Eating smart this summer will help control your diabetes

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By April Thomas

Summer is just around the corner, and it seems as if everyone is thinking about getting in shape, hitting the pool or beach and buying those sandals and sunglasses.  Just remember, with all those summer barbeques and family reunions coming up, you have to keep your eating habits in shape, too.
Making healthy food choices, even while on vacation, is a key step to staying healthy, feeling better and most importantly keeping your diabetes in control.
Here are some tips from the National Diabetes Education Program on how to eat healthfully and still enjoy all the foods that summer has to offer.
At a summer buffet, start by scanning the table to see what’s available. Fill your plate with mostly vegetables and whole grains. If there are meat dishes, limit your portion to about the size and thickness of a deck of cards. Choose lean meats, poultry, or fish instead of high fat meats, such as barbequed ribs.
Also, opt for grilled foods instead of something fried. Look for high-fiber foods, such as dried beans and peas, lentils and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach or kale.
Dishes with green beans, three-beans, black beans and black-eyed peas are always good choices, as are whole grain foods such as brown rice, couscous and whole wheat bread and pasta.
Watch out for fatty foods. Limit dishes with a lot of mayonnaise, sour cream and butter.
Choose veggies that are light on dressing and cheese.
For fun, try making your own dressing with a little olive oil and vinegar. If you make a sandwich, use whole wheat bread with mustard or salsa instead of mayonnaise.
Try to drink water, unsweetened tea or diet soda with your meal. If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, drink only with a meal and limit it to no more than one (for women) or two (for men) a day.
Don’t forget dessert. Dessert is a great opportunity to get in some of your daily fruit intake. Everyone — including people with diabetes — needs three to four servings of fruit a day.
Let’s face it; what is summer without delicious watermelon or strawberries? Fruit is an excellent source of fiber, vitamins and minerals and has zero fat.
Pies and cookies taste good, but have a lot of fat and cholesterol. An occasional treat is OK if you can work it into your meal plan.
Summer is a time to enjoy family, friends and life. It’s also a great time to refocus on feeling better, eating healthy foods and controlling your diabetes … for life. For more tips and free materials on diabetes control, call the Anderson County Health Department at 839-4551.
April Thomas, MPH, is a nurse at the Anderson County Health Department.