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As we gear up for Thanksgiving and the rest of the holiday season, I want to take a moment to remind everyone that in addition to November being the beginning of the holiday season, it also happens to be American Diabetes Month®.

The American Diabetes Association, in their mission to “prevent and cure diabetes, and to improve the lives of all people affected by diabetes,” has dedicated an entire month each year to raising national diabetes awareness. In our effort to support their mission, we wanted to offer some diabetes-specific information for you to read as you begin preparing your Thanksgiving meals.

Some recent diabetes statistics:

  • Nearly 26 million children and adults in the United States have diabetes.
  • Another 79 million Americans have prediabetes and are at risk for developing type 2 diabetes.
  • The American Diabetes Association estimates that the total national cost of diagnosed diabetes in the United States is $245 billion.

Healthy eating is one behavior that will help you live healthier with diabetes. Follow these simple tips:

  • Health Eating: The varieties of food you eat, how much and when you eat all effect your blood glucose levels. Eat regular meals, make healthy food choices and watch your portion sizes!
  • Healthy Carbohydrates: Eat high fiber starches. Shop for whole wheat or whole grain bread instead of white bread, eat brown or wild rice in place of white rice, and choose wheat pasta instead over white pasta.
  • Reduce Salt (sodium): Food higher in salt (sodium) may raise your blood pressure. Use herbs and spices to flavor food instead of salt. Avoid canned or processed foods as they are generally higher in sodium. Eat vegetables and fruits more often.
  • Reduced Saturated Fat: Animal fats (saturated fats) raise your LDL (bad) cholesterol. To lower the amount of saturated fats in your diet try the following:
    • Trim visible fat off all meats and remove the skin from chicken before cooking
    • Use liquid oil in cooking (like canola or olive oil) which are high in monounsaturated fats
    • Choose skim or 1% milk and reduced fat cheese (whole milk and regular cheese have lots of cholesterol raising saturated fat)

Visit the American Diabetes website http://www.diabetes.org/ for more information on healthy eating including menus, recipes and cookbook recommendations. Start living healthier today!

Karen Perkins MS, RD,CDE
Clinical Nutrition Manager
St. David’s Round Rock Medical Center

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