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!
Cooking Up Well-Being in the New Year
Can the challenging times of the last year help us approach the benefits of food and medicine differently in the new year? The answer is a resounding YES! The New Year is time for a fresh start when it comes to health, so let’s look at some ways we can move towards that goal from wherever you are starting from.
The Price Chopper/Market 32 website can help you find resources, food items and information – the ‘ingredients” you need to create a more healthful lifestyle. Cuddled up on the couch on a cold January day? One of those couch sessions is a great time to take a digital tour and activate wellness efforts with personalized food shopping and medication management.
On the website, the toolbar at the top offers shortcuts to functions that can help you shop quickly and confidently. The first link is to the Shops Online dashboard, where you can create shopping lists, order online and make choices using the Know Your Colors nutrition guides. These color-coded guides include lifestyle choices such as Gluten Free, Organic, and more. You can learn all about the Know Your Colors program on the Pharmacy Health and Wellness page. The criteria that define the nutrition guides are all based on federal and recognized non-profit Health Association standards that support general nutrition lifestyle goals. The color-coded guides are visible on shelf tags that make in-store shopping quick and easy.
More resources at Price Chopper/Market 32 include the cutting-edge programs, easy-to-use pharmacy app, blood pressure kiosk and more you can find at the Price Chopper/Market 32 Pharmacy. Our Pharmacy teams work hard to ensure patients have the medication they need to stay well. The pharmacy app has many features, including a list for re-ordering, and reminder alerts to ensure meds are not missed. You can also sign up for text notifications to stay connected with pharmacy alerts. Food and medicine together can be a dynamic duo when managing chronic health issues – making it easier to do both is part of our commitment to you.
Make a Great Plate
The updated Dietary Guidelines for Americans were released last week. No surprise, fruits and vegetables lead the recommendations. Including good sources for protein, nutritious dairy, and reducing sugars are all part of the guidance. The Know Your Colors nutrition guides, also based on those guidelines, can help you activate those recommendations as you make food choices throughout the store. Start off with easy changes, such as doubling up favorite veggie servings, enjoying milk with meals, and choosing Low Sodium versions of the foods you usually buy. Each of the Know Your Colors guides can help you explore products that may support your personal health goals throughout the store.
There are so many benefits from all kinds of movement. Check out this Think Lifestyle, Not Resolution blog from professional trainer Antoni Favata for some ideas that will help you frame how to think about reaching for your wellness targets in the New Year.
Happy, Healthy New Year from all of us at Price Chopper/Market 32!