Clean – Separate – Cook – Chill: Basic Food Safety Steps

December 10, 2014

by Alison Brinker, RD, LD

The holidays are a great time to review food safety guidelines. A person with diabetes is at higher risk for foodborne illnesses. With diabetes, your immune system may not readily recognize harmful bacteria or other pathogens. This delay in the body’s natural response to foreign invasion places a person with diabetes at increased risk for infection. If a person with diabetes contracts a foodborne illness they are more likely to have a lengthier illness and require hospitalization compared to a person without diabetes. During the holidays many people are preparing food for friends and family. Making sure it is prepared safely is a must to prevent anyone from getting a foodborne illness.ID-10026109

Four basic steps to food safety:

  • Clean
  • Separate
  • Cook
  • Chill

Clean: Wash hands and surfaces often. Bacteria can spread throughout the kitchen and get onto cutting boards, utensils, counter tops, and food. Wash hands in warm soapy water for at least 20 seconds before and after handling food and after using the bathroom, changing diapers or handling pets. Wash cutting boards, dishes, utensils, and counter tops with hot soapy water between the preparation of raw meat, poultry, and seafood products and preparation of any other food that will not be cooked. You can also sanitize cutting boards and counter tops by rinsing them in a solution made of one tablespoon of unscented liquid chlorine bleach per gallon of water. Plastic cutting boards may be run through the wash cycle in your automatic dishwasher. Wash produce by rinsing under warm tap water, including those with skins and rinds that are not eaten. Clean the lids of canned goods too before opening.

Separate: Don’t cross-contaminate. Cross-contamination occurs when bacteria are spread from one food product to another such as with raw meat, poultry, seafood, and eggs. Always keep these foods and their juices away from ready-to-eat foods such as salad. Never place cooked food on a plate that previously held raw meat without first washing the plate with hot soapy water. Don’t use marinades used on raw foods unless you bring them to a boil first. Consider having two cutting boards; one designated for raw meat, poultry and seafood and the other for ready to eat foods such as bread, fruits, raw vegetables and cooked meat.

Cook: Cook all meats to the recommended temperature. Use a food thermometer to measure the internal temperature in several places to make sure that the meat, poultry, seafood or egg product is cooked to the correct temperature to prevent foodborne illness.

Looking for Something to do with those Turkey Leftovers?

November 28, 2014

Thanksgiving Leftovers

by Alison Brinker, RD, LD

What to do, what to do with all that leftover turkey? Below is a great recipe for using the turkey you just couldn’t finish on Thanksgiving Day. This will make a great lunch or light dinner. The avocado provides a good source of healthy, unsaturated fat, after a holiday that is usually full of unhealthy saturated fat from butter, gravy and cream sauces.

Turkey and Avocado Wraps

Serving size: 1 wrap, recipe makes 4 servings

½ avocado

3 tablespoons plain, fat free yogurt

¼ teaspoon chili powder

2 cups chopped lettuce

2 small tomatoes, finely diced

2 tablespoons fat-free Italian dressing

4 10-inch whole grain flour tortillas

12 ounces sliced, leftover turkey

1 cucumber, thinly sliced

  1. In a small bowl, mash the avocado with a fork. Add yogurt and chili powder to avocado and mix well.
  2. In a medium bowl, toss lettuce and tomato with Italian dressing.
  3. Spread 1-1/2 tablespoons of avocado mixture on one tortilla. Add 3 ounces of turkey, ¼ of the lettuce and tomato mixture, and ¼ of the sliced cucumber.
  4. Create a wrap by folding in the left and right side of the tortilla until the edges are about 1 inch apart and then roll from the top down. Repeat this process for remaining 3 tortillas.

Nutrition Information:

Total carbohydrate, 45 grams, 3 ounces meat, 2 fat choices

Source: Healthy Calendar Diabetic Cooking, a full year of delicious menus and easy recipes



Happy Healthy Thanksgiving!

November 19, 2014

by Alison Brinker, RD, LD

Thanksgiving is all about being with loved ones and of course EATING!

Remember the plate method of portion control when building your Thanksgiving plate.   Make ½ your plate non-starchy vegetables such as carrots, green beans, Brussels sprouts or broccoli. Make a ¼ of your plate starch, such as sweet potatoes, rice or stuffing. If more than one is available take a little of each to help keep your blood glucose from going too high. The other ¼ of your plate should be lean turkey. White meat is lower in fat making it a healthier choice. Always remove the skin from poultry to help cut fat intake as well. Add a small amount of gravy, or an even better choice could be a small amount of a fruit based relish. Now you have a plate that will help keep your glucose in target range.

Be sure to take a look at all the foods available before making your selections. This way you will use your carb choices wisely and for the foods you know you will enjoy the most.

Eat slowly and enjoy your food. When we eat too fast sometimes we will take a second helping before our brain has time to tell us we are full.

Choose calorie-free drinks such as water, tea, or diet soda. Save your carbohydrates for the foods you enjoy.

Have dessert! Take a small portion and eat slowly to enjoy the taste.

Don’t skip meals earlier in the day. Skipping meals may cause you to feel so hungry that you make poor choices or over eat. When carb counting, saving carbs is not recommended. It is still important to keep carb intake consistent throughout the day to keep blood glucose in target range.

Exercise is a great way to help lower blood glucose. Encourage family and friends to join you on a walk after your meal to help lower glucose levels. Exercising a few days before and after Thanksgiving will also help manage those extra calories eaten during the holiday.

Holidays are definitely a challenge! If you eat too much on Thanksgiving don’t beat yourself up. Make a plan to get back on track!

For more tips on Surviving the Holidays, join the Diabetes Education staff on Thursday, November 20th at 1:00 p.m. in the Conference Room at the Hyland Education & Training Center.  This support program is free and open to the public.  For more information visit:

Veterans Day

November 10, 2014

by Susan Klick, MSN, RN, CNL

Veterans Day honors the duty, sacrifice, Veterans Day and service of America’s nearly 25 million veterans.   It is a celebration to honor America’s veterans for their patriotism,  love of country, and willingness to serve and sacrifice for the common good.

A brief history lesson:   In 1919, President Wilson proclaimed November 11 as the first commemoration of Armistice Day.  Although World War I officially ended when the Treaty of Versailles was signed, the fighting had actually stopped seven months earlier when an armistice, or temporary cessation of hostilities, between the Allied nations and Germany went into effect on the eleventh hour of the eleventh day of the eleventh month – November 11, 1918.  An Act (52 Stat. 351; 5 U.S. Code, Sec. 87a) approved in May, 1938 made the 11th of November a legal holiday to be dedicated to the cause of world peace.  This act was later amended and on June 1, 1954, November 11th became Veterans Day, a day to honor American veterans.

Here are a few of the many activities going on in our area honoring Veterans.  Get out and say thank you to our Veterans!  It doesn’t have to be Veterans Day to say thank you to the brave men and women who have fought and who are fighting for our country.  But on November 11th, each and every one of us need to make a special effort to do so.

Saint Louis Science Center Salutes Military Veterans

Date:  Tue, 11/11/2014                           Time:  9:30am – 1:00pm

On Nov 11, the Saint Louis Science will honor all who have served in the US Armed Forces with a patriotic display of US flags, World War II soldier re-enactors, military vehicles and a special tribute. All Veterans get FREE admission to D-Day film.


National Park Service Fee Free DayDate:  Tue, 11/11/2014  Time:  9:00am – 6:00pm                  Location:  The Gateway Arch

The National Park Service honors America’s veterans with free entrance to all parks for all visitors on special days throughout the year. This fee is included in the Arch tram and movie tickets, so enjoy a $3 discount on these dates!

Activity:National Park Service Fee Free Day


Visit Jefferson Barracks Park

Jefferson Barracks Park is approximately 425 acres. Jefferson Barracks served as a gathering point for troops and supplies bound for service in the Mexican War, Civil War, various Indian conflicts, Spanish-American War, Philippine War, and World Wars I and II. Jefferson Barracks also served as the first Army Air Corps basic training site. Robert E. Lee, Jefferson Davis, Zachary Taylor, Ulysses S. Grant, Philip Sheridan, Stephen W. Kearny and William T. Sherman were a few of the famous Americans to serve at Jefferson Barracks.



U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs


How Much Candy is bought for Halloween?

October 27, 2014

Halloween 3

by Darla Martin, RD, LD, CDE
Have a guess for how much candy is bought for Halloween. A whopping 6 million pounds. This is equivalent in weight to 6 Titanic ships. That is a lot of calories, carbohydrate and fat!!

We cannot take the candy out of Halloween. Candy is everywhere during Halloween. It is stacked for weeks in ceiling-high piles at the supermarket. It is pooled in giant bowls on people’s desks at work. On Halloween night, homeowners everywhere load it by the handful into trick-or-treaters’ baskets. And even after the big night itself, it is sold in discount bins throughout the stores.

Planning is the key. Count the carbohydrates you are consuming when eating the treat and make it a part of your meal plan. If taking insulin, apply the appropriate insulin to carb ratio.

Ideas of what to do with extra candy after the tricker treaters are gone. Donate candy to community groups or send it to troops serving overseas. Use it to treat a low blood glucose reaction (be careful not to use candy with a lot of fat, such as chocolate candy or chocolate bars). See below for carbohydrate count of popular candies.

Halloween 1   Carbohydrate Count of Halloween Candy  

Candy Size/Package Carbohydrate (g)
Air Head 1 bar 14g
Almond Joy 1 snack size 10g
Baby Ruth 1 fun size 12g
Bit-O-Honey 3 pieces 16g
Blow Pop Sucker 1 sucker 17g
Bubble Yum 1 6g
Butterfinger 1 fun size 18g
Candy Corn 12 pieces 15g
Dots 1 small box (7 pieces) 20g
Dum Dum Sucker 1 sucker 5g
Gobstopper 9 pieces 14g
Gummy Bears 8 pieces 15g
Hershey’s Bar 3 miniatures 15g
Hershey’s Almond Bar 3 miniatures 15g
Hershey’s Kisses 6 pieces 16g
Jolly Rancher 1 piece 6g
Kit Kat Bar 1 snack size 9g
Twizzlers Licorice 4 pieces 18g
M&Ms (Plain) 1 fun size 11g
M&Ms (Peanut) 1 fun size 11g
Mike & Ikes 1 small box 20g
Milky Way 1 fun size 12g
Nerds 1 small box 14g
Nestle Crunch 1 fun size 8g
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups 3 miniatures 15g
Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups 1 regular cup 12g
Shockers 9 pieces 13g
Skittles 1 mini bag 13g
Smarties 1 roll 6g
Snickers 1 fun size 10g
Starburst 4 pieces 12g
Sweet Tarts 8 pieces 13g
3 Musketeers 1 fun size 11g
Tootsie Pop 1 sucker 15g
Tootsie Roll 3 small pieces 14g
Twix 1 fun size 13g
Whoppers 9 pieces 15g




Protect Yourself from Influenza (The Flu)

October 15, 2014

by Susan Klick, MSN, RN, CNL Diabetes Educator

If you have diabetes, you are three times more likely to be hospitalized from the flu and its complications such as pneumonia, than other people. The flu may also interfere with your blood glucose levels.

But there are steps you can take to protect yourself.

  • Get a flu shot! It’s the single best way to protect yourself against the flu.            
  • Take prescription flu medicine when your health care provider prescribes it.
  • Follow sick day rules for people with diabetes.
  • Take everyday steps to protect your health.

People with diabetes should talk with their health care provider now to discuss preventing and treating the flu. People infected with the flu can pass it on to others a day or two before any symptoms appear. That’s why it is important to make sure the people around you get a flu shot as well.

A flu shot is the single best way to protect yourself against the flu.

The vaccine is safe and effective. It has been given safely to hundreds of millions of people.  Everyone ages 6 months and older should get the flu shot unless told otherwise by a health care provider, especially people with diabetes. The flu shot is given with a needle, usually in the arm. The vaccine used in the shot is made from killed virus. You cannot get the flu from the flu shot. A few people may be sore or notice some redness or swelling where the shot was given or have a mild fever.

Pneumococcal vaccine is also recommended for people with diabetes. One possible complication of flu can be pneumonia. A pneumonia (pneumococcal) vaccine should also be part of a diabetes management plan. Talk to your health care provider for more information on getting both vaccines.

St. Anthony’s offers the flu vaccine without an appointment from 8 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily at each of its four urgent care centers. For more information on St. Anthony’s flu shots, call our flu shot hotline at 314-525-4999 or 314-ANTHONY (268-4669).


CDC: Diabetes Public Health Resource

Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes

September 24, 2014


By Kristen Rider, BSN, CDE


Currently there are approximately 86 million Americans living with diabetes. The Step Out Walk to Stop Diabetes is the signature fundraiser walk of the American Diabetes Association. This event has been taking place for over 20 years. Last year the event raised over $24 million nationwide. This year’s walk will be held October 11, 2014 at Creve Couer Park. Funds raised go towards research, information and advocacy and public awareness activities. Start a team today and join the efforts to stop diabetes. You can walk as a Red Strider (someone living with diabetes) or walk to support someone you know living with diabetes. If you raise $100 you receive the 2014 Step Out Walk T-shirt, and there are other various prizes for different levels of fund raising. At the walk you can enjoy breakfast, visit booths of many different organizations and vendors, and win raffle prizes. There is plenty for the kids to do too! And what better way to be physically active than to get out and walk to support stopping diabetes? For more information visit


Source: American Diabetes Association.


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