Nutrition & Diabetes


This week’s www.foodpicker.org question is: I was recently diagnosed with pre-diabetes.  Could you tell me what questions I should be asking my doctor in order for me to be successful in the prevention of type 2 diabetes?

Weight control and changes to your diet are going to be key in preventing type 2 diabetes.   If you plan to start a workout routine, it would be good to consult with your doctor on the types of exercise strategies that would be best for you.  A Registered Dietitian would be able to assist you with modifying your diet.  If you do not have access to a Registered Dietitian, then you may ask your doctor for some guidance on how to modify your diet. 

Some dietary strategies would be to reduce your calorie and fat intake.  In addition, choose more foods that contain whole grains and that are high in fiber.  

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This week’s http://www.foodpicker.org question is: I have pre-diabetes and have been doing a pretty good job of exercising outdoors during the spring and summer months.  Now that the weather is starting to cool down, I am trying to determine what I can do for physical activity in the colder months.  Suggestions?

Don’t let the cold get in the way of your regular physical activity routine.   You can still walk, run, or enjoy a variety of physical activities during the cold months.  The key is to prepare yourself against the colder weather conditions.

Some tips are to dress in layers so you can remove pieces to avoid overheating.  If it is really cold outside, don’t forget to protect your hands, feet, and ears to avoid frostbite.  Footwear should be appropriate enough to deal with cold weather conditions to keep you from falling if it is wet or icy.  You will still need some sunscreen because the sun rays are still powerful as they are in the summer months.  Always remember to keep yourself hydrated.

If conditions outside are extremely cold, too wet, or too windy, you might want to consider exercising indoors.  There are a variety of workout videos that can be entertaining.

Remember before your start any physical activity please consult with your doctor.


This week’s http://www.foodpicker.org question is: My husband has diabetes and this time of year we attend a lot of football games.  Before the game we often will meet up with friends for tailgating parties.  Can you give me some healthy ideas of what we can eat during the tailgate?

Tailgating parties are the best because you spend time with friends and eat lots of yummy food.  Believe it or not tailgating can be healthy and still be tasty.  Yummy guacamole or an avocado salsa with multigrain pita chips or tortilla chips is nutritious and tasty.  Salsa and bean dips are also good dipping sides too.  A platter of veggies, low-fat cheese and whole grain crackers make great snacks.  A fruit salad or fruit kabob can make a nice after meal dessert.

As a main dish chicken, beef, or shrimp kabob mixed with assorted vegetables is very tasty.  Also, veggie burgers, lean beef burgers, chicken patty, or turkey patties served on a whole wheat bun or a whole wheat sandwich thin might be a good idea.  Some hearty chili is a nice main dish for a tailgate party.

People with diabetes can eat any food.  Moderation is really the key to navigate through all the tailgate food and making sure that your meal has a balance of carbohydrates, protein, and fat.


This week’s http://www.foodpicker.org question is: Diabetes runs in my family and I think this puts me at risk.  Could you tell me what are the symptoms of type 2 diabetes?

According to the American Dietetic Association, the “common symptoms of diabetes include fatigue, increased thirst and urination, infections and cuts that don’t heal, blurred vision, hunger and weight loss.”

Diabetes affects millions of people.  Yet many people do not even know they have diabetes.

It is better to know as soon as possible if you have diabetes so you can start managing it.  If diabetes goes untreated, it can lead to serious complications like heart disease, kidney disease, foot problems, and blindness.  If you think you have type 2 diabetes, it would be best to talk to your doctor and get the proper diagnosis.

Moderate weight loss, regular physical activity, and making dietary changes like increasing whole grains, and reducing calories and fat in the diet can help manage or reduce the risk of diabetes.

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This week’s http://www.foodpicker.org question is:  I was recently diagnosed with Pre-Diabetes and was wondering how strict my diet really needs to be?  Does every meal and snack need to be completely sugar and carb free?

If you have pre-diabetes, every meal and snack does not have to be completely sugar and carb free.  According to the American Dietetic Association and American Diabetes Association, people with pre-diabetes and diabetes do not need to eat special foods.  You can eat any kind of food you like and yes, you can still have sugar.  What matters is the amount of carbohydrate/sugar rich foods you are consuming.

Portion control is the key and trying not to make your meals so carbohydrate heavy.  It is the carbohydrate rich foods, meals, and snacks that make your blood sugar levels rise.  That is why having a balance of carbohydrate, protein, and fat on your plate is helpful.

Some tips for preventing diabetes:

  • Moderate weight loss
  • Regular physical activity (about 150 min/week)
  • Reduce calories – portion control or foods that aren’t too high in calories
  • Reduce dietary fat –  foods that are lower in fat and saturated fats
  • Fiber rich foods – increase consumption of whole grain foods (aim for 8+ grams of fiber)

This week’s http://www.foodpicker.org questions is: I have a very big issue when it comes to having diabetes and that is I do not eat vegetables.  I have tried.  I want control my diabetes and be around to raise my young children.  What suggestions do you have to add vegetables to my diet?

Some suggestions to add vegetables to your diet is to explore and sample the many vegetables that are available until you find some that you really enjoy.

It is no fun eating foods you don’t like or you feel like you have to eat.  Food should be something you enjoy and finding veggies you actually like will help you to incorporate them into your meals.

Another strategy is to find tasty recipes or spices that will enhance the flavor of vegetables  in a way that will make you want to eat them.

Also, there are cookbooks available that have recipes where you can puree or hide vegetables in dish and you will never notice you are eating vegetables.


This week’s http://www.foodpicker.org is: I love cereal and with my new diagnosis of type 2 diabetes, I’m wondering if I can still have cereal in my diet.  Are there any types to avoid?

According to the American Diabetes Association and American Dietetic Association’s Choose Your Foods: Exchange Lists for Diabetes, people with diabetes can eat anything.  The thing to keep in mind is that you are consuming a balanced meal that contains carbohydrates, fat, and protein.

You can still have cereal as long you are not eating an excess amount of it. Enjoy your favorite cereal, but try to eat within the serving size or at least do not go over two servings in one meal.  If you eat more than one serving, then you will need to look out for the other carbohydrate rich foods you are consuming with that meal.  The consumption of too much carbohydrates in one meal can cause blood sugar levels to skyrocket.

Here are some examples of one serving size of cereal, which is equal to 15 grams of carbohydrates.

15 grams of carbohydrates = 1 serving of a carbohydrate type food

Look at those food labels when you are choosing your cereal.

Bran cereals = 1/2 cup

Cooked (oats, oatmeal) = 1/2 cup

Puffed cereal = 1  1/2 cup

Shredded wheat, plain cereal = 1/2 cup

Sugar-coated cereal = 1/2 cup

unsweetened, ready-to-eat cereal = 3/4 cup

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About Me

Iris M. Pacheco, MS, RD, LD/N

This was a blog I wrote during 2010-2011 while I was a dietetics and nutrition student.

Through this blog I volunteered to answer questions from people with diabetes that were submitted to http://www.FOODPICKER.org.

FOODPICKER.org is a website that helps people with diabetes make better food choices. It holds of large databases of food items and gives recommendations on which foods to have "More Often," "In Moderation," or "Less Often."

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