Monday, June 20, 2011

When one is first diagnosed with diabetes, their first thought is they have to give up their favorite foods such as sweets, potatoes, pasta, and bread, according to Michelle Scranton and Sasha Bloyer. Both women are part of St. Anthony Regional Hospital’s Diabetes Center.

Michelle Scranton, MS, RD, LD is the clinical dietetic supervisor, supervising the Diabetes Center staff. Sasha Bloyer, RD, LD is a clinical/consulting dietitian and diabetes Educator. The other diabetes educators on the team are Karen Packer-Steig, BSN, RN and Deb Dieter, RN, CDE. The diabetes educators work mostly with patients from the community, but occasionally see patients while they are in the hospital as well.

When first meeting with a patient recently diagnosed with diabetes, the diabetic team dispels a very common myth. Patients think they must give up all of their favorite foods because they are “bad” for their diet. The team assures patients they can in fact still have all their favorite foods, but they just have to monitor their portion sizes.

The Diabetes Center offers a diabetes support group led by one of the educators. The support group meets on a Thursday every other month from 5-6 p.m. They offer several resources to individuals with diabetes. The dieticians and nurses lead individual or group classes, as well as an occasional special event such as a “lunch and learn.” The team covers topics such as medications, meal planning, physical activity, complications of diabetes, etc. The dieticians can help develop individualized meal plans, plan for weight loss, and provide heart health education.

Unfortunately people often wait until they are having complications from their diabetes before they seek help, explain Michelle and Sasha. They suggest the ideal time to seek assistance is when first diagnosed with diabetes. It is also important to follow up with the diabetes care team since diabetes is a progressive disease. Diabetes will change over the course of a lifetime. Michelle and Sasha say it’s extremely important to constantly be aware of your blood sugar to help avoid complications from diabetes.

The Diabetes Center at St. Anthony has several tips to offer to those with diabetes:

— You can still enjoy your favorite foods, but portion control is key!

— People with diabetes don’t have to limit themselves to “sugar-free” items.

— People with diabetes can still eat all the same foods that a person without diabetes can eat; they just need to keep a close eye on how much they’re eating.

— There is no need to prepare a separate meal for the family member(s) with diabetes. Oftentimes the meals will be healthier for the whole family if everyone is limiting portions.

— Eating foods from a variety of food groups is essential for good nutrition, with or without diabetes.

— Cooking and baking with sugar substitutes can be a good way to limit the amount of carbohydrate intake.

— Don’t feel forced to forgo dining out at restaurants, but make sensible choices and control the amount of food you’re consuming.

Lastly, Michelle and Sasha explain living with diabetes means paying close attention to your diet and limiting your intake of certain foods. Carbohydrates are our main source of energy and are an essential part of your diet. Even with diabetes, carbohydrates are still a necessary part of your diet, but the amount of carbohydrates eaten may be different. Everyone is unique in the amount of carbohydrates they need throughout the day.

Michelle and Sasha understand even bakers and those with a “sweet tooth” are diagnosed with diabetes and have recipes to share such as the first two recipes below. For those who love to bake they recommend using sugar substitutes in your favorite recipes to help limit carbohydrate intake. While this may not eliminate all carbohydrates from your recipe, they say it can help reduce the amount. Learning to bake with sugar substitutes can help you enjoy your favorite baked goods without using up all of the allotted carbohydrates with just the dessert.

Mocha Cheesecake

This cheesecake contains the flavors of chocolate and coffee and uses SPLENDA instead of sugar. The diabetes team reminds it’s important to know that all sugar substitutes are not appropriate for baking. Be sure to check the label to find out.

44 reduced-fat Chocolate Wafers, crushed
¼ cup butter, melted
2 tablespoons unsweetened cocoa powder
¼ cup SPLENDA No Calorie Sweetener, granulated
Cheesecake batter:
3 (8 ounce) packages reduced-fat cream cheese
¾ cup SPLENDA No Calorie Sweetener, Granulated
2 eggs
2 egg whites
1½ tablespoons cornstarch
¼ teaspoon salt
¾ cup reduced-fat sour cream
2 teaspoons vanilla
1¼ teaspoons instant espresso crystals
2 packages Sugar-Free Swiss Miss Instant Cocoa Mix

Preheat oven to 400 degrees. Mix crust ingredients together and press into a 9-inch springform pan. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake for 10 minutes. Remove from oven and cool to room temperature. Reset oven temperature to 325 degrees. Beat cream cheese and SPLENDA together until well mixed and smooth. Add eggs, egg whites, cornstarch and salt. Mix until smooth. Add sour cream and vanilla; mix until well blended. Measure ½ cup of the cheesecake batter and pour into a small bowl. Add instant espresso crystals and cocoa mix. Stir until well combined. Pour half of plain batter over crust. Top with half of the coffee batter by placing rounded spoonfuls over the cheesecake batter. Gently swirl the coffee batter into plain batter with the tip of knife or spatula. Repeat with remaining batters. Bake for 45-50 minutes or until center is almost set. Remove from oven and gently run metal spatula around rim of pan to loosen cheesecake (this helps prevent cracking). Let cool 20-25 minutes before covering and placing in the refrigerator. Refrigerate 4- 6 hours or overnight before serving.
Servings per recipe: 16 slices
Total Carbohydrate: 14 g per serving

Choco-Chip Cookies

These cookies also use SPLENDA in place of sugar. Although it may be tempting to consume a whole plate of chocolate chip cookies, the diabetic team reminds “portion control is key,” so it’s a good idea to share these cookies with your family, friends, and neighbors.

⅔ cup butter or margarine, softened
⅔ cup brown sugar, firmly packed
⅔ cup SPLENDA No Calorie Sweetener, granulated
2 teaspoons vanilla
2 eggs
1½ cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
1 cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Cream butter, brown sugar, SPLENDA and vanilla together in a medium mixing bowl. Mix until well blended and creamy. Add eggs, one at a time, mixing well after each egg. Scrape sides of bowl. Add flour, baking soda and salt. Mix until well blended. Stir in chocolate chips. Scoop level tablespoons of cookie dough on an ungreased baking sheet. Bake for 10-12 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from oven and cool on a wire cooling rack.
      Servings per recipe: 36 cookies
Total Carbohydrate: 11g per serving
The diabetic team recommends two websites to find information: Diabetic Cooking magazine - and Both offer good overall information, as well as useful recipes.

Angel Food Cookies
*recipe from

Angel food cake is naturally low in fat and with the addition of orange-flavored soda, it becomes a simple cookie. This is an easy cookie to prepare when a craving for a sweet comes along in a hurry!

½ cup diet orange soda
¼ teaspoon almond extract
1 angel food cake mix, 14.5 oz package
cooking spray
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray. Combine the soda, almond extract, and angel food mix in a bowl. Using an electric mixer, beat at a medium speed until it becomes smooth. Scoop 28 equal spoonfuls of the batter onto the prepared baking sheet. Bake for approximately 9 minutes. Remove from the baking sheet using a spatula and let cool before serving.
Note: Try it with a different flavored soda like lemon-lime or strawberry.
Servings per recipes: 28 cookies, 55 calories each, 6.5 grams sugar, 12.5 carbs

No-Guilt Chocolate Brownies
*recipe from

Diabetics may think a chewy chocolate brownie is off limits, but this recipe uses some creative ingredients including baby food prunes, dry milk powder, and wheat to satisfy any brownie lover.

1 cup semisweet chocolate chips
¼ cup packed brown sugar
2 tablespoons granulated sugar
½ teaspoon baking soda
¼ teaspoon salt
½ cup cholesterol-free egg substitute
1 jar (2.5 oz) first stage baby food prunes
1 teaspoon vanilla
1 cup uncooked old-fashioned oats
1/3 cup nonfat dry milk powder
¼ cup wheat germ
2 teaspoons powdered sugar
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Spray an 8-inch square baking pan with nonstick cooking spray; set aside. Melt chips in top of double boiler over simmering water. Combine brown and granulated sugars, baking powder and salt in large bowl. Add egg substitute, prunes and vanilla; beat 2 minutes with electric mixer at medium speed until well blended. Stir in oats, milk powder, wheat germ and chocolate chips. Pour batter into prepared pan. Bake 30 minutes or until toothpick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool completely in pan on wire rack. Cut into 16 (2-inch) squares. Dust with powdered sugar before serving.

Servings per recipe: 16 brownies, serving size: 1 2-inch brownie square, 124 calories, 5 grams fat, dietary exchanges: 1 fat, 1 starch