, then lay it on its side and slice in rounds. Top with peanut butter or Greek yogurt, then add chopped nuts, berries, or dried fruit.
  • Try a fruit pizza
  • Cut 1 head of broccoli into small pieces, toss with olive oil, salt, and pepper, and roast in the oven at 350 degrees for 15-20 minutes. (1 cup of broccoli has 5 grams of fiber)
Post content reviewed by Melanie Pearsall, RD, CDE
Uncategorized

Be Fit Basics: Roasted Winter Vegetables

This recipe from the MGH Be Fit program is an easy way to enjoy seasonal vegetables.

Ingredients:
1 pound carrots, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 pound parsnips, peeled and cut into 1-inch cubes
1 large sweet potato, cut into 1-inch cubes
1 small butternut squash, peeled, seeded, and cut into 1-inch cubes
3 tablespoons olive oil
½ teaspoon kosher salt
¼ teaspoon black pepper

Instructions:
Set the oven to 425 degrees. Divide the vegetables between two sheet pans (space out in a single layer).  Drizzle equally with olive oil. Sprinkle with salt and pepper.

Roast until vegetables are tender (about 25 to 35 minutes), tossing them once with a metal spatula about halfway through the cooking process.

Note: Using two sheet pans, instead of one, will allow for even cooking. Overcrowding the pan will prevent the vegetables from caramelizing.

Yield:  8 servings

Nutrition Information per Serving:
Calories: 180 • Protein: 3g • Sodium: 200mg • Carbohydrate: 34g • Fiber: 8g
Fat: 5g • Sat Fat: 1g

Recipe adapted from Ina Garten
Nutrition, Uncategorized

More Nutrition Myths Debunked

Sydney Bates, Dietetic Intern

There is a lot of conflicting information when it comes to nutrition. It seems that every day there is a new headline that’s at odds with everything we thought we knew. Despite emerging science, many nutrition myths are still prevalent. Here’s the truth about some common nutrition myths.

Myth: Egg yolks are high in cholesterol and should therefore be avoided
Fact: For decades, we were told not to eat eggs too often (and only the whites) if we wanted to be healthier and avoid elevated cholesterol. The latest evidence, however, shows that advice was scrambled. While egg whites are an excellent source of protein, the egg yolks contain most of the major nutrients including iron, folate and vitamins that support eye and brain health. The dietary cholesterol in eggs that was demonized for decades is now largely recognized by the medical community as having little effect on blood cholesterol. Overall, eggs contain a host of valuable nutrients, and focusing on the cholesterol content of eggs as a contributor to disease is not only counter-productive but false. Maintaining a balanced eating pattern with plenty of plant-based proteins and fats with the occasional animal product is the key to keeping those blood lipids at an optimal level.

Myth: Coffee is bad for you
Fact: The majority of studies on coffee have actually shown it provides protective effects against disease. Coffee is loaded with antioxidants, and has also been shown to help reduce the risk of developing diabetes in regular consumers. It’s likely the bad reputation comes from cream and sugar many people add to their drink. Adding sweetener greatly decreases this protective effect. To reap the most benefits, limit the amount of cream, milk, sugar, or artificial flavorings you add to your coffee.

Myth: You can eat as much “healthy” food as you like
Fact: The key to a healthy lifestyle is eating a variety of foods from all the main food groups. What this means is that just because the media touts avocados and kale as healthy “superfoods,” it doesn’t mean more is better; even healthy foods still need to be eaten in moderation. Ever hear of the saying, “too much of a good thing?” It applies to so-called healthy foods too. The body needs a certain amount of nutrients to function, and any excess is either stored as fat or eliminated. Plus, when you eat from only a small selection of foods, you miss opportunities to obtain vital nutrients from other sources. No one food contains all the macro- and micronutrients we need. That’s why it’s so important to view articles that promise things such as “eat as much of these foods as you want and never gain weight” with a critical eye. These headlines are designed to grab your attention using the allure of being able to eat all day long and never gain weight. To maintain health, eat a variety of foods, from all the food groups, in portions that are satisfying but don’t leave you feeling overly full all the time.

Myth: Gluten Free is healthier…and other labeling misconceptions
Fact: The term “health halo” is given to foods with a reputation for being better for you. They may have a special title or brand that is associated with being more nutritious, but this is not always the case. For instance, foods like smoothies, granola, organic snacks, protein shakes or foods labeled “organic” or “gluten free” are often thought of as being better options. The fact of the matter is that this is simply marketing and tailoring to consumer demand. Gluten is a protein found in wheat that has received a lot of attention recently. People with celiac disease or gluten sensitivity need to avoid gluten, but there is no need for the average person to eliminate gluten from their diet. As for organic foods, if you have the resources to purchase the “dirty dozen” (produce known to have high levels of pesticides) organic, wonderful. If not, you will not be losing out on any of the health-giving vitamins and minerals found in fresh produce. Learn more about the “dirty dozen” and “clean fifteen” and make an informed decision about which foods you will purchase organic. Overall, beware of falling for labeling traps and use your best judgement!

If you have questions about nutrition or your meal plan, speak with a Registered Dietitian to shed light on the evidence.

Post content reviewed by Melanie Pearsall, RD, LDN, CDE
Nutrition, Uncategorized

Other Whole Grains

By now you’ve probably heard about the many health benefits of whole grains (and hopefully started making half your grains whole grains).  Brown rice, quinoa and whole wheat bread are some of the go-to whole grain options but there are many, many other kinds to choose from.  Here are some other types of whole grains to try.

Barley

Barley is a really good source of fiber.  In fact, it has the most fiber of all the whole grains.  Barley has been shown to help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and keep blood sugar stable.  When shopping for barley, look for hulled barley rather than “pearled” barley.  Although pearled barley cooks much faster (about 30 minutes vs. an hour for hulled barley), pearled barley has had much of the bran scraped off.  Without the bran, it is no longer considered a whole grain.

Serving ideas:  Barley can be eaten alone as a hot cereal, used to thicken soups and stews, or as a substitute for rice.

Buckwheat

Like quinoa, buckwheat isn’t really a grain (it’s a seed).  It’s also not a type of wheat – it’s more closely related to rhubarb.  Buckwheat is high in protein and gluten-free, making it a good option for people with Celiac or other gluten sensitivity.  The kernels (called “groats”) cook in about 20 – 30 minutes.  If you’re short on time, look for toasted buckwheat groats (called “kasha”) which typically cooks in 15-20 minutes.

Serving ideas:  Cooked groats can be eaten alone in place of oatmeal, or added to salads or soups.  Buckwheat flower is used to make soba noodles.

Oats

Oats are a good source of fiber and are known to help lower LDL (“bad”) cholesterol and blood pressure.  Some different types of oats you may find in the store include oat groats, steel cut oats, and rolled oats.  The difference between each of these is how they’re processed.  Oat groats are whole oat kernels.  Steel cut oats are oat groats that have been cut into smaller pieces, while rolled oats are groats that have been steamed and flattened.  Processed oats cook faster, but here’s the good news:  all processed oats are still whole grains!  Even instant oatmeal counts as a whole grain, but read the nutrition facts label very carefully and choose brands that do not have a lot of added salt and sugar.

Serving idea:  Make up a batch of this Be Fit Power Granola for a healthy snack

One final thing to remember:  whole grains are still high in carbohydrate.  While you’re trying out new whole grain options, remember to pay attention to portion size.

 Content reviewed by Melanie Pearsall, RD, CDE
Nutrition, Uncategorized

Serving Up Satiety

By Elizabeth Daly
Dietetic Intern

In today’s society, we are constantly tempted by food. Whether we are commuting to work, out with friends or watching TV at home, we are influenced by messages encouraging us to eat more. Living in an environment surrounded by food can make it challenging for people to make healthy choices, lose weight and manage their diabetes. There are many different weight-loss diets advertised in the media, but dieting often leaves us feeling hungry, deprived and ultimately defeated. How can we better control our intake without feeling the need to eat all the time?

Satiety is the feeling of fullness that comes after eating. If we feel satiated after a meal, we are less likely to snack between meals or eat large portions the next time we sit down to eat.  Learning how to feel more satiated after a meal may help us better control how much we eat, aid in weight loss and better control blood sugar levels.

Feeling satiated takes time, often up to 20 minutes after eating a meal. It is controlled by a number of factors that begin once we take our first bite of food. When we eat, our stomach expands, we begin absorbing and digesting nutrients and the brain receives signals that lead to feelings of being full.

Not all foods produce the same level of satiety. Here are a few tips to help you feel fit and full:

  1. Add lean protein to meals and snacks

Adding protein to meals or snacks helps keep you full for longer and control blood sugar levels. Meals that only contain simple carbohydrates are digested quickly, spike blood sugar, and make you feel hungry again soon after.

~Ex.  1 oz low fat cheese or ¼ cup hummus or 1-2 tablespoons peanut butter or 1 oz nuts

  1. Add fruit and vegetables to meals

Fruits and vegetables are high in fiber and water.  Both of these help you feel full. They are also good sources of important nutrients and contribute to overall good health.

~Ex. Add a side salad with meals, add berries to cereal or yogurt, add vegetables in soup

  1. Limit sugary beverages

Sweetened beverages are high in sugar and calories but low in nutrients. They do not cause your body to feel as full as solid foods do, and can lead to spikes in blood sugar and weight gain.

~Try swapping sugar sweetened beverages with water at meals to curb your hunger!

 Content reviewed by Melanie Pearsall, RD, CDE
Health, Uncategorized

Standards of Medical Care in Diabetes 2017 (Part 2)

Eileen B. Wyner, NP
Bulfinch Medical Group

Eileen Wyner, NP

This week is part two of my review of the revisions to the 2017 American Diabetes Association Standards of Care (click here to review Part 1).  First, a quick reminder that these are guidelines; always discuss questions about your personal health care plan with your health care provider.

Section 6: Glycemic Targets

The International Hypoglycemia Study Group has recommended that serious, clinically significant hypoglycemia be defined as a reading of less than 54 mg/dL. People who have experienced such measurements need to notify their health care providers immediately and be prescribed a glucagon emergency kit.

Hypoglycemia measuring less than 70 mg/dL is still treated by the rule of 15: 15 grams of fast acting carbohydrate with a blood sugar check in 15 minutes for an expected increase by at least 15 points. Repeat the process if the result doesn’t improve.

Section 7: Obesity Management for the Treatment of Type 2 Diabetes

The best blood sugar results occur with weight loss early in the management of Type 2 Diabetes, before beta cells begin to stop working. For this reason, metabolic surgery (formerly referred to as bariatric surgery) is now recommended for people with a BMI of 30 (or 27.5 for Asians with poorly controlled diabetes).

Section 9: Cardiovascular Disease and Risk Management

Any of the medications for managing high blood pressure can be used (except for beta blockers) as long as the person doesn’t have protein in the urine (albuminuria). One or more medications should be used at bedtime to improve blood pressure control.

The goal for blood pressure for pregnant women is 120-160/80-105.  When prescribing medications, providers should consider both maintaining the health of the mother and avoiding harm to the baby.

There is a discussion of new medications and the potential benefits for people with diabetes and cardiovascular disease: empagliflozin (Jardiance) and liraglutide (Victoza).

Section 10: Microvascular Complications and Foot Care

There is an increased risk for retinopathy in pregnant women with Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes.  Thorough eye exams should be a part of preconception counseling as well as during pregnancy.

Anyone being treated for neuropathic pain should be evaluated for the addition of medication therapy with pregabalin (Lyrica) and duloxetine (Cymbalta). They should also be fitted for therapeutic footwear by a podiatrist.

Section 12: Children and Adolescents

Preconception counseling should begin in puberty to help to avoid the risk for birth defects in unplanned pregnancies.

When diabetic ketoacidosis appears in children, it is important to know if the child has Type 1 or Type 2 Diabetes as 6% of these cases are actually Type 2 Diabetes, not Type 1.

Section 13: Management of Diabetes in Pregnancy

Insulin is the preferred treatment for pregnant women.  Oral medications may harm the baby.

Targets for blood sugar are the same for gestational diabetes as for preexisting diabetes.

Section 14: Diabetes Care in the Hospital

It’s now recommended to use basal and/or basal bolus insulin regimes (instead of sliding scale insulin alone) when patients are admitted to the hospital.