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Summertime Cooking, The Healthy Way with Elaine Magee, RD

Enjoy the joys of summer -- and stay healthy too!
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Cobbling Up a Lighter Cobbler continued...

Magee: First of all, I can understand special needs; I have irritable bowel myself and my dad has had diabetes most of his adult life. Generally, what I'm talking about would work for people with diabetes. For example, people with diabetes are helped by keeping track of carbs, fat, and fiber. That way they discover what combination works best for them and their blood sugars. So you could enjoy pasta salad and barbecued chicken, for example, you would hopefully be keeping track of the amount of certain foods that work for you.

In terms of irritable bowel, you would probably know which foods are troublesome for your constitution and hopefully could easily avoid them. For me, eating light, in terms of low fat, really helps me personally. I generally do not have any problems eating at a picnic or barbecue, as long as I stay away from the real greasy, fatty foods. I would think with hypoglycemia you would be better off eating smaller, more frequent meals and making sure each meal has quite a bit of fiber and each meal is nicely balanced with some protein and good fats along with good carbohydrate choices.

To answer your question about high-protein, low-protein, high-carb, etc., I personally strongly feel that the low-carb way of eating is just plain wrong. What I think helps most people is to make smart carb choices and to make more balanced meal choices to include some protein and fat along with carbohydrates.

Member question: We're having a block party cookout and I know one family that's coming has two diabetic members. As the host, what should I be aware of in offering food?

Magee: You'll probably want to offer some high-fiber choices; limit sugars and sweeteners when you can; choosing smarter fats will also help, like olive oil and canola oil. But generally people with diabetes can eat anything; it's a matter of them knowing the portions that work for them. Generally the higher fiber the meal is, the easier on the blood glucose it's going to be, and then not overdoing certain carbohydrate-rich items.

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