Monthly Archives: January 2013

Food and Menu Ideas for Managing Type 2 Diabetes

Managing type 2 diabetes means developing healthy eating habits, but for most of us this is easier said than done.  Many type 2 diabetes sufferers have acquired the condition as a result of a lifetime of poor diet choices, and making a change for the better takes planning to be effective.

By having healthy, well-balanced meals planned in advance and keeping low-carb snacks close at hand you avoid succumbing to cravings for convenient yet unhealthy foods.  Meal plans and many delicious, diabetes-friendly recipes may be found on a number of websites such as Diabetes.org, belonging to the American Diabetes Association.  However, you’re going to need to limit carbohydrates.

Simply put, carbohydrates are quickly converted to blood glucose, which can cause spikes in blood sugar levels when consumed in too large a quantity.  Two easy methods of meal planning involve counting carbs and the somewhat simpler plate method.

Limiting Carbohydrates to Manage Blood Glucose Levels

Counting carbs means tracking the number of carbohydrates you eat and setting a limit.  Your carb limit will depend on a number of things such as what medications you are taking and your level of activity. Your doctor can recommend a precise limit, however 45 to 60 grams per meal is a good place to start.

Carbohydrate-rich foods include starches like pasta, bread, rice, cereal and crackers, starchy vegetables such as corn and potatoes, fruit and fruit juice, milk and soy products, yogurt and beans, and simple sugars found in candy, cookies, sweet drinks and snacks.  Non-starchy vegetables do contain carbs but in significantly smaller amounts.

A 15-gram serving of carbs could be two small cookies, four to six crackers, one small piece of fruit, one slice of bread, 1/3 cup of rice or pasta, ½ cup of ice cream or ¼ of a large baked potato.   A complete list of carbohydrate serving size equivalents may be found at the website of the American Diabetes Association, among other places.

For packaged foods, carbohydrates are listed on the label.  In reading labels, however, it is important to remember that the nutritional information given only applies to the serving size, not the whole package.  Check the total grams of carbohydrate, number of calories, saturated and trans fats and sodium.

Number of calories is important when following a calorie-limited diet for weight loss and is also helpful to compare similar products.  Saturated and trans fats are important to avoid in order to stave off heart disease – for which diabetics are generally at higher risk, and high levels of sodium contribute to hypertension, another diabetic complication.

A simpler alternative to counting carbohydrates, the plate method involves proportioning daily meals.  As a rule of thumb, fill half of your plate with vegetables low in starch, i.e. broccoli, carrots, green beans, tomatoes, lettuce, spinach, cabbage, beets, turnips, okra, mushrooms and the like – basically side dish vegetables or salad, but be sure to use only a small amount of reduced fat, low calorie dressing.

Divide the other half of your plate into two categories: protein and starch.  The protein portion should be lean meat such as skinless chicken, fish, turkey, pork tenderloin or seafood, or meat substitutes like eggs, low-fat cheese and tofu.  A recommended portion is about 3 ounces, around the size of a deck of cards.

The starch portion of the plate may include whole grain bread, brown rice, whole grain pasta, beans and lentils, peas, corn, sweet potatoes, lima beans, potatoes, etc.

Add a glass of skim or 1% milk, or a small serving of yogurt if you prefer, and top it off with a small piece of fruit or ½ cup of fruit salad for desert for a complete and satisfying meal.

A terrific menu planning program can be found at shopdiabetes.org to help you get started.  The important thing is to find a plan that works with your schedule, is easy to follow and provides plenty of low-carb healthy snacks to keep your blood glucose from plummeting, causing extreme hunger and triggering an unhealthy eating response.

Valerie Johnston is a health and fitness writer located in East Texas. With ambitions of one day running a marathon, writing for Healthline.com ensures she keeps up-to-date on all of the latest health and fitness news.

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Do it Yourself Wedding Food: How to Create Your Own Candy Buffet

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Image by Shuana Younge Dessert Tables

Dessert tables and candy buffets have become extremely popular on the wedding circuit in recent years, and they could make a great centerpiece at your wedding reception.

If you and your other half are thinking of bucking the trend of a traditional dessert course in favour of something sweeter, we have the tips and tricks you need to make your candy buffet dreams a reality.

Plan Ahead

One of the advantages of having a candy buffet at your wedding is that you can plan ahead. Table decorations and most types of candy can be bought and stored well in advance, and if you’re thinking of making your own sweet treats, then aim for delicacies that can be made in advance such as bon bons or sugared almonds.

Crafty Confectionary

If you do want to make your own candy, it’s worth getting a few of your friends to pitch in – baking a batch of brownies for the office is one thing, but creating multiple different types of candy and chocolate treats for 100+ people could easily take a couple of days if you’re on your own. Invite some girlfriends over for a mini bachelorette party and spend the evening cooking – you can gossip at the same time, and your friends may have some great recipes of their own that they want to share.

Bag, Box or Bowl?

Depending on your theme, and how accommodating your venue is, you’ll need to think about how your guests can transport their tasty treats back to their table. Bowls and small plates are fine but the use of additional crockery from your venue or catering company could increase costs.

For a cheap and fun option, consider using paper bags or small boxes. Cardboard cupcake holders can be great for smaller guests, and when bought in bulk, plain paper bags can be picked up for as little as a penny each. Decorate with ink stamps or ribbons to tie them into your theme.

Fly the Flag

To avoid confusion or to let guests know if any of the dishes contains nuts, consider adding little flags to each bowl, platter or jar of candy. This is particularly helpful if lots of your treats are homemade, and therefore not as recognisable as M&Ms or Jelly Beans. You could even make your own flags by gluing colored craft paper to cocktail sticks.

Dress the Table

Regardless of if your venue is providing all the furniture or if you bring your own trestle tables, decorating your candy buffet will be almost as much fun as tasting the contents! If you have a theme running through the rest of the wedding then you may already know what you want your table to look like, but if not then that’s fine too.

If you’re on a budget, find a simple white tablecloth or piece of fabric you’d like to use as the base, and head to your local mall or supermarket to stock up on cheap party supplies, such as streamers and party poppers to give your table a little extra flair. Streamers can also look fantastic when pinned to the front of the table, or behind it if against a wall. You could also try collecting Mason jars ahead of your big day to use as candy containers.

Elise Lévêque is a bubbly freelance writer, foodie lover who enjoys sharing new recipes with her friends. She blogs for Wedding and Party Store and is considering a candy buffet for when she gets finally walks down the aisle.

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Top Ten New Years Resolutions

First, we’ll let cats illustrate the top ten resolutions. (you’ll like this):

  1. Appreciate loved ones and spend more time with family and friends this year. This is the number one resolution for most Americans. Get out there and do it!
  2. Lose weight and get fit. MagicKitchen.com can help, with diet prepared meals which are portion controlled.
  3. Quit Smoking. This is more important than ever, as the areas to smoke get fewer, and the heath benefits of quitting ever more apparent. Here are some quit smoking tips.
  4. Help others. If you have time, there are many charities in your city who can use volunteers. But even if you can’t afford the time, giving to charities is good for the heart.
  5. Learn Something New. Classes at your local college are a great place to start! Alternatively, taking time to read books is a relaxing way to learn.
  6. Get Organized. This can be hard if your life has gotten out of control. Here’s a great website for organizing your life.
  7. Manage our debt. One of the hardest things to do is manage money, save more and get out of debt.  Here is a good debt-relief website.
  8. Manage Stress. Life is stressful, no doubt about it. Here are a few tips for managing stress:  Take a yoga class, go for a 30-minute walk every day in nature, listen to music, do deep-breathing exercises, or get more sleep. If stress is causing real problems in your life, consider seeing a counselor.
  9. Take a trip– See tip 7 for saving techniques. Set a plan for saving, and a date for the trip of your dreams. If your pocketbook won’t afford a cruise, consider flying to a country of your choice and taking a bus tour.
  10. Drink less alcohol – So many of us over-indulge during the holidays. Livestrong.com has tips for cutting down on alcohol consumption.

 

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Getting Ready for a New Diet

We make our resolutions every New Year’s Eve, full of enthusiasm and maybe a few drops of wine, determined that this year is going to be our slimmest year yet. Come springtime, most resolutions are forgotten about and we fall back into our old routines – dessert after dinner, fast food, a bag of chips here and there. It’s a well-known fact that gyms are busiest in the months of January and February and then as the year continues, newbies stop going and their gym membership card grows dusty in their wallet. And yet, there are some who achieve their aims, whether they wanted to drop a dress size, or fit into that pair of jeans from when they were a teenager. How do they do it? There are a number of factors common to all successful diets:

Goals

Know why you want to diet. Many people will just decide, “I need to lose weight!” While that is a key aim of all diets, it needs to be more specific than that. Do you want to lose weight for a specific reason? Maybe you want to lose weight for a special occasion, or for health reasons. It is best to narrow down your goals, in this way you will have better focus. One of the main factors that contribute to achieving your goals is knowing exactly what they are. Defining your goal is the first step towards achieving your goal.

Visualisation

Say your goal is to fit into a pair of jeans. Picture your new svelte self comfortably wearing them. Focus on every detail of this picture, until it is crystal clear in your mind. Imagine how great you will feel when you can fit into those jeans. You can now use these feelings and images to motivate you whenever your diet feels impossible to follow.

Planning

Once you’ve decided on what you want from your diet, the next step is to devise a plan to achieve it. It is important to set a goal that can be realistically achieved. For instance, deciding you want to lose fifty pounds in a week is unrealistic, whereas losing that same amount in a year is doable with effort. Make sure the diet that you choose to follow has shown results similar to what you want to achieve.

The right diet for you

It is tempting to get caught up in the spin surrounding the latest fad diet. But these are often designed for a specific lifestyle, one that may or may not fit in with your current lifestyle. When you make a decision to diet, it requires a lot of change in your life. By attempting to change your whole lifestyle at the same time as starting a diet, you are overloading yourself and setting yourself up to fail. It is best to choose a diet that fits in with your current lifestyle.

Diet and exercise

A good way to enhance the effects of your diet is to combine it with a fitness plan. By exercising you will be burning fat and increasing your health while your diet helps you to keep the weight off. As well as making you look better, exercise will make you feel better by increasing your natural endorphins. When you feel better you are more motivated to achieve your goals.

Team up with a friend

Going it on your own can be difficult, especially in those moments when temptation strikes. See if you can find a friend who has similar weight loss goals to you and team up with them. You can give each other support and strengthen each others commitment to your diets. So when you feel that cupcake on the coffee shop counter tempting you, you can imagine how disappointed your friend would be if you succumbed to it and you can pass it up.

By following these tips, you will be fully prepared to achieve your dieting goals, and the best part is, once you achieve you goal, other goals become much more doable. A successful diet can be the first step on the journey to a new you!

References
http://www.webmd.com/diet/features/4-ways-to-get-that-diet-going
http://psychcentral.com/lib/2007/get-ready-to-diet/

Featured images:

This is courtesy of Goodtoknow Diets, the experts in exercise, low calorie food and healthy living.

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The Most Frequently Asked Questions of 2012

When you call the customer service line, a friendly voice will answer saying something like this, “MagicKitchen.com this is Mariel…this is Michelle…this is Greg and we will be ready to hear any questions you might have before you place an order, while you place your order, after you place your order and once you’ve received your order! Customer service is very important to us and we want to make sure that all of your questions, comments or concerns get addressed. Here is a list of questions we get frequently.

The Most Frequently Asked Questions of 2012

“Do you deliver to my area?”

Yes we do! If someone lives there, we can deliver frozen, prepared meals right to your door anywhere in the US, including Hawaii and Alaska!

“Will the food be alright in transit? If it will take three days to get to me, I don’t want spoiled food.”

It will absolutely be alright in transit! We have UPS tested packaging that will keep your order completely frozen in transit. It is shipped on dry ice that is supposed to dissipate while on its way to you so the package gets lighter and you don’t have to deal with too much dry ice in your package. Whether your transit time is one or three days, you will get your food completely frozen. If you have any issues with your package at the time it arrives, just let us know.

“What happens if I’m not home to receive the package?”

If you’re not home, UPS/FedEx is instructed to leave the package at your door. This way, if you are at work and come home, you will find your order waiting for you.

“I’m not sure what you get in a bundle. Can you explain what “Complete Pkg” means?”

Our bundles are a great and very easy way to get a variety of meals. When you see a bundle on our menu, the prices shown is for either 2 or 4 servings of each meal listed. You can order the meal with or without desserts. The “Complete Package” contains all of the meals, enough for either 2 or 4 people including the listed dessert.

The One Serving Bundles are for people who are dining alone. The entrees and sides come in separate single serving containers which make it easy to take out and heat only one serving. This is a great option for college students, active seniors and busy singles.

“Do you have a Gluten Free/Dairy Free menu?”

Our Gluten Free and Dairy Free menus are not certified, and the items may be made on shared equipment but they do not have gluten or dairy in the ingredients. We have a section of the HomeStyle Menu that will not have gluten or dairy in the ingredients. If you have any questions specifically about these menus, please call our customer service number.

“What is the average cost of a meal?”

Well, it’s difficult to say. Just like a restaurant menu, it varies. We have two different menus so typically, the Special Diets Menu will have meals from $10-$14. Our HomeStyle menu has items that range from $10 a serving to $30 a serving depending on the dish and the sides you put with it. A beef dish with 2-3 sides will be a little higher in price than if you get a vegetarian item for example.

“Is shipping included in the cost of the food?”

Shipping is a separate charge that is based on the weight of the package (or how much you order), where in the country it is going and the service you select. Currently, shipping starts at $18.95. One way to get a fabulous (free) deal on shipping is if you become a regular MagicKitchen.com customer. If you place your order within 30 days of your previous order and the order is over $100, we will take care of the shipping charge for you. Just call our office to learn more!

“Are you local?”

We are not local to you, but we are all around! Since we deliver to all 50 states, we have a centrally located distribution center where all of our meals are shipped out of to get directly to your door by UPS/FedEx. We do not have any stores locally and grocery stores do not carry our meals. Instead, we are a one of a kind service that will deliver frozen, hand prepared meals and meals catering to specific diets.

“Which meals are your favorites?”

I love the Eggplant Parmesan, Beef Pot Roast and the Individual Crab Cakes Meal.

Why should I choose MagicKitchen.com over going to the grocery store to buy a frozen meal?

If you go to the grocery store you will find meals that are mass produced and filled with sodium as a preservative. If you’re looking for a special diet meal, you won’t find products that are monitored for sodium or carbohydrates for diabetics or potassium levels for dialysis patients like ours do. Our HomeStyle menu is prepared in small batches with quality ingredients. Whether you’re caring for someone, or finding meals to help your busy family come together with a great meal, MagicKitchen.com is a perfect option for you.

“I just received my order” or “I want to place an order”, and [insert issue here]. Can you help me?

Absolutely, we are always glad to help! Just call our customer service line and let us know how we can help you.

Hopefully one of your questions is in here and you are now wiser and can begin or continue getting delicious, nutritious and convenient food from MagicKitchen.com. And as always, if you have any questions please give us a call at 877-516-2442.

Bon Appetit!

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