According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) report released yesterday (June 24, 2008) almost 24 million people in the United States have diabetes. That represents an increase of more than 3 million people in the last two years. In addition to the 24 million people with diabetes there are 57 million people estimated to have pre-diabetes, a condition that puts people at increased risk for diabetes.
For those recently diagnosed as having diabetes, or for those who have pre-diabetes or a family history that may contribute to developing diabetes, changing eating habits can be the most challenging aspect of diabetes self-management--particularly for those who eat foods popular in the American South and the Caribbean.
Every day there are difficult choices to make that will affect an individual's blood glucose (sugar) levels and their health. People hate to be told to stay away from sugar, or just eat smaller portions. It can be really difficult and frustrating. But the good news is that diabetes can be more manageable if these Tips are followed:
- Buy more fresh fruits and vegetables. Fresh peaches, mangos, papaya, pineapple or oranges all contain fiber, vitamins and minerals and can satisfy your sweet tooth. If you have diabetes, limit fruit to no more than three to four servings daily.
- Increase fiber by choosing whole grain breads and cereals. Eat at least three servings of whole-grain products per day. Brown rice, buckwheat, oatmeal, whole-wheat bread and, of course, corn bread are good sources of fiber.
- Eat more poultry and fish. Try lean ground poultry instead of ground beef. Fish contain healthy oils, so choose fish frequently instead of meat. Dry fry your favorites instead of deep-frying. Love catfish? Try the Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish recipe.
- Remove skin and fat from poultry and meats before cooking. Avoid high cooking temperatures or searing meat. High heat locks in the fat. Moderate cooking temperatures help to reduce the fat.
- Use low fat cooking methods. Broil, stir fry or grill food instead of frying. When eating out, avoid foods described as buttery, batter dipped, crispy, with gravy or with cheese sauce.
- Get rid of the salt pork. Try seasoning greens with smoked turkey, low-salt chicken or vegetable stock instead of salt pork.
- Use less salt, more pepper, herbs and seasoning. Eating less salt helps control high blood pressure. Read the nutrition facts label and choose foods with less than 5 percent daily value for sodium.
- Slow down and chew. Eating slowly can actually help you eat less and loose weight. Put your knife and fork down between each bite and chew your food at least 20 times before swallowing.
- Eat the correct amount of food. Not weighing and measuring your food? Try the plate method. Make 1/4 of your plate whole grains, 1/4 or your plate protein (fish, poultry or meat) and fill the other half with non starchy vegetables.
- Practice mindful eating. Take time to look at what you're eating. Notice the colors, textures and aroma of the food. How does this food fit into your meal plan? Notice the portions. Finally, think about how hungry you are. Now decide how much you really need and enjoy!
Don't try to make these changes all at once, and don't be discouraged if you can't follow all the tips all the time. Small gradual changes work best and tend to last. Aim to follow one tip each week until the list has been mastered. Start today toward the goal of eating soulfully and healthfully to control and possibly prevent diabetes.
Cornmeal-Crusted Catfish (Serves 4)
- 1 pound catfish filets
- 1/2 cup cornmeal
- 4 tbs. crushed pecans
- 1 tsp. paprika
- 1 1/2 tsp. garlic powder
- 2 tsp. minced onion
- 12 tsp. pepper
- 1 tsp. salt
- 3 tbs. light mayonnaise
- 2 tbs. apricot preserves
- Cooking spray.
- Mix together cornmeal, crushed pecans, paprika, garlic powder, onion, pepper and salt and lightly toast in a skillet.
- Mix together mayonnaise and apricot preserves and smear on catfish.
- Press spices completely into catfish.
- Spray a skillet with cooking spray and heat until hot, then lower flame and continue to heat.
- Place catfish in hot skillet and brown on one side.
- Carefully turn and brown other side.
Nutrient information: 230 calories, 18 grams protein, 23 grams carbohydrate, 6.6 grams fat, 61 milligrams, cholesterol, 718 milligrams sodium.