By Gillian Gatewood, RDN, LD, CNSC, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services
A familiar breakfast darling, oats come in many varieties sure to please a range of taste and texture preferences (find your favorites here). As a standout member of the grain family, oats seldom have their bran or germ removed in processing. Therefore the majority of oats used in our food supply are likely to be whole grains. Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services has long promoted the many health benefits of oats supported by credible research:
- Fiber-rich oats are slow to digest, making you feel fuller longer. This in turn may help control weight.
- Research has shown the soluble fiber found in oats is associated with helping lower LDL cholesterol and controlling blood sugar levels. Inclusion of oats in a balanced diet may therefore help reduce risk of heart disease and type 2 diabetes.
- Oats are a source of phytochemicals (numerous polyphenols jointly classified as avenanthramides), which provide antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and anti-itching agents to the body when ingested.
- The cosmetic industry has been known to harness the anti-itching properties of oats. The botanical name for oats, “avena,” is where the company Aveeno derived its name.
- Cool temperatures and plentiful rainfall make ideal growing conditions for oats. The world’s top producers of oats are Russia, Canada, the United States, Finland and Poland.
- Rolled oats, a.k.a. “old fashioned oats,” and instant oats differ from their whole and steel cut siblings in that they have been steamed and rolled flat. This process decreases the cooking time but not significantly the nutritional value.
- Oats are a gluten-free whole grain but are often cross-contaminated with gluten during processing. Those with diagnosed celiac disease should opt for certified gluten-free oats after confirmation of disease control by their doctor.
Oats are a tried-and-true breakfast staple. Keep your breakfast game strong and check out this scrumptious oat recipe from Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.
To learn more about Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services, visit cooperclinicnutrition.com or call 972.560.2655.
By Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services
Many people with diabetes do not exercise despite all of its proven benefits. If you have diabetes or prediabetes, physical activity is more than just a way to lose weight – it can also make it easier to keep your blood glucose (sugar) levels closer to normal.
When you have diabetes, your body’s insulin action is less effective in storing glucose and regulating your blood sugars, but exercise sensitizes insulin. During exercise, stored glucose becomes a source of energy for your muscles and as the stores gets depleted, your blood sugar goes down and can stay down for 24-48 hours.
What types and amounts of physical activity are recommended for diabetes?
- Aerobic exercise includes brisk walking, bicycling, swimming, aerobics, elliptical, dancing, rowing, tennis and stair climbing. Engage in at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous intensity activity weekly, spread over at least three days per week, with no more than two consecutive days without activity.
- Resistance training includes exercises with weight machines, free weights, elastic resistance bands, body weight and group strength training classes. Perform these at least two times a week on non-consecutive days.
- Balance and flexibility training includes yoga and tai chi. Aim for two or three times a week.
- Light-intensity activities daily (read below under “updates”).
To better fit your schedule, you can break up 30 minutes into 10- or 15-minute segments several times a day. Research has shown the health benefits are similar. Recent studies have also shown that a 15-minute walk after meals can help lower your blood sugar.
What are the updates in the latest exercise guidelines?
People with diabetes are advised to incorporate “light” activities throughout the day, particularly when sedentary for prolonged periods of time (working on the computer, sitting in a meeting or watching TV). Take a light activity break for three minutes for every 30 minutes of sitting. Examples include:
- Overhead arm stretches
- Leg extensions
- Torso twists
- Walking in place
- Have a very specific plan. Define what, when, where and for how long you’re going to commit to working out. This will improve your chances of adherence and success.
- What kind of exercises will you do? Make a list of activities and be creative. If you enjoy what you’re doing, you’re more likely to stick with it!
- When are you going to fit in a workout? Make a schedule of the specific days and times you will exercise. Prioritize them on your calendar as “appointments.”
- Are you going to exercise at a gym, in a group class, at a park or track or at home using a workout DVD or technology app? Decide what might work best for you.
- Do you prefer to exercise solo, with a buddy, in a class or with a personal trainer? Participating in supervised training may provide more health benefits for people with diabetes than non-supervised programs. Plus, the accountability to others can be very motivating.
- How long will you exercise? Be realistic and set achievable goals. If you are brand new to working out, start with 10 minutes and build up to 30 minutes or more.
- Keep a log of your exercise to stay on track. You can use fitness technology resources like a pedometer, fitness band or exercise watch to track steps, calories and heart rate. Don’t forget to give yourself credit for what you do-every step counts!
When you have diabetes, prioritize exercise as part of your lifestyle to better control your blood sugars. Beyond managing your diabetes, exercise can help you feel better about yourself and improve your overall health.
For more information about preventing and managing diabetes and prediabetes, visit the Cooper Aerobics website.
Coleman Crawford and basketball go way back. He started at a young age and worked his way to the college level (he still holds University of North Alabama career scoring and rebounding averages records). Following college, he put his basketball skills and IQ to work on the sidelines as a coach. He began at the college level – including four NCAA teams – then moved to international opportunities and the NBA Developmental League before settling in as Cooper Fitness Center’s Basketball Pro. His coaching experience eclipses 40 years and continues to this day.
As the NBA season kicks off, we asked Coleman a few questions about his coaching experience and his tips for growing as a basketball player.
Who was your favorite NBA team growing up?
“I didn’t necessarily have a favorite team, but instead had favorite players. I enjoyed following the Milwaukee Bucks because Kareem Abdul-Jabbar played for them, and I eventually pulled for the Lakers when he moved to L.A. I enjoyed following the careers of my favorite players.”
What did you gain from coaching in the NBA Developmental League?
“Coaching in the D-League was a big change from collegiate coaching. Coaching college athletes involves guiding them with their grades and off-the-court behavior on top of their basketball skills. In the NBA D-League, it was purely coaching and total focus on the game. I was able to build the team needed to win, and the players were solely focused on making it to the next level–the NBA. We won a championship when I coached in the D-League and six of the players went on to play in the NBA, which was exciting and rewarding.”
What is your favorite coaching memory?
“When I coached at Florida State, we beat Duke, who was the number one seed at the time. It was incredible! I also loved being able to coach my son at Tulsa and Florida State.”
What do you like most about coaching youth versus coaching adults?
“My favorite group to coach is, surprisingly, the 5-7 year olds. They are new to the sport, have no bad habits and have no fear. I see so much improvement and growth throughout the time I work with them, and I love introducing them to basketball. Coaching adults is enjoyable because they are usually very focused on improving one or two areas of their game, whether it is shooting, ball control or defense. They are open to learning new things and growing as players.”
Who do you think will win the NBA Finals this year?
“I’m currently a Cleveland Cavaliers fan because Lebron James is my favorite player. So I’m hoping for back-to-back championships!”
What skills do you teach your players that NBA players are always working on, too?
“The best NBA players never stray from the basics of the game. They practice the fundamentals constantly in order to master them. They also get into a routine that works for them, which usually consists of working hard and putting in extra practice time. The best players on NBA teams – Steph Curry, Kevin Durant, Dirk Nowitzki, Lebron James – are often the hardest working players on the team. Hard work distinguishes average players from elite players. Working on the fundamentals early on, as we do in our basketball camps and programs, can help kids grow and develop into solid players. On top of building physical skills, we also work on the mental aspect of the game.”
What are your top tips for any NBA hopefuls out there?
“Work ethic, skill development and mental prowess all tie together in basketball. The best players work tirelessly to master their skills. Try to always play against the best possible competition, because that challenge will bring out the best in you as a player and will give you an idea as to whether or not you’re improving. Keep working hard and never stop trying to improve and grow.”
For more information about Coleman and basketball programs offered at Cooper Fitness Center, visit cooperfitnesscenter.com/ProZone or call 972.233.4832, ext. 4337.
Making healthy food choices most of the time is one of Dr. Cooper’s 8 Steps to Get Cooperized. It can be tough to consistently consume a healthy diet, even for the experts, but a few healthy eating tips can go a long way. Read on for the top tips and insider information from Cooper Clinic’s Registered Dietitian Nutritionists.
My favorite snack in the morning is an Alyssa’s Healthy Oatmeal Bites cookie paired with a cup of coffee and light vanilla soy milk. I love cookies, especially oatmeal raisin, and this one hits the spot. One cookie has only 45 calories, 1.5 grams fat, 4 grams of fiber and 1 gram of sugar. I love that the first five ingredients are rolled oats, oat bran, ground flax, ground chia and dried fruit. It tastes so good that you wouldn’t think it was packed with such healthy ingredients. I look forward to this “guilt-free” treat!
I love the following meal for a simple dinner at home but great for company, too. Plus it has a bonus of being healthy!
Marinated pork tenderloin cooked on the grill, diced potatoes roasted with garlic and drizzled lightly with olive oil, accompanied by roasted vegetables (mushrooms, asparagus, broccoli, carrots, onions).
My favorite dinner: I prepare white fish (cod or tilapia) in my electric rice and vegetable steamer according to the easy and clear instructions given in the manual (the steaming assures moist fish every time). While the fish is steaming, I sauté fresh baby spinach and sliced fresh mushrooms in a pan with a little olive oil. In a separate pan, I lightly heat sliced almonds in a pan until golden brown, lending a nice crunchy texture and toasted flavor. I dish out the spinach and mushrooms onto a plate, top with steamed white fish and sprinkle the toasted sliced almonds on top of the fish. For a carbohydrate component, I add either brown rice or a slice of Seeduction Bread from Whole Foods.
My favorite breakfast: I batch cook several servings of McCann’s Steel Cut Oats. In the cooking water, I add chopped apple, pear, raisins, dried cherries, dried apricots or another fruit of choice. Then, each morning, I simply portion out a bowl of the cooked oats that have been cooked with the delicious fruits, and I microwave to heat the single portion. Then I add about 1/8 to ¼ cup of chopped walnuts, pecans or slivered almonds on top. In preparing oats with fruit, a lot of flavor is added as well as nutrients…and there is no need to add sugar. The nuts on top add heart-healthy fat and some additional protein, making it very satisfying.
Batch cooking roasted veggies helps me have a healthy, filling dinner on busy weeknights. On the weekends and one other night during the week, I’ll roast a large pan of veggies and eat them for three meals. I’m able to make half my meal veggies and pair them with an egg sandwich, chicken breast, pork tenderloin or even a frozen meal.
- Breakfast – Two frozen Kashi waffles with almond butter
- Morning Snack – Vanilla Greek yogurt with frozen blueberries
- Lunch – Pita pocket with hummus, nitrate-free turkey, cucumbers, tomatoes and spinach
- Afternoon snack – VitaTops muffin
- Dinner – Trader Joe’s steamed shrimp dumplings, seeds of change quinoa blend, edamame and mandarin oranges
- If the sweet tooth kicks in: Three Dove dark chocolates or a Fudgesicle, cocoa dusted almonds or protein powder pudding
Some of my favorite meals are as follows:
- Luvo frozen entree mixed with Birdseye frozen veggies
- Chick-fil-A: Large fruit cup and grilled chicken wrap with ½ package of honey mustard dressing
- KFC Grilled chicken breast, corn on the cob and green beans
- Store-bought rotisserie chicken breast, small baked potato and asparagus
- Sweet potato sprinkled with lime juice and some salt, rotisserie chicken and roasted Brussels sprouts
- Low sodium V8 juice microwaved until hot in coffee mug, then add a few drops of Tabasco and a sprinkle of parmesan cheese. Place one slice of whole grain bread in toaster oven topped with a slice of low fat cheese.
- California rolls with salad bar, including edamame, etc.
- Chick-fil-A seasonal tortilla soup
- McDonald’s Egg White Delight and Yogurt Parfait
I love my instant oatmeal in the morning for breakfast with raisins and chopped walnuts added. For a quick dinner, I go for salmon, brown rice steamer and steamed broccoli. I love honeycrisp apples this time of year for snacking!
Pumpkin is a key ingredient in many holiday recipes. Did you know pumpkins are really a fruit, and the flowers are edible? They are 90 percent water and a good source of fiber. The bright orange color of pumpkin is a clear sign that it is loaded with an important antioxidant, beta-carotene, which is eventually converted to vitamin A in the body. Beta- carotene may reduce the risk of developing certain types of cancer and may protect against heart disease. Pumpkin is also a terrific source of potassium.
When it comes to pumpkin production, Illinois smashes the competition. About 90-95 percent of the processed pumpkins in the United States come from Illinois. Morton, Ill. is known as the pumpkin capital of the world. Eighty percent of the pumpkin supply in the U.S. is available in October. When it comes to the pumpkin market, Libby’s takes the cake…or in this case, the pie or parfait. Approximately 5,000 acres are planted each year exclusively for Libby’s. Pumpkins can be boiled, steamed, baked, roasted and microwaved.
There is a difference between pumpkins you eat and ornamental pumpkins. Ornamental pumpkins possess decorative appeal. Bright orange, smooth flesh pumpkins are perfect for carving. A few varieties offer uniquely colored flesh or warty texture in an array of colors. Look for pumpkins labeled as “pie pumpkins” when purchasing pumpkins for consumption.
Pumpkin Nutrition Facts: 1 cup cooked
- Calories: 49
- Protein: 2 grams
- Carbohydrate: 12 grams
- Fiber: 3 grams
- Potassium: 564 mg
- Vitamin A: 2650 IU
This Pumpkin Parfait recipe is delicious! It is thick, creamy and light, and a perfect addition to your holiday and winter dessert menu.
Article provided by Kathy Duran-Thal, RDN, LD, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services.
By Elana Paddock, RDN, LD, CDE, Cooper Clinic Nutrition Services
Is there really such thing as healthier pasta? Absolutely! From a nutrition standpoint, many types of pasta have a lot to offer as long as you know about smarter options and correct portion sizes. So, pasta lovers, before you pull out your cooking pot, learn what to put in your grocery cart.
Health Benefits of Pasta
Energy: Carbohydrates found in pasta convert to glucose, which is your body’s prime energy source. Selecting complex carbohydrates such as those found in whole grain pasta offers a slower release of sugar, which keeps you fuller longer. Look for higher fiber varieties.
Vitamins: White pasta products are stripped of their whole grain component and then enriched (nutrients are added back in) with folic acid, iron and several B vitamins. Whole grain pasta is superior to white and is naturally higher in fiber.
Heart Healthy: Naturally low in sodium and fat, pasta can be a heart healthy choice. Too much sodium and fat can cause higher blood pressure and cholesterol levels which contribute to inflammation, heart disease and other health problems.
Protein: This is a bonus feature found in some of the “newer” pasta varieties containing legumes, chickpeas and edamame. These offer a noteworthy amount of protein–in some cases, as much as what is found in 2-4 ounces of cooked chicken or fish.
Different Pasta Options
Think outside the pasta box by trying different varieties. Look for higher fiber and protein numbers. A standard serving is 2 oz. (dry) which makes 1 cup cooked, averaging 200 calories. If you’re calorie conscious, try not to consume more than this amount.
Nutritional Guide for Pasta Types (per 1 cup cooked):
|Fiber (g)||Protein (g)|
|Whole wheat pasta||6||7|
|White wheat pasta||6||6|
Below are the specifics with brands and their comparison to white pasta:
Veggie Pasta (i.e. Ronzoni) – Don’t be fooled by the “veggies.” The spinach and zucchini puree don’t add anything to the fiber value, matching the 2 grams of fiber found in white pasta. Note there is one extra gram of protein.
Quinoa Pasta (i.e. Ancient Harvest) – Made from a blend of corn and the “ancient” grain quinoa, this pasta is gluten-free for those who are sensitive to gluten. Since it’s a blend of these grains, it is not as high in protein as quinoa itself, but it does have a more desirable texture. The same amount of quinoa has 8 grams of protein per serving as compared to 4 grams in this product.
Whole-Wheat Pasta (i.e. Barilla) – Made from 100 percent whole wheat, one cup cooked has about the same protein as white pasta but has three times as much fiber.
White-Wheat Pasta (i.e. Barilla White Fiber) – White wheat is actually a whole grain with the same fiber count as whole wheat. It’s lighter in color and milder in flavor, much like white pasta, which makes it an appealing choice.
Protein Pasta (i.e. Barilla) – This pasta is made from a blend of wheat (but not whole wheat), oats and legumes. The legumes drive up the protein to 10 grams per cup and the fiber is double that of white pasta.
Chickpea Pasta (i.e. Banza Chickpea Shells) – This clever take on pasta is high in fiber and protein thanks to chickpeas and pea protein. One serving has an impressive 8 grams of fiber and 14 grams of protein (as much as in 2 oz. of cooked chicken).
Edamame Pasta (i.e. Seapoint Farms) – Power-packed with protein and fiber and made exclusively from soybeans, edamame pasta is loaded with more protein (27 grams) than any other on this list.
Cooper Clinic Registered Dietitian Nutritionists agree that one of the best tomato sauces is made by Cucina Antica. Hard to beat in both taste and nutrition, it is widely available in stores and online. Use this breakdown for the Cucina Antica Tomato Basil Sauce to compare against other sauces. The main components to look for are fewer calories and less sodium, but it’s also helpful to look at smaller amounts of sugar.
Cucina Antica Tomato Basil Sauce: Classico Tomato & Basil Red Sauce:
½ cup serving ½ cup serving
40 calories 45 calories
1.5 grams fat 0.5 grams fat
240 mg sodium 400 mg sodium
6 grams carbohydrate 8 grams carbohydrate
1 gram sugar 5 grams sugar
Partner Pasta with Healthy Options
- To save calories and add nutritional value, swap out half of the pasta called for in a recipe for double the vegetables. So instead of 2 cups of cooked pasta, use 1 cup of pasta and 2 cups of vegetables such as zucchini, carrots or broccoli. This adds volume and lots of filling fiber to your plate and reduces the overall calorie count.
- Add a lean protein such as diced chicken or extra lean ground turkey breast. You can also go vegetarian with edamame or dried beans to pump up the protein in the dish. Serve with a large salad for extra quantity and color.
- As an alternative to sauce, lightly drizzle with heart healthy olive oil, toss in fresh or dried herbs and garlic and sprinkle with a little parmesan cheese. This makes for a delicious lower sodium dish.