Turkey will be on the dinner table of a great many Americans this month.
After buying and thawing your turkey, it’s time to cook it. Before you do, the U.S. Department of Agriculture has advice for keeping you and loved ones safe:
Set your oven temperature to 325 degrees Fahrenheit or higher.
Place your turkey on a rack in a shallow roasting pan.
Check that the cooked turkey’s temperature is at least 165 degrees Fahrenheit.
Let the turkey stand for 20 minutes before carving, allowing juices to set.
If you stuffed the turkey, remove all stuffing from the cavities.
Wash hands, utensils and anything else that touched the raw turkey.
Watching Your Carbs with Diabetes
If you have diabetes, carbohydrates can be the most confusing part of your menu. Carbs raise your blood sugar, but they also provide much-needed energy. Eating too many carbs can make you gain weight, but skimping on them means you miss out on the fiber and nutrients found in many carbohydrate-rich foods.
To make things even more complicated, some carbohydrates raise blood sugar faster and higher than others. Fortunately, you don’t need a degree in nutrition to manage all this. By keeping a few simple things in mind, you can enjoy the benefits of carbs without losing control of your diabetes.
The first thing to know is that you need plenty of carbohydrates every day. So-called “low-carb” diets won’t give you the energy and nutrition you need to feel your best. The American Diabetes Association and other groups recommend getting 45 percent to 65 percent of all calories from carbohydrates. If you’re counting carb grams, you should shoot for about 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates at every meal if you’re a woman, 60 to 75 if you’re a man.
Foods that raise blood sugar the most include white bread, white rice, white flour pasta, refined breakfast cereals (such as corn flakes), doughnuts, crackers, and potatoes. In medical speak, these foods are said to have a “high glycemic load. Carbohydrate choices with a low glycemic load — those that raise blood sugar the least — include beans, non-starchy vegetables, bran cereal, and most kinds of fruit. Foods with a moderate glycemic load — those that raise blood sugar a medium amount — include whole grain breads, whole wheat pasta, brown rice, and fruit juice with no added sugar.
Some nutritionists recommend keeping track of the glycemic load for each meal. To make this possible, they have assigned a score called a glycemic index to just about every type of food that contains carbohydrates. In theory, you could use such a score sheet to fine-tune every meal. But such an approach isn’t easy, and it isn’t foolproof. The glycemic index of a particular food can change depending on how it’s served. For example, a baked potato has a lower score than mashed potatoes. A hard peach or plum has a lower score than a ripe, mushy piece of fruit. Surprisingly, some decidedly non-healthy foods — such as a Snickers bar — actually have low glycemic scores.
Adding healthy carbohydrates to your diet doesn’t have to be so complicated. Instead of worrying about glycemic scores, you could simply make a point of eating more whole grain foods, fruits, vegetables, and beans and less white bread, regular pasta, potatoes, and heavily processed foods. Not only will you have an easier time keeping your blood sugar under control, you’ll also be benefiting from the extra fiber and nutrients that go along with healthy carbohydrates.