I Can't Have That, Can I? A Guide to Healthy Eating

I Can't Have That, Can I? A Guide to Healthy Eating

Is that okay for me to have?

Nearly everyone I know has asked me this question at one point or another. It's easy to know what foods you can have, but balancing your likes with your dislikes can become a lot harder after a difficult diagnosis like diabetes, high cholesterol, heart disease, or other illness.

With a bit of patience, however, a whole new world of flavors and even more food can be included in your diet than you probablyever enjoyed in the past.

In the meantime, what about all the foods you think youcan'thave?

Before you decide all favorites are off-limits, give yourself a chance to learn how to make room for them in your new diet.

It's true, you can't eat fast food French fries at every meal. Why? Because most places use very poor quality grease to begin with, and even if they use quality fat, it's just that,FAT. Bad saturated and trans fats increaseinsulin resistance, makinginsulin less able to reduceblood sugar levels and leading to weight gain.

A½ cup serving of potatowith the skin intact orhome-made sliced potato wedgesbaked on a sheet in the ovenprovides an optimal choice for carbohydrate. Leaving out the fat-fryingnegatives bybaking or steaming means you have a healthy carb serving, along with the added benefits of magnesium and potassium.

What aboutbeans and rice? People think all the time that their diagnosis means they can't have these healthy and delicious side dishes.Although rice is high on the glycemic index, a bite of it is not going to hurt. Andhavingricewithbeans actually forms a complete protein. Iencourage the consumption ofbeans, peas, and lentils of all types. A half cup of any of these offers up a whopping 10grams of fiber, along with phenomenal amounts of vitamins and minerals. Roughly speaking, beans are about ½ protein ½ carbohydrate. Enjoy these!

Tortillas and bread? You can't possibly have tortillas and bread, can you?

Once again, you must keep the nutritional profile of these foods in mind.One serving of each is about 15g of carbohydrate.During a meal, you can likely enjoy about 1-3 servings of carbs, which equals aboutonetortilla, a ½ cup of beans, and a small piece of fruit with an egg white/vegetable omelet at breakfast. If that sounds like a lot of food, it is!However, it is abalanced mealand it's important to give your body theyright amountand theright typesof food in order for it to operate efficiently and effectively!

These were just a few examples, but don't ever assume you cannot have a certain type of food.Talk to your dietitian, diabetes educator or physicianand give them a chance to help you work your special food delights into your meal and snack regimen.

On your own, be sure to read the label of your favorite food. How much carbohydrate, protein, fat, and fiber is in that food? What food will it substitute and how often do you plan on havingit?If the food doesn’t have a label, look it up online or in a food nutrition calculator.

The really important thing is to know what you put in your body and plan! Once you know that, you can beprepared for how your body will respond and notice when it's working to serve you better.

Registered Dietitian, Licensed Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator

Comment by cowboys
January 06, 2015
I am on blood thinning meds can't eat green leafy veggies, will I still get that cleansing I need. just using everything else that I can eat.
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