Category Archives: Diabetes Information

Diabetic Meal Plan

A Diabetic Meal Plan is best discussed with your doctor and dietitian when you are diagnosed. Usually it involves minimizing the sodium, carbohydrates (Sugars) and the protein size. What often happens is that people are too busy to comply with the diet all the time, and they may get sicker.

There are solutions out there, such as DaVita.com for diabetes advice and recipes and   Eatingwell diabetic recipes, but for the easiest solution, turn to MagicKitchen.com’s line of diabetic-friendly frozen meals.  Our chefs and dietitians got together to please your appetite with meals that fit within a diabetic diet, yet are easy to reheat, and reasonable in cost and delivery. (In fact, if you order a certain number of meals per month, your delivery is free!)

Here are some of the options, below.

Barley and Beef Stew Barley and Beef Stew - Individual Meal
Barley and Beef Stew - Individual Meal Basil Chicken with Rice & Zucchini Sauté
Cheese Manicotti Barley and Beef Stew - Individual Meal
Barley and Beef Stew - Individual Meal Cod with Miso Ginger, Black Beans & Carrots
Ginger Pepper Beef Barley and Beef Stew - Individual Meal
Barley and Beef Stew - Individual Meal Lemon Rosemary Pork with Savory Rice and Glazed Carrots
Creamy Tarragon Mahi-Mahi with Mushroom and Artichoke Barley and Beef Stew - Individual Meal
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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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Pre-Diabetes – Are you susceptible? Discover how to prevent it from developing into type 2 diabetes.

Pre-diabetes means you probably have higher than normal blood-sugar levels but, fortunately, not high enough to be classed as being diabetic.

However it does mean that you are susceptible to developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease if you do nothing about it.

Unfortunately, more often than not, there are no physical symptoms to warn you if you are in a pre-diabetes stage. So it’s worth getting yourself checked out and, if you fall into any of these categories, ask your physician if you are likely to be at risk of pre-diabetes:

* You are overweight and you are aged 45 or older

* Your weight is OK and you’re aged 45+. Ask your doctor during a routine check-up if testing is appropriate for you

* You are an adult under age 45 and you are overweight

* You have high blood pressure; low HDL cholesterol and high triglycerides

* Your family has a history of diabetes

* There’s a history of gestational diabetes in your family

* You have given birth to a baby weighing more than 9 pounds

* You belong to an ethnic or minority group that has a high risk for diabetes, such as African American, American Indian, Asian American, Pacific Islander, or Hispanic American/Latino.

The good news is, if after testing you discover that you do have pre-diabetes; your blood-sugar levels are rather higher than they should be but not in the diabetes range, you can take positive action to reduce the risk of developing type 2 diabetes and heart disease.

* Reduce the amount on your plate – eating just a little less helps reduce your risk factor.

* Avoid snacks; if you must snack go for a healthy rather than sugar-laden option.

* Drink a glass of water 10 minutes before eating to take the edge of your appetite so you don’t overindulge in food.

* Choose whole-grain foods or sugar-free foods.

* Grab a little more exercise, such as walking up the stairs instead of taking the elevator or escalator.

* Don’t shop for food when you are feeling hungry.  You’ll be more tempted to buy the foods that increase your blood-sugars, add  weight and generally create a higer risk of moving from your pre-diabetes state into being a fully diagnosed type 2 diabetic.

Taking these and other simple actions can reduce your risk of turning pre-diabetes into type 2 diabetes.

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You’ve Been Diagnosed with Diabetes, Now What?

The doctor has given you your diagnosis and told you that you have Diabetes II. Now the choice is yours. Are you going to succumb to a life of finger pricks and insulin shots or are you going to get busy getting rid of diabetes? Sometimes people don’t know that you can reverse diabetes through exercise and by eating good meals for diabetics. It is certainly possible and many people have done it. Here are some tips to help you get started.

1)      First you should come up with some ideas for easy diabetic meals to help you stay on track. There are a few very helpful websites with recipes and suggestions for not only healthy food, but food that is actually edible too! It is very doable to eat in a nutritious way and still enjoy your food. Now you might not be at your favorite buffet every day, but by making a few adjustments and learning how to prepare foods to help your body recover, you will see great results.

2)      Exercise for the fun of it. For some people, exercise is definitely a chore. The thought of going to the gym is like telling them to join the Army and go through Boot Camp. That is ok. Exercise does not have to be a horrible daily event. Instead, find something that you like to do that doesn’t feel like work. Maybe something like hiking through the woods to go see a waterfall, or chasing your dog around your backyard could be activities you could do that wouldn’t feel like an aerobics class. There has to be something you would like to do that involves being physical. Dancing in your kitchen with your iPod turned all the way up definitely counts!

3)      Build muscles to burn more fat. A lot of people don’t realize the importance of adding muscle to help your body burn fat. Again, this does not have to mean a trip to the gym. It does mean that the next time you go to the grocery store to buy a giant bag of dog food that you are going to skip the cart and carry the bag all the way to your car! It also means you might lift bottles of water over your head the next time you are on the couch watching the Biggest Loser. When you start to look for opportunities to build muscle in your life, they will appear in simple ways.

Finally, the best way to not only manage your diabetes but to work to beat it is by staying in close contact with your physician. Follow the instructions for checking your blood sugar and maintaining your medications. Eat prepared diabetic meals to make life simpler. Let your doctor know that your intent is to reverse your diabetes with good nutrition and physical activity. They might be inspired to have a patient who isn’t just going to accept their fate as a diabetic for life.

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Eating a Diabetic Diet

Just because you’re a diabetic does not mean you have to give up great tasting, delicious food; or feel restricted by what you can put in your mouth. You can live with diabetes AND eat (mostly) what you want.

Be Balanced

The key to indulging every once in awhile – for everyone, though diabetics have to be a touch more careful, is to ensure you’re eating a healthy, balanced diet and making the right food choices. Portions are important, so make sure you’re eating appropriately sized meals. And of course, ensure you’re getting your fruits, non-starchy veggies (think carrots, broccoli, and spinach), whole grains (instead of processed grains), lean meats, and non-fat dairy products.

Watch your carbs

There’s three main types of carbohydrates – starches, sugars, and fiber. You can help keep your blood sugar levels in your target range by watching how many carbs you’re consuming. Any grains made from wheat flour (rice, pasta, bread), potatoes, peas, and corn are all examples of high in starch foods, and should be avoided when possible. Fiber, on the other hand, can be your BFF. It helps keep your digestive system in tip-top shape, and – surprise – you CAN still eat things like cereal, bread, and pasta – just look for whole grain cereals that are low in artificial and added sugars.

It’s okay to indulge

Yup, it’s true – as long as you’re generally a healthy, balanced eater it’s okay to have that small slice of chocolate cake on your birthday. And being diabetic doesn’t mean never eating chocolate or a cookie ever again – it simply means checking ingredients, and being aware of what you’re eating when. Look for treats with less than 10 carbs per serving – things like sugar free jello, no sugar added cookies, dark cocoa chocolate, and low carb ice creams (literally – some of them say this on the package!) can be great choices when you’re craving something sweet. And, if you’ve been day dreaming about a chocolate chip cookie all day – another trick is to “trade” that dessert for another high-carb food you had been planning on eating. Maybe skip the lunchtime chicken sandwich and have a salad instead (or one of our fab prepared diabetic meals!) to make room for that ooey, gooey, cookie.

And remember – as with anything in life, moderation (and in some cases, a lot of moderation) is key to being healthy and happy while still tantalizing your taste buds – yes, even for us diabetics.

Lauren- MagicKitchen.com Blogger

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Magic Customer

As a diabetic who lives alone in Albuquerque, New Mexico, Jim Furth knows firsthand the value of MagicKitchen.
com’s diabetic meals. “Shopping for all the “right” things is not something I look forward to doing each week, and
cooking for one is no fun,” he writes.
MagicKitchen.com has brought a bit of convenience back into Jim’s life, not to mention the fun back into his meal
time. Now, Jim chooses his favorite menus from the web site, using the glycemic index and nutritional statistics to
pick meals that are right for his dietary needs. Then, much to his delight, they arrive at his front door ready to warm
up and enjoy.
“When I choose Magic Kitchen, I’ve made the right choice. It’s like I could afford my own nutritionist, dietitian and
chef! Having the confidence that real pros have designed each meal that not only do the meals taste good but are
good for me. Besides, there is so much choice.” he writes. “I worked hard and got my health 100% in check and
then went into the hospital for hip replacement surgery.” While in the hospital recovering Jim ate a poor diet of
meals consisting of mashed potatoes, spaghetti, and white rice, even though these meals were part of the hospital’s
diabetic and non-salt meal program.

The doctors had to put Jim on insulin for the first time in his life.
Only when he was back home and eating his regular diet of carefully chosen MagicKitchen.com meals could Jim stop
using the insulin. This only confirmed his belief that the program fit his nutritional needs.

“The Diabetic Friendly meals helps one grasp what is necessary then, with the use of the MagicKitchen.com website, one can proceed to
choosing meals that are even more exciting and more restaurant quality and have MagicKitchen.com there to do all
the ‘messy’ work and drudgery,” he writes “I like the choice of having MagicKitchen.com, and I like choosing the way
I cook my meals either in the microwave or conventional oven. The hard parts

Ashley, MagicKitchen.com writer

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Diabetes Emergency Planning

All the natural disasters this past year have made us think – are we prepared? And many Americans have stocked up on drinking water, canned and dried food, first aid kits, and water purification tablets.

But do you have an emergency kit for your diabetes? Here are ten things you should have on hand for an emergency:

1.   All your medications- Keep a week’s worth of your medications in an emergency kit. Keep a calendar reminder to replace them before they expire.

2.   A Glucose testing kit– Everything you need to test your glucose for a week; testing meter, strips, a small log book, alcohol wipes, lancets and include a small plastic bottle to dispose of your lancets.

3.   Insulin– As insulin is sensitive to heat, the best idea is to keep it in a room-temperature area where you can quickly grab it and toss it into your emergency kit.

4.   Glucose tablets or gel– It’s always a good idea to have a quick and easy source of glucose in an emergency.

5.   Food– Read and make a copy of the DaVita.com article “Emergency preparedness for people with kidney disease.” This article includes a three-day emergency menu that may only need minor modifications depending on your blood sugars.

6.   Low sugar drinks– If your blood sugar is too high, avoid making it higher by drinking a sugar-free drink.

7.   Water–Important in any emergency kit, it is vital in this one. Remember to keep your water intake to 16 ounces a day. Chew sugar-free gum to help with thirst.

8.   Extra batteries– for flashlights and your glucometer.

9.   Hand Sanitizer– for cleaning up before testing

10.   Comfortable socks and shoes, and light gloves– Avoid injuries, and if you do get a wound, treat it at once and pad it well.

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Ten Typical Misconceptions About Diabetes

This week we have a guest blog from Dorothy Kato.

Below are 10 of the most popular beliefs and facts that you need to know.

Misconception 1: Overeating Sugar Causes Diabetes.

What makes diabetes happen? The reasons usually are not totally understood. What’s known is that simply overeating sugar is not likely to cause diabetes. Instead, diabetes begins when something disrupts your own body’s capacity to turn foods into energy.

To be aware of what goes on if you have diabetes, keep these things in your mind: The body stops working a lot of foods into glucose, a sort of sugar necessary to power your cells. A hormone called insulin is created inside pancreas. Insulin helps cells in your body use glucose for fuel.

Listed below are the commonest kinds of diabetes and what researchers know about:

* Type 1 diabetes happens when the pancreas cannot make insulin.
* Diabetes type 2 takes place when the pancreas doesn’t make enough insulin, the insulin can not work properly, or both.
* Gestational diabetes occurs in pregnancy in certain women.

Misconception 2: You will find A lot of Rules inside a Diabetes Diet.

For those who have diabetes, you will have to plan meals. However the general principal is easy: Following a “diabetes diet” means choosing food that may work together with your activities and any medications to help keep your blood sugar as near to normalcy as you can.

Misconception 3: Carbohydrates Can be harmful for Diabetes

Actually, carbohydrates are great for diabetes. They make up the foundation of a proper diabetes diet.

Carbohydrates possess the greatest influence on blood sugar, which is the reason you are required to observe the number of carbohydrates you consume when following a diabetes diet.

Misconception 4: Protein is superior to Carbohydrates for Diabetes.

The major problem is many foods abundant in protein, for instance meat, can also be filled up with fats. Overeating those fats increases your risk of cardiovascular disease. Inside a diabetes diet, protein should account for about 15% to 20% of the total calories you consume daily.

Misconception 5: You’ll be able to Adjust Your Diabetes Drugs to “Cover” Anything you Eat.

If you are using insulin for your diabetes, you could possibly learn to adjust the quantity and type you take to check the quantity of what you eat. But it doesn’t mean you can eat just as much as you would like, then just use more drugs to stabilize your blood glucose level.

Misconception 6: You will have to Stop trying Your preferred Foods.

There isn’t a reason to discontinue your selected foods on the diabetes diet.

Misconception 7: You must Quit Desserts when you have Diabetes.

Not the case! It is possible to develop many techniques for including desserts in the diabetes diet. For example:

* Use sugar substitutes in desserts.
* Minimize the quantity of dessert. As an example, as an alternative to two scoops of frozen treats, have one. Or share a dessert with a friend.

Misconception 8: Sugar substitutes Are Dangerous if you have Diabetes.

Low calorie sweeteners tend to be sweeter compared to the equivalent level of sugar, therefore it takes a reduced amount of them to obtain the same sweetness present in sugar. This will lead to eating fewer calories than when you use sugar.

Misconception 9: You should Eat Special Diabetic Meals.

The main difference from a diabetes diet along with your family’s “normal” weight loss program is this: When you have diabetes, you should monitor whatever you eat a little more closely. This consists of the quantity of calories you eat and the amounts and kinds of carbohydrates, fats, and protein you consume.

Misconception 10: Diet Foods Are the most useful Selections for Diabetes.

Just because a meal is called a “diet” food does not always mean it is just a better option for those who have diabetes. In reality, “diet” foods could be expensive and no healthier than foods found in the “regular” areas of the supermarket, or foods you prepare yourself.

And You? Still looking over this article? Move out and enjoy your diet plan!

The author: Dorothy Kato contributes articles for the menus for diabetics site, her personal hobby blog that shares ideas to help visitors to prevent/manage diabetes and help spread the comprehension on healthy eating.

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They’re Here!

I’ve been unable to blog about our new meals until they were created and available, but they’re finally here and on the menu!

Our chefs, our president and our CEO have all been working hard to create some low-sodium, super healthy complete meals. Unlike so many “hospital meals” on the market, they wanted these to feature gourmet ingredients and to be as good as our regular homestyle meals.

Here they are, and we’re all really excited about them. These meals are fine for diabetics and most heart patients, although we as always caution you to check with your nutritionist, nurse or doctor before changing your diet. They are all low in calories and fat as well, so perfect for a weight loss regimen.

The first package is great for people who are preparing for dialysis, as well as for those on dialysis, while the second is good for people on dialysis. This all has to do with potassium and phosphorus, and needn’t concern those of us who are thankfully healthy! The meals are available individually as well as in the packages.

7 Complete Meals – Pack #1

The meals are:

  • Chicken In Wine Sauce, Cauliflower Puree, Green Beans
  • Grilled Salmon with Cauliflower, Spinach
  • Braised Short Rib, Mashed & Green Beans
  • Baked Tilapia with Lemon Rice Pilaf, Peppers & Onions
  • Stuffed Peppers with Spanish Rice
  • Shrimp in Garlic Sauce over Vermicelli, Stir Fry Vegetables
  • Baked Tilapia a la Mushrooms, Cauliflower, Green Beans

grilled salmon
Grilled Salmon

7 Complete Meals – Pack #2

The meals are:

  • Chicken Marsala & Pasta Primavera
  • Braised Beef Brisket, Green Beans & Wild Rice
  • Chicken & Pasta with Red Pepper Sauce
  • London Broil & Vegetable Pilaf
  • Chile Colorado with Mexican Rice
  • Chicken Stir Fry with Rice & Asian Vegetables
  • Roasted Turkey with Cranberry Pilaf

Chicken Stir Fry
Chicken Stir-Fry

Hope you enjoy them!
Melody, MagicKitchen.com blogger

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10 Ways to Manage Type 2 Diabetes

Managing Type 2 diabetes is a lifelong commitment. A commitment to

good health, and to putting YOURSELF first. Here is a list of the top ten

things you can do to manage your type two diabetes.

1.  Weight Control. If you are overweight, work with your medical team

to create a diet of portion controlled meals, and lose weight slowly

over time, by eating properly. Even losing ten pounds can help to

decrease your heart disease risks by lowering blood pressure, insulin

resistance, and body fat.

2.  Exercise. Start slowly if necessary. Regular exercise improves your

body’s use of insulin, helps you to lose weight, improves blood

circulation and reduces stress. Within a short time your body and mind

will crave the regular exercise as part of your daily routine. Walk,

swim, take an aerobics or aqua-size class, or ride a bike. These are all

excellent types of exercise.

3.  Check your blood sugar regularly. This is critically important in

managing diabetes. If you don’t know your blood sugar, there is no

way to monitor your diet. The Mayo Clinic supplies an excellent article

called “Blood Sugar Testing- Where, when and how”.

4.  Eat at about the same time every day. Your blood sugar will stay more stable if you eat about the same amount of food with the same balance of nutrients at about the same times each day.

5.  Take the medications prescribed by your doctor. It is essential to blood glucose management that your medications are taken daily as instructed by your doctor.

6. Drink plenty of water. Water dilutes the blood and therefore has some degree of influence on lowering your blood sugars.

7.  Control Portion Sizes. Most restaurants offer portion sizes which are double or triple the serving size recommended by the USDA and doctors. For instance, one serving of chicken is 3 ounces, or about the size of a deck of cards. Recording your food intake in a diary is a great way of controlling what you eat.

8.  Take care of your teeth. Diabetes may leave you prone to gum infections. Follow a routine of dental hygiene that includes brushing your teeth at least twice a day, and flossing at least once. Keep your regular dental exam appointments.

9.  Quit Smoking. This has become easier over the years as medications are available to ease the process. It will not be easy, but will be one of the most important things you’ve ever done for your health.

10.  Stay positive. Diabetes is a serious disease, but it can be controlled. If you’re willing to do your part, you can enjoy an active, healthy life with type 2 diabetes. Talk to friends and family and keep a strong support group around you.

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