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Healthy Eating

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Please tune in with Michele Bernreuter, a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at Hurley Diabetes Center in Flint, MI - to learn more about healthy eating options.


0:00 Ilene Cantor

This Think Healthy, Think Hurley interview was brought to you by Hurley Medical Center, the region's premier public teaching hospital in Flint Michigan. This Blog TalkRadio is another way Hurley is educating the greater Genesee County Community about health and wellness. For more than a century, Hurley has been providing the most comprehensive clinical and compassionate care for patients and their families. I am your host Ilene Cantor and today's topic is Healthy Holiday Eating. Joining us now is Michele Bernreuter, a Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at Hurley Diabetes Center in Flint. Thank you for joining us Michele.

0:40 Michele Bernreuter

Thank you.

0:41 Ilene Cantor

What is the most common mistake would you say people make during the holiday season?

0:47 Michele Bernreuter

Well, I think the most common thing is we all try and do too much. We are busy with shopping and extra workload, parties, family events and that all leads to increase stress and then we neglect our exercise routine on top of that just because we are so busy and then when you combine it with all the occasions to eat and drink that all leads to weight gain.

1:14 Ilene Cantor

So, how would you handle the holidays with diabetes? I know that at the Diabetes Center I am sure you get that question a lot for people that are going to parties, hosting for friends and family. How would you handle the holidays with diabetes, your advice.

1:29 Michele Bernreuter

Well, what I tell people is diabetes is the same that I tell everybody else. You know you really have to just take some time out for yourself. Don't forget your exercise routine, but for people with diabetes, it is especially important to remember their meal plan. How many carb choices you have per meal and try and stick close to that. So if you have 4 carb choices, you maybe you don't want to spend all of your choices on bread and mash potatoes that you can get at any time. Use your carb choices for special occasion treats. You know like a small piece of pie or you know a special food that you do not often get. Another thing is when you're at the buffets, you know survey your choices and so you don't get to the half way through when your plate is full.

2:21 Ilene Cantor

What would you say Michele on some common healthy holiday eating and cooking tips or substitutions that folks might not be aware off?

2:31 Michele Bernreuter

Well, I think some easy ones are just to take your tried and true recipes and just use a little bit less fat. You know if that calls for a stick of margarine or butter, try it with you know 3 quarters of a stick of margarine and you really cannot tell the difference. If your casserole or recipe calls for a whole package of shredded cheese, try and use a little bit less cheese or less nuts. Those foods are both very high in fat, so if you cut back on that you have reduced your calories quite a bit. For dips and things, you could use a low fat sour cream or low fat cream cheese. You don't have to get the fat-free. That often has actually more calories in it, even though there is less fats. If you're baking cookies, use the mini chocolate chips and you can use half a package instead of a whole package and then also monitor your alcohol intake. That has a lot of calories in it too.

3:30 Ilene Cantor

What about eating a small healthy meal before you go to a party or I have known that some people say that they drink a glass or two of water to try and fill up before they go to a party or have -- or just keep their eye on the healthy part of the smorgasbord like the vegetables without the dip that type of thing, what do you think about that?

3:49 Michele Bernreuter

Right. It's a good idea to have not a healthy -- a meal, but maybe just a snack something to take the edge off, so you don't go to a party starving and immediately start overeating. So, have a little something before you go, vegetables the idea of a glass of water is good too because a lot of times you may feel like you are hungry, but really your thirsty. So, if you can have a nice glass of water first that will take the edge off as well, but again survey the buffet and see what is there. So before you fill your plate, look it over. Fill your plate once and then step back from the buffet. Move to the opposite side of the room, so you are not tempted to go back for seconds.

4:33 Ilene Cantor

How important is portion size during the holidays and of course beyond?

4:39 Michele Bernreuter

That is a key, because if you don't measure the portions. If you don't pay attention to that, you are probably eating so much more than what you have realized. So, be familiar with what a portion size is at home, measure things out. You know what a half a cup looks like. A half a cup is like a handful or a cup would be about the size of your fist. You know a portion of pie might be a 2-inch liver maybe, one cookie. You know, portion of meat is about the size of a deck of cards, so if you can kind a visualized all that stuff and measure at home so you know what it looks like. When you go out, you are much better able to distinguish if that is a healthy amount.

5:28 Ilene Cantor

I know that it's so vital these days whether you have family history or not to know your sugar levels. I know that we have a women's van tour who does that they just for you October 22, 10 to 2 p.m. at Riverfront Banquet Center in Downtown, Flint and there will be speakers discussing breast cancer and we are gonna also have on that day free screenings, free blood glucose screening and blood pressure screening, fitness center demonstrations. How vital is it to know your sugar levels?

5:59 Michele Bernreuter

It is really important. If you have a yearly physical, when your doctor does your blood work, a fasting blood sugar is part of that routine, but we can also do a random blood sugar is what we will be doing at the event. So, it does not matter if your fasting or not and we can check it then.

6:20 Ilene Cantor

And how important a bottom line and final question is weight maintenance during the holidays and of course, you know, the holidays are over and we all know about the New Year's Resolution, the number one want being of course weight loss, but what do you tell people that say, "well you know I am going to try to lose a pound or two during the holidays." What do you tell people?

6:39 Michele Bernreuter

I tell them what's - let's be realistic and I think the first goal should be to maintain weight. Don't try and set yourself up for failure, just try and maintain weights and you know, if you're really good with your exercise routine, you know maybe you will lose a pound or two, but goal should be to maintain your weight and then after the holidays are over, you know get back on track really watch your portion size, your activity level and you know, make those New Year's Resolutions and those can go all year round.

7:14 Ilene Cantor

Well, I appreciate your time. Thank you so much. Michele Bernreuter, Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator at Hurley Diabetes Center in Flint Michigan. Thank you Michele.

7:24 Michele Bernreuter

Thank you Ilene.

7:27 Ilene Cantor

This Think Healthy, Think Hurley interview was brought to you by Hurley Medical Center. If you would like to find a Hurley Physician, call 888-611-4HMC.