National Diabetes Awareness Month

National Diabetes Awareness Month
by Kayla Hébert, RD (candidate)
Sobeys Registered Dietitian

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The Healthy Plate

November is National Diabetes Awareness month and to highlight this, I thought it would be great to discuss some of the signs and symptoms as well as ways to stay on track during the holiday season.

When we think diabetes, we think finger pricks and counting carbohydrates. Diabetes is when your body is unable to properly use and store sugar for energy. Instead, sugars build up in the blood. Prolonged exposure to high blood glucose (sugar) levels can lead to problems with the heart, blood vessels, nerves, eyes and kidneys.

According to the Canadian Diabetes Association, there are more than 20 people being diagnosed with diabetes every hour of every day. Chances are that diabetes affects you or someone you know.

Signs and symptoms of diabetes can include:

  • Being more thirsty than usual
  • Frequent need to urinate
  • Weight change (gain or loss)
  • Extreme fatigue or lack of energy
  • Blurred vision
  • Frequent infections
  • Cuts and bruises that are slow to heal
  • Tingling or numbness in the hands or feet
  • Trouble getting or keeping an erection

The holiday season is fast approaching and it should be a time to celebrate with family and friends. Whether you have diabetes, or someone in your family does, don’t let diabetes get in the way of your holiday cheer. Almost any food can fit in a diabetes meal plan as long as portion size is considered and meals are balanced. The healthy plate shows us what a balanced meal should look like.

The healthy plate is important for everyone, not just for those with diabetes. It will help you stay full, have sustained energy, control your weight and blood sugars. Fill half your plate with vegetables, one quarter of your plate with protein and one quarter of your plate with grains.

Staying on Track

  • Lead by example. Bring a salad or a vegetable side dish to your next gathering. This way you can be sure you’ll have a half plate full of vegetables.
  • Have quick protein sources nearby when you are in the holiday rush. Try cheese, peanut butter, boiled egg, hummus, nuts or seeds.
  • At parties, place food on your plate and sit down to eat instead of grazing. This will allow you to visually balance your plate so you are more aware of portions. Small bites can add up.
  • Take a look at the food on the whole table before you take anything. Carefully decide which foods will best fit on the healthy plate.
  • Treat yourself to small portions of your holiday favourites from time to time.

For more information on diabetes or any other free classes Kayla offers at Sobeys, please call 778-0163 or email kayla.hebert@sobeys.com. Don’t forget to like Sobeys Dietitians on Facebook for great recipes and nutrition tips!

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