NC DHHS Provides Heat Tips for People with Diabetes

Raleigh, NC

Because temperatures are reaching dangerous highs this time of year, the North Carolina Department of Health and Human Services’ Division of Public Health is encouraging people with diabetes to take extra precaution to maintain healthy blood glucose levels.

According to the North Carolina Behavioral Risk Factor Surveillance System survey, at least 750,000 people in North Carolina live with diabetes. Managing diabetes is important in any season, but hot weather requires extra precautions. Time spent creating routines and preparing for emergencies is the key to a safe and enjoyable summer.

“Higher temperatures and the changing routine of vacation may make it more difficult for people with diabetes to control their blood glucose levels,” said Dr. Ruth Petersen, Chief of DPH’s Chronic Disease and Injury Section. “Increasing attention to diet, exercise, hydration and diabetes medication during the summer months can help prevent complications and hospitalizations.”

The North Carolina Diabetes Education Recognition program, recently recertified by the American Diabetes Association, urges people with diabetes to follow the tips below:

  • Travel – Shield medications and medical equipment from high heat and direct sunlight, and never leave them in a hot car. While traveling, store insulin in a cooler but not directly on ice or gel packs. Bring enough food and pack extra medicine in case of travel delays. Prepare for time zone changes before traveling by plane, and bring a note from a health professional to allow for safe storage of insulin and medical equipment in a carry-on bag.
  • Food Choices – Limit sweetened or alcoholic beverages and foods with high sugar and fat content. High fiber foods such as whole grains and vegetables are great choices to stay healthy. Fresh produce is bountiful in summer and has high water content to help with hydration.
  • Physical Activity – It is easier to stay active during warmer months, but be sure to take shelter from the heat during peak temperature times. Test blood sugar more often to account for any changes in physical activity and be mindful of foot health and hygiene, being careful not to go outside barefoot.
  • Emergencies/Storms – Summer can bring storms and natural disasters, so it is important to prepare for power outages or other emergencies. Wear diabetic identification, and prepare an emergency kit with supplies, medication and non-perishable food and water.

For more information on Diabetes Self-Management Education Programs in your area visit Diabetes North Carolina online at is external).


Drink Your Greens

Drinking fresh smoothies is an easy and delicious way to incorporate more fruits and vegetables into your diet. If you’re unsure about the green variety, I can tell you from personal experience that you have nothing to fear! Wary to try the grassy looking concoction, I finally gave in recently and made one with spinach. Spinach is a nice starter green for your smoothies; it blends easily and once everything is combined you can’t taste it at all.

While there are plenty of green smoothie recipes out there that have little to no fruits, I look for recipes that have at least one or two included to give a little sweetness to the drink. Try adding a cup of spinach or other leafy greens to your favorite fruit smoothie recipe for an extra nutrition boost.

This week I came across an article about green smoothies by Real Simple and decided to give a couple of their recipes a try. The collard greens smoothie with mango and lime is refreshing and a bit tart from the lime juice and green grapes. The kale smoothie with pineapple and banana tastes tropical and sweet. You can substitute your favorite mild-tasting greens for any of the recipes.

Smoothies are a great on the go option. Just fill your carafe with ingredients (pour liquids in first) and store in the refrigerator overnight, then blend it up in the morning and pour the smoothie into a to-go cup…or in my case, a glass mason jar for my lunchbox.

Click to see the full recipes mentioned above and more smoothie making tips: Drink Your Greens Recipes and Tips


Holiday Challenge Success

Our Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less team is pleased to announce that the 2013 Holiday Challenge was a great success!  A total of 6,283 participants signed up from 49 of our 50 states.  Even among all the holiday busyness and tasty food temptations, 70% of participants were able to maintain their weight and 23% lost weight! Check out the graph below for the breakdown:

HC graph final

North Carolina had the most Holiday Challenge participants of any state, but we definitely want to recognize the other top contenders. Arkansas, Georgia, Wisconsin, and California all made it onto the list of our top 5 participating states. We are thankful for their participation and hope you will think of ways to get the word out to move your state to the top of the list for this year’s Holiday Challenge!

HC US Map 2
This map represents the number of participants from each state with yellow displaying the least amount and red displaying the most. The black dots represent the location of each person.

This map shows the concentration of participants across North Carolina. The counties are colors with light to dark blues to show the lowest to highest concentrations of participants, respectively (click to enlarge).

View a copy of our full outcome report, and don’t forget to pass along the report to the facilitator of the Holiday Challenge at your workplace.

Congratulations to all who maintained their weight through the holiday season. We hope to see you again this fall for the 2014 Holiday Challenge and more tips, support, and delicious recipes!


11-Minute Cardio

During winter months, I often get into a workout rut. It’s cold and dark outside by the time I get home from work, so I try to find different cardio routines to do from inside my apartment where it’s nice and warm. Pinterest has lots of great ideas and that’s where I found this simple routine that only requires a few feet of space to perform. I added a couple of extra minutes at the end for cooling down, so it takes a total of 11 minutes to complete.


March in place—1 minute

Jog in place—1 minute

Jumping Jacks—1 minute

Long Jumps—1 minute

Jog lightly—1 minute

Jumping Jacks—1 minute

Squat & Kick, Alternating Legs—1 minute

Jog lightly—1 minute

Long Jumps—1 minute

Jog lightly—1 minute

March in place—1 minute

The original info graphic (shown below) boasts that you can burn 100 calories during this workout, and I will tell you from experience that it can definitely get your heart rate up! If long jumps are too difficult, try jumping jacks or high-knees instead and work your way up. This workout makes it easy to fit 30 minutes of cardio exercise into your day. Try it 3 times throughout the day, or do 3 sets at once to get in a full workout.


Love Your Leftovers

I am Caroline Johnson, a gracious and eager intern with Eat Smart, Move More, Weigh Less! I am also a distance ed student with Appalachian State University (GO ‘NEERS!!), a full-time employee, a wife, and a mom to two adorable dogs. Considering the current balancing act that is my schedule, it is easy to see why I am a big fan of make-ahead meals and eating leftovers for dinner!

I’m not talking soggy salad, dry meat leftovers. I’m talking leftovers that are really tasty, energizing and keep me on track with healthy eating no matter how hectic my schedule becomes. I know many people are in the same boat as me and are pushed for time, so I thought I would share a few of my current, favorite staple foods that make great leftovers.

I found a great vegetarian recipe on the Whole Foods website for Curried Chickpea Salad, which I absolutely love. Even with the veggies already sliced, this salad will keep well in the refrigerator for a couple of days. I like it best stuffed into a pita with spring greens or chopped romaine.

Another great salad recipe is the Cranberry Pecan Rosemary Chicken Salad from the Plum Pie blog. This stuff is delicious. The fresh rosemary is a nice addition and makes this taste different than other traditional chicken salad recipes I’ve tried. I did make one Chicken Salad with cranberrieshealthy modification by using boneless, skinless chicken breasts. Another tip: add in the cranberries right before serving or else they will give the salad a cranberry hue as they sit and meld with the other ingredients. This salad also keeps well in the refrigerator for 2-3 days. Try it cold on whole grain bread with lettuce, on a grilled sandwich, or over your usual salad greens with a cup of soup on the side.

This Quick Three-Bean Chili recipe from Food and Wine is my favorite chili recipe, hands down. It’s simple to prepare and will keep in the refrigerator for 3-4 days with its flavor only improving over time. Shop for meaty, lower sodium bacon as opposed to bacon with more fat, and choose canned goods with low sodium or no-salt-added labels. My favorite way to enjoy this is with a dollop of Greek yogurt on top and a hunk of crusty bread on the side. Yum!

Last but not least is the Easiest Crock Pot Salsa Verde Chicken from the Skinnytaste blog.easiest-crock-pot-salsa-verde-chicken I have made chicken in the crock-pot like this before using BBQ sauce or regular tomato salsa, but the tomatillos in the salsa verde keep this tasting fresh even when you reheat. This is a nice mid-week option, because you can dump all of the ingredients into the crock-pot in the morning, press the button, and go. When you come home, shred the chicken with a couple of forks and try some in a couple of corn tortillas with black beans and avocado.

With a little advance preparation and meal planning, healthy eating can still be possible for those of us who are always on the go. Hopefully, you will enjoy these recipes as much as I do!Leftovers