Diabetes and Chronic Illness - Fresh Tips on Food Safety
Living well with a chronic health issue like diabetes is challenging. Prevention is key – enjoying foods that support good blood sugar control and following medication directions enhance long-term health and quality of life. To maximize the benefits of better food choices, be sure good food safety practices are on the menu.
The immune system protects health best when your body is well-nourished. Following food safety and nutrition care guidance should support good diabetes management and healthy immune systems. Diabetes may impact immune function by weakening immune system response, and slowing down digestion, allowing bacteria on food to multiply. Once infection has begun, it can be very difficult to treat. Adults 65 and older with diabetes can be especially vulnerable. Check out the tips and tools you can use to ensure you and your family can navigate successfully prevent food safety concerns.
Know Foodborne Illness Symptoms and Get Medical Care Quickly
Foodborne Illness Symptoms can worsen diabetes/all chronic illness symptoms, including elevating blood sugar and risk of dehydration. If you suspect foodborne illness, call your healthcare provider, or seek emergency care immediately.
- Many shoppers use recycled bags for packing groceries. Be sure to wipe these out or wash them each time you unpack them, with antibacterial wipes or spray and clean paper towels.
- Meat, seafood and fresh produce should be bagged before placing in a cart or shopping bag, so they don’t become cross-contaminated. If your grocery store limits plastic bags, bring your own clean bags to place foods in – clear bags allow for scanning prices and safe handling.
- Purchase pasteurized eggs and dairy products and use best-by and sell-by dates to ensure food purchases are fresh.
- Read labels to be sure foods will meet your needs for enjoyment and diabetes management.
Smart Storage and Prep
- Go directly home – if travel time is extended, use insulated bags and/or coolers to maintain food temperatures.
As soon as possible after shopping or grocery delivery, get chilled and frozen foods put away safely.
Cool tools available in the grocery store to keep food safe:
- Clean shopping bags, reusable ice packs, insulated shopping bags, and coolers.
- Appliance thermometer for the refrigerator – store food at 40 degrees F or lower.
- Cooking thermometer – find temperature charts to ensure foods are cooked to safe serving temps.
- Easy-clean plastic cutting boards (some are color-coded for meat, seafood, produce). Use clean knives and utensils while preparing foods, and do not reuse utensils, bowls or plates that have had raw food contact.
- Hot, soapy water, bleach and antibacterial wipes assist with cleaning cutting boards, utensils, and shopping bags.
- Moisturizing hand soap – keeping hands clean and skin in good condition are both important to diabetes management. BONUS – Good handwashing reduces risk of of flu, pneumonia, COVID-19, and other high-risk infections for those with chronic health conditions.
- Store raw and cooked foods safely in regularly cleaned designated refrigerator sections. If any items are damaged or have any indication of spoilage, don’t hesitate to discard. Follow the food safety mantra of “When in doubt, throw it out!”
Stay up to date on food safety issues by checking the webpage, and downloading the food safety app. Find more resources there and at the Partnership for Food Safety website.
Diabetes - Shopping Well On A Budget
Everyone is on a budget, which impacts most purchases, including the food we buy. For those managing diabetes, smart food choices are recognized as key to overall wellness. Balancing the budget and balancing health is possible, with a few insights and a little planning.
Planning is the first hurdle – everyone is so busy; we find it easy to ignore the concept. However, most of us plan “accidentally” – we have a set routine for meals/foods we eat throughout the week, as well as typical items we buy or prepare for lunch, dinner and snacks. It changes seasonally – salads in summer, with meat on the grill, soup in the fall and winter, as well as air fryer/Instant Pot or slow cooker meals. The first step to planning is just putting your “usuals’ down on paper, with dollar amounts you usually spend (or the budget amount you are trying to stick to!) Then, determine if there are a few tweaks you can make to put better-for-you in the basket on your budget.
It may be tough to find a good starting place. If you have diabetes, or are at risk, personalized nutrition care from a Registered Dietitian-Nutritionist (RDN) is the gold standard. If you haven’t seen a dietitian in the last year, consider getting a referral from your healthcare provider. Your health needs change over time, along with research and food items available, medications – make it personal “policy” to meet with the RDN at least once per year. Check your grocery store for nutrition information and resources – like the Know Your Colors nutrition guides at Price Chopper/Market 32, and the Diabetes AdvantEdge program Diabetes AdvantEdge program at the store pharmacies. Food and medications are increasingly important to health and care, and you may be pleasantly surprised by the resources your grocery store offers.
Tips and Hacks
Hate to cook on Monday? A Price Chopper Rotisserie Chicken could be a problem-solver. Serve with a scoop of frozen broccoli microwaved with a small potato – done, healthy, fast, and cheap. Both the frozen broccoli (as well as any other frozen vegetable or fruit) and the potato are smart/budget-buster choices for eating well.
Breakfast is essential to blood sugar management. Eggs are an inexpensive source of good protein, and easy to mix up with leftover/frozen vegetables for an omelet. Like toast with that? Check the shelf tag or online for Carb Smart choices and read labels to be sure they meet your needs. Carb Smart, Low Sodium, Heart Smart and more tags can be found on the shelf and online – you can plan your smart shopping in a snap. Enjoy eating well when you shop at Price Chopper and Market 32!
Shop Carb Smart!
Activate Wellness: November is National Diabetes Month
Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN Senior NutritionistDiabetes is a rising concern for many – almost 10% of Americans have diabetes, and another 30% are at risk. The good news is, eating well to prevent or manage diabetes is the same for everyone. Some quick tips:
- Make half your plate veggies and fruit for most meals, and you have taken a giant step in the right direction. Fresh, frozen and canned fruits and veggies can all be part of your solution.
- Watch quantities on starchy foods – a small serving of potatoes is fine, whole grain sides like rice and quinoa in smaller servings, and whole grain breads are all okay.
- Lean proteins in moderate portions, including seafood twice per week, dairy, beans and legumes, lean chicken, pork or beef – all fit.
- Good fats, like olive oil, avocados and olives, are important to ensuring food tastes good and enhances absorption of key nutrients.
- Even dessert – small servings, or low/no calorie treats, are a good way to make delicious and carb-conscious choices.
- Milk or water round out your meals and snacks, and offer vital nutrients and hydration.
- Our Pharmacy team is also a wonderful resource and has a free medication and supplies program. https://www.pricechopper.com/pharmacy#/
Sweet Success – National Diabetes Month
Ellie Wilson, MS, RDN, CDN Senior Nutritionist
When I was seeing patients with diabetes, one of their biggest frustrations was finding a low calorie sweetener that would taste good, be convenient and meaningfully help them manage sugar intake. The products available then had no calories, but they also did not have a good taste, and were hard to use regularly.
Time has passed, and sweeteners have come a long way. Splenda® Naturals Stevia Sweetener has found the best way to bring flavor out and calories down. The sweet stevia leaf, long used in South America, is processed by drying the leaves and soaking them in water to tease out and capture their sweet elements – natural steviol glycoside compounds such as: Reb A and Reb D. The different steviol glycosides have different taste profiles. Reb D content in Splenda® Naturals is important, as that has none of the bitter notes that some alternate stevia sweeteners have. Splenda® Naturals is great in recipes and as the sweetener for coffee and tea. The packets make it easy to carry with you, especially as you make your way through the fun events and shopping the holiday season brings upon us.
How to enjoy it? This great recipe for Beef Satay with Peanut Sauce will wow your guests and help keep calories and carbs in check, and this AdvantEdge card e-coupon keeps you on budget – win-win!It’s that time of year again, November is National Diabetes Month, a great time to think of diabetes and its impact on our healthcare system. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), there were 29.1 million people diagnosed with diabetes in the United States in 2012 or 9.3% of the population. In 2010, the number of diagnosed was 25.1 million people, representing 8.3% of the population. Over 8.1 million people are considered to be undiagnosed diabetics and 1.7 million new cases every year were being identified in 2012. Given these staggering statistics, diabetes has been the 7th leading cause of death since 2010. Research in March 2013 shows that $245 billion was the total cost of diabetes in 2012, compared with $174 million in 2010. It’s no surprise that a disease such as diabetes would have a huge impact on our healthcare system. People that have diabetes or want to prevent diabetes can turn to Price Chopper Pharmacy to help. Medication adherence plays an important role in preventing long term complications from diabetes such as kidney damage, vision loss, and/or heart problems. One of the barriers involves cost of the medications. Though many oral diabetic medications are now generic, the copays can vary depending on your insurance plan and type of prescription coverage. Certain Medicare Part D beneficiaries enter what is known as the coverage gap, or commonly referred to as the “donut hole.” When patients enter this coverage gap, they have to may have to pay up to 50% of the cost of the medication until they reach another spending limit where coverage begins again. For these patients who have high copays, deductibles, are in the coverage gap, or living on a limited income, affording medications can be difficult. Fortunately, Price Chopper has a great Diabetes AdvantEdge program that can help. The Diabetes AdvantEdge program offers great assistance to help patients with diabetes receive the best care to promote their health. With the RxAdvantEdge card and a prescription, you can also receive, glimepride, glipizide, glipizide XL, glyburide, metformin, and metformin ER are all available in select strengths at no cost. Free diabetic supplies include our Price Chopper diabetic lancets (100 lancets), insulin syringes, pen needles, Autolet lancing device, and GE Glucose Monitoring system for free! The test strips for the meter can be bought at a low price of $14.99 for a 50-count bottle. To participate in the Diabetes Program, all you need to do is sign up at any local pharmacy! Stop by your local Price Chopper Pharmacy today to enroll in the program or receive more information! References Costs in the Coverage Gap. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. [Internet]. Available at: http://www.medicare.gov/part-d/costs/coverage-gap/part-d-coverage-gap.html. Updated October 10, 2014. Accessed October 21, 2014. Statistics about Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. [Internet]. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/diabetes-basics/statistics/?loc=db-slabnav. Updated June 10, 2014. Accessed October 21, 2014. The Cost of Diabetes. American Diabetes Association. [Internet]. Available at: http://www.diabetes.org/advocacy/news-events/cost-of-diabetes.html. Updated April 18, 2014. Accessed October 21, 2014