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Tips for Eating Well at Your Summer Family Reunion


As more and more people learn they have diabetes, the mindset is gradually changing about food at big gatherings. It used to be more like, "Hey, you only live once. Have a third helping of that mayonnaisy potato salad. Go ahead, eat your third hot dog. More cookies? Why not?"

Things have changed, and more people are paying attention to what they eat. They're learning that what you eat matters every day-especially when you have diabetes or other health conditions. At almost every kind of party these days, there are people who want healthy options.

A good goal is to have plenty of fiber-rich food available. Studies have shown that many people with diabetes can significantly lower their blood sugar by eating large amounts of fruits, vegetables and high-fiber grain. And a high-fiber diet can also improve cholesterol levels.

Here are some healthy ideas for your next family reunion:

Add fresh summer vegetables to salads. 1 cup of spinach has 4 grams of fiber (have it in salads instead of lettuce, and add it to sandwiches of whole grain bread), ½ cup of Brussels sprouts has 3.4, 1 ear of corn on the cob has 2.9, ½ cup of peas has 2, 1 carrot has about 2.3, ½ cup of broccoli has 2.

Make vegetable sandwiches. Grated carrots, sliced cucumber and tomato, a bit of onion and spinach slices-that's going to be a lot better for you than an overstuffed chicken or tuna salad sandwich loaded with mayonnaise.

Add fiber-rich foods to the grill. If you're going to be grilling, keep meat portions on the small side-about the size of a deck of cards. If you're having burgers, be sure to use whole wheat rolls. You could even try veggie burgers. They're lower in fat and higher in fiber than meat. Add tomatoes and raw spinach to the burgers. Put cobs of corn on the grill too. Make veggies on the side by spearing broccoli, Brussels sprouts, carrot slices, green or red peppers and any other of your favorite vegetables.

Add beans to salads. Kidney beans, chickpeas, white beans, black eyed peas-these are fiber sources that are good salad additions.

Serve real fruits instead of fruit juices. On a hot summer day, it's tempting to drink cold juice, but it's the actual fruit that has the fiber you need.

Take berries for dessert. ½ cup of blackberries has 7.2 grams of fiber; 1 cup of strawberries has 4 grams and 1 cup of raspberries has 6 grams.

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