A lot of it is about the beans.
Beans are an important part of a healthy diet, and there are many ways to prepare them so that family members will enjoy them, according to diabetes educator Pam Beamer.
Beamer, who works at Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center and teaches classes on diabetes management and healthy eating, said that beans provide “high fiber, high nutrition and iron,” which are important to include in any diet.
“They also have B vitamins, good protein and they’re inexpensive,” Beamer said.
Beans have all that and so much more, she explained recently while preparing her favorite Tex-Mex black bean dish in the Community Room at the hospital.
“The fiber in beans actually controls blood sugar, lowers cholesterol and helps to prevent colon cancer. They also help keep the digestive system regular,” she said.
Beamer, who was named Diabetes Educator of the Year by the Western New York Association of Diabetes Educators, created a 10-week course that is regularly offered at the hospital to help people manage diabetes. The next series of classes starts at l p.m. Aug. 20, but new series start every month.
People who eat healthier are often surprised at the good changes that occur in their bodies, said Debra Hoffman, a diabetes educator at Mount St. Mary’s Hospital in Lewiston. Hoffman takes her students to the hospital cafeteria and challenges them to make the healthiest choices possible. They are often surprised that they don’t have to give up many of their favorite foods, she said.
“I always choose something evil, like chocolate milk,” she said, which paired with a salad can actually make a healthy meal.
“Two hours after we eat, everyone takes out their monitors,” she said. After testing their blood sugar levels, “They are always surprised to find that their blood sugar is good because they made healthy choices.”
For those seeking to make healthier choices in their daily diet, Beamer offers two of her favorite recipes
Tex-Mex black bean dip
15 ounces black beans (one can) drained
1 tsp. vegetable oil
1/2 cup chopped onion
2 cloves garlic
1/2 cup diced tomato
1/3 cup mild picante sauce
1/2 tsp. ground cumin
1/2 tsp. chili powder
1/4 cup shredded reduced fat Monterey Jack cheese
1/4 cup chopped fresh cilantro
1 tbsp. fresh lime juice
Place beans in bowl. Mash partially until chunky. Set aside.
Heal oil in a medium nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic, sauté four minutes or until tender. Add beans, tomato, picante sauce, cumin and chili powder. Cook until thickened, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, add cheese and remaining ingredients, stirring until cheese melts. Serve warm or at room temperature with baked corn chips or use to fill tacos or burritos.
Sweet and spicy barbecued beans
2 tsp. olive oil
1 cup chopped onion
4 cloves garlic, minced
8 cups chopped kale, about 3/4 pound
1/2 cup water
1/2 cup barbecue sauce, hickory flavored
2 tbsp. Dijon mustard
1 tbsp. cider vinegar
1 tsp. hot sauce
32 ounces kidney beans, canned, rinsed and drained
Heat oil in large nonstick skillet over medium heat. Add onion and garlic. Sauté five minutes or until onion is tender. Stir in remaining ingredients, spoon into a two-quart casserole. Cover and bake for 45 minutes or until heated.
IF YOU GO
WHO: Pam Beamer, diabetes educator
WHAT: Living with Diabetes classes
WHEN: Classes run from 1-1:30 p.m. Aug. 20, 21, 27, 28 and throughout the year
WHERE: Niagara Falls Memorial Medical Center, 621 10th St., Niagara Falls
MORE INFORMATION: Call 278-4102 or e-mail LivingWithDiabetes@nfmmc.org; registration is required
WHO: Deb Hoffman
WHAT: Diabetes and Health Eating classes
WHEN: Classes are at 1 and 6 p.m. Aug. 19-21 and throughout the year
WHERE: Mount St. Mary’s Hospital, 5300 Military Road, Lewiston
MORE INFORMATION: Call 298-2325
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