Summer has arrived in Michigan, which means that families everywhere are dusting off their grills and preparing for family get-togethers and backyard barbeques. Just remember, with all of those summer potlucks and family reunions coming up, it’s important to continue eating healthy. Making healthy food choices, even while on vacation or eating at a get-together, is a key step to staying healthy, feeling better and most importantly, managing and preventing diabetes. Diabetes is the leading cause of kidney failure, and by controlling it, more than 70% of kidney failure cases can be prevented or delayed. Here are some tips for you from the National Kidney Foundation of Michigan (NKFM) on how to eat healthy but still enjoy the many foods summer has to offer.
At a summer buffet, scan the table to see what’s available. Focus on eating vegetables and whole grains. Meat dishes can also be included, but should be limited to the size and thickness of a deck of cards. If you choose to eat meat, stick with lean meats such as poultry or fish instead of high fat meats, like barbequed ribs. Choose grilled chicken (remove the skin) instead of something fried.
Look for high-fiber foods, such as dried beans and peas, lentils, and dark green vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, spinach, and kale. Dishes with green beans, three- beans, black beans, and black-eyed peas are always good choices, as are whole grain foods such as brown rice, couscous, and whole wheat bread and pasta. Since salads, potato salads, and pasta salads are popular in the summer, you’ll usually have more than one option!
Watch out for fatty foods! Limit dishes with a lot of mayonnaise, sour cream, and butter. Choose veggies that are light on dressing and cheese by using your own dressing made with a little olive oil and vinegar. If you make a sandwich, use whole wheat bread with mustard or salsa instead of mayonnaise.
Try to drink water, unsweetened tea, or diet soda with your meal. If you choose to drink alcoholic beverages, limit yourself to no more than one drink (for women) or two drinks (for men) a day.
Have fruit for dessert! This is a great opportunity to get in some of your daily fruit intake. Everyone—including people with diabetes—needs three to four servings of fruit a day. Let’s face it; what is summer without delicious watermelon or strawberries? An occasional small slice of pie or cookie is ok if you can work it into your meal plan.
Summer is a time to enjoy family, friends, and life. It’s also a great time to refocus on feeling better, eating healthy foods, and controlling your diabetes. For more information on managing and preventing diabetes, or on kidney disease and kidney failure, call the NKFM at 800-482-1455 or visit our Diabetes Information page!