easy school lunch
Healthy School Lunches for Busy Parents

School routines are back in motion, making what our children eat even more important for their energy and performance. Sadly, there’s a childhood obesity epidemic taking place in our country. Nearly 15 million children and adolescents are considered obese. This means that our kids now have chronic conditions that were once exclusive to adults, including high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes and breathing problems like asthma and sleep apnea.

Texas Diabetes NextStepMD health coach, Heather Andrews works with clients and says parents can play a huge role in lowering these statistics by packing nutritious lunches and snacks that contain protein, fruits and vegetables. This will help your students stay focused and energized throughout the school day.

Heather says to avoid foods high in preservatives or additives. According to the American Academy of Pediatrics, research shows some food additives may impact a child’s hormones, growth, development and raise the risk of obesity.

Here are some easy meal ideas and recipes that Heather recommends for lunches, as well as dinner suggestions for busy parents:
 
Step 1: Pick a protein & starch
(Peanut butter & jelly sandwich, cheese quesadilla, turkey or ham sandwich, chicken & rice, pasta & chicken or turkey)
 
Step 2: Pick a fruit
(Apple, blueberries, strawberries, halo oranges, grapes)
 
Step 3: Pick a veggie
(Carrots, celery, snap peas, cucumbers, dill pickles, lettuce & tomatoes & matchstick carrots)
 
Step 4: Pick a snack
(Yogurt, string cheese, cubed cheese, granola bar)

Recipe Ideas:

  • Hummus Dippers: Pita Bread (cut into triangles, Hummus, celery sticks & baby carrots)
  • BBQ Chicken Dippers: Diced grilled chicken & BBQ sauce
  • Berry Yogurt Parfait: Vanilla Yogurt, Graham Crackers, Strawberries & Blueberries

For dinners:

  • Easy Chicken Fajitas
  • Italian Chicken Meal Prep Bowls
  • One Pot Fajita Pasta
  • For more information about our NextStepMD weight loss program and healthy, nutritious recipes, click here.

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Understanding Low Testosterone and How It Affects Men’s Health

What Causes Low Testosterone?

The testosterone hormone is secreted by the testes, which means it’s a part of the endocrine system. If a man is diagnosed with hypogonadism, it means they’re experiencing a blend of low testosterone along with a potential for a number of other bothersome symptoms.

Men with low testosterone are more likely to later develop diabetes. Testosterone helps the body’s tissues take up more blood sugar in response to insulin. Men with low testosterone more often have insulin resistance: they need to produce more insulin to keep blood sugar normal. Studies show that around 30-50% of men with Type 2 Diabetes have low testosterone.

Additionally, obesity and low testosterone have a close association with each other. Obese men are more likely to have low testosterone. And males with very low testosterone are also more likely to become obese.

Fat cells metabolize testosterone to estrogen and lower their levels. Also, obesity reduces levels of sex hormone binding globulin (SHBG), a protein that carries testosterone in the blood. Less SHBG translates to less free testosterone.

Losing weight through a healthy diet and exercise can increase testosterone levels. 

At the age of 40, men’s testosterone levels start to decline by around 1% with every passing year. Testosterone levels can be checked with the help of simple blood tests. The key is doing these tests consistently.

Treating Low Testosterone

One of the primary ways to combat low testosterone is through testosterone replacement therapy. This can help men improve their sex drive, muscle mass, bone health, and even their red blood cell count. If other health complications are causing low testosterone, it’s advised to focus on those before pursuing replacement therapy.  

At Texas Diabetes and Endocrinology, we provide the following treatments for low testosterone:

  • Skin patches
  • Gels
  • Injections
  • Nasal spray

For more information about treatments for low testosterone, contact us here. And don’t forget to follow on Facebook and Instagram.

Best Foods for Lowering Risk of Diabetes

Your nutrition has a big role when it comes to your health. For example, did you know that there are some foods that can help you lower your risk of diabetes?

Board certified endocrinologist Dr. Keta Pandit recently discussed important information everyone should know when it comes to your nutrition and lowering your diabetes risk. Here’s what she had to say:

What are the best foods for keeping diabetes risk down?

Diet is one of the most important parts of maintaining your blood sugar levels, which helps to lower your diabetes risk. There are plenty of foods, like those with added sugars and carbs, that can contribute to fluctuating blood sugar levels, but fortunately, there are others that can optimize your overall health including:

  • Beans – While they do contain carbohydrates, keeping them to the serving size can provide protein and fiber.
  • Dark green leafy vegetables (spinach, collards, kale) – These are packed with Vitamins A, C, E, K and they’re powerhouse foods that are low in calories and carbohydrates. They can be consumed in salads, soups or stews.
  • Fruits – Stick to a serving size. Eat berries in the summer and citrus fruits in the winter. They are packed with vitamin C, fiber, and antioxidants, and they can satisfy one’s sweet tooth.
  • Nuts and nut butter – They have healthy fats, fiber and good omega – 3 fatty acids.
  • Whole grains – These are rich in vitamins and minerals such as iron, folate, magnesium, B vitamins. Examples include: whole oats, quinoa, whole grain barley, and farro.
  • Plain Greek Yogurt
  • Avocado
  • Seafood, like salmon

What foods are unexpectedly high in sugar?

According to the American Heart Association (AHA), the maximum amount of added sugars you should eat in a day are 150 calories per day for men (37.5 g or 9 teaspoons) and 100 calories per day (25 g or 6 teaspoons) for women. Our standard American diet is, unfortunately, filled with foods with hidden sugars. Some of the worst culprits that so many of my patients are unaware of include bread, salad dressings, BBQ sauce, pasta sauces, and condiments such as ketchup. Other common items in our diet also include granola bars, sweetened yogurt, instant oatmeal, breakfast cereals, energy drinks, and packaged fruit. In addition, all beverages with added sugars, such as juice, regular soda, regular sports or energy drinks, or coffee with added sugar should be avoided. Sweets such as ice cream, candy, and baked goods should certainly not become a part of a daily diet, as each serving contains high amounts of added sugar.

Regular consumption of foods with high amounts of added sugar intake, over time, can cause huge blood sugar spikes, which can lead to prediabetes and progress to diabetes.

Don’t forget to follow us on Facebook and Instagram and check back with us each month as we provide you helpful wellness and health information.

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