Tuesday, April 10, 2018

My diabetic go-to snacks and meals

I've mentioned a few times that one of my big frustrations after meeting with the nutritionist during my first round of gdm was that I didn't feel like I left that meeting with a lot of practical food options that didn't include foods with artificial sweeteners (which aggravate my migraines and headaches). I thought I'd make a list of some foods that I've found work for me while on a diabetic diet (remember: this is NOT prescriptive or exhaustive, and I am NOT an expert. This is just some stuff that works for me.). If you find yourself needing some ideas for a diabetic diet, maybe this could give you a place to start?

A normal eating schedule for me (and my allotment of carbs-per-meal/snack) looks like this:
1. Breakfast: 2 carbs
2. Snack: 1 carb
3. Lunch: 3 carbs
4. Snack: 1 carb
5. Supper: 4 carbs
6. Snack: 1 carb*
7. Pre-bedtime snack: 1 carb
*This snack isn't officially on the usual recommendation for diabetics, necessarily, but I find that I usually need it. 

Breakfast ideas:
1. Homemade freezer breakfast burrito ("recipe" at bottom of post- I literally eat this every single morning because I know exactly how my sugar reacts to it)
2. "Egg McMuffin": Thomas whole wheat English muffin + egg + cheese + sausage or bacon
3. Yoplait yogurt (I think the 6 oz is around 1 carb serving- but you have to check labels), bacon, one slice of whole grain toast with butter (real butter- it's a good fat)
4. Greek yogurt + cup of berries + sliced almonds on top (I like the Chobani Greek yogurt that has fruit on the bottom. It's got a good carb-protein ratio.)
5. Peanut butter or avocado toast (one slice whole wheat bread) + sausage or bacon or egg + fruit that equals one serving of carbohydrate (half banana, half apple, cup of berries, 10-12 grapes, or a clementine)

Lunch (I usually rotate through the same options for lunch because it's convenient)
1. Crispy chicken salad wrap (recipe at bottom of post) + large side salad
2. Pimento cheese sandwich + salad/green veggie
3. Large cobb/chef salad with plenty of chicken and veggies
4. Tuna or salmon salad sandwich or wrap + low sugar cole slaw
5. Large taco salad (ground beef, cheese, sour cream, salsa, avocado on lettuce, careful serving of tortilla chips- usually 8-10 chips)

You can do a lot with sandwiches/wraps. It's best to use whole wheat bread/pitas/tortillas (again, read the nutrition label, remembering that one serving of carbs is around 15g). If you want to eat deli meat (even though it's not generally recommended for pregnant women), put it under your broiler for a few minutes to heat it up/melt cheese over it, and that will help kill off any listeria bacteria. You can do a lot of sandwich (or wrap) variations which are pretty easy and can keep you from getting too bored (you still might get bored...fair warning).

1 Cup-cup and a half of homemade chili + half of a grilled cheese sandwich + large side salad
2. Pot roast + veggies (roasted brussels sprouts, 3/4 cup roasted sweet potato, spinach salad) + 1/2 cup cooked brown rice
3. Meatloaf + broccoli + sweet potato
4. One slice of pizza (preferably with meat) + roasted veggies (go light on carrots- they have a higher sugar count. Try broccoli, brussels sprouts, squash/zucchini instead.)
5. Mexican restaurant: fajitas (only one tortilla but you can eat basically as much meat/veggies as you want) + one serving of chips and salsa (about 8-10 chips) + plenty of guac
6. Chick-Fil-A 4-count chicken strips + superfood side (I was so excited to realize I could still eat CFA!)
7. This grilled chicken and balsamic tomatoes with grilled veggies or a salad side

There are lots of meals that can fit into a diabetic diet, as long as I am mindful of portion sizes. For example, my mother-in-law made a spaghetti pie for us last week. I measured out a little less than a cup of spaghetti and filled the rest of my plate up with vegetables (and 2 deviled eggs). I've learned not to stress about not preparing my own meals, especially if it's at someone else's home or out at a restaurant; before I fill my plate or order, I put options into the My Fitness Pal app, and it calculates the carbs of what I'm thinking of eating. I then determine what/how much I can eat. Measuring out smaller-than-usual amounts of food can seem restrictive at first, but in reality, it untethers me from having to eat at home for every meal.

Snack ideas
Chobani Greek yogurt (with fruit on the bottom) + sliced almonds
Sargento Balanced Breaks packs (or make your own version of this if you're not struggling through pregnancy...)
Berries + nuts

Babybel cheese rounds/Cheese stick + serving of fruit
Cheese toast
Avocado toast
Hummus + veggies or pita chips
Caveman bars

Graham crackers + peanut butter

Good protein options to pair with a carb
Whisps (I buy these little cheese "crackers" at Costco. They are not cheap, but they are HIGH in protein.)
Hard boiled egg
Deviled eggs
Peanut butter
Babybel cheese rounds/Cheese stick

For "desserts," Breyers makes a carb control ice cream line that is quite good. I can eat a half cup, based on the serving portions, and that usually works for me. I also eat a reasonable amount of dark chocolate (not only is it allowed, there is some research that dark chocolate actually HELPS diabetics with their sugar control!). I crave sweet stuff while pregnant, so if everyone else is eating real dessert and I just really want a taste of what they're eating, I'll let myself have one bite. That usually won't ruin anything for me, but it does take self-control. So, if you can stop yourself from eating more than 1 or 2 bites, that's an option, too. I don't usually do too much with sugar-free dessert options from the store, but that's personal preference. 

For beverages, I mostly drink water, but I do like to drink unsweetened tea + Chick-Fil-A diet lemonade mixed together if I need caffeine. While I miss sweet tea terribly, this is a really good stand-in, guys. I will also have Brad make me some of his cold brew coffee sometimes, using a little sugar-free syrup (I like the Torani English Toffee).

These are some of the things that I eat on a regular basis and have good results with. Sometimes they can become repetitive and boring; I try new things periodically, but it's also just nice to have a bunch of fall-back things that I can trust. As a rule of thumb, ALWAYS read labels and check serving sizes until you have a good repertoire of food that you know works for you and your sugar (your glucometer will let you know, for anyone sticking their fingers multiple times a day). Use My Fitness Pal liberally to check on carbs when you're out and about. This awareness of portion sizes and carb counts is key to sticking to a successful diabetic diet. Knowledge really is power. 

Is this a helpful kind of post? Would anyone out there be interested in my keeping a food diary for a while and recording it for ideas? Let me know in the comments! (or email or text if you have my contact info!)

I'll do an update soon on my current diabetic status. Hint: it currently involves daily injections. :/ But, I'm still learning a lot, so there's something in that.

A few recipes (/methods) I use:
1. Chicken salad wraps
2. Salmon salad
3. My freezer burrito method:

24-ish eggs
1lb cooked, crumbled breakfast sausage
2-ish cups shredded cheese (I use sharp cheddar)
15-ish tortillas (depending on how full you fill your burrito
plastic wrap + gallon freezer bag (or 2) OR snack size ziplock bags

In a LARGE, greased pan, add all eggs (beaten), sausage, and cheese. Scramble until eggs are fully cooked. Allow egg mixture to cool. Spoon several spoonfuls of egg mixture into the middle of a tortilla, fold two sides of the burrito in toward the middle (sort of envelop-style) before rolling the tortilla up into a burrito. Ensure that the tortilla is fully encasing the egg mixture so that nothing slips out. Wrap burritos individually in plastic wrap (or zip up in snack-size bags) and store in gallon-size freezer bag in the freezer. When you're ready to eat one, unwrap the burrito, re-wrap in a paper towel, and heat in the microwave for 1.5-2 minutes. I eat one every single day.

Salad ideas to help fill up your plate:
1. cup (or more) of lettuce (or spinach) + 4 or 5 sliced strawberries (or  blueberries) + sprinkle of feta + sprinkle of sliced almonds + raspberry vinaigrette
2. cup of lettuce (or spinach) + shredded cheddar + bacon bits + tomatoes + balsamic vinaigrette
You can also trade in a few chopped carrots, red bell pepper (this is a good veggie for diabetics), avocado on these salads. Or you can turn them into entree salads by making it bigger and adding chicken/turkey/salmon. When you are carefully portioning your carbs, it can often seem (to our traditional American diets) that our plates are kind of bare. A salad that takes over half of your plate will help. :)

Sunday, April 8, 2018

Birthday Fun with Nana and Poppy

Because the girls' birthdays are only about 6 weeks apart, my parents decided to visit over St. Patrick's Day weekend this year to split the difference and spend time with the birthday babes. Unfortunately, Mom caught a nasty respiratory bug right at the beginning of their visit and ended up spending most of their long weekend trip in bed. Poppy got in plenty of play time, though (and the girls made several trips a day to the guest room to check on Nana and dole out kisses and love).

Watching Planes together.

These shots are actually rather difficult to get, but Dad managed to get this one. Matching dresses courtesy of Nana, and there's a tiny one waiting for New Baby!

Mom has, historically, been at all of the girls' birthday celebrations during their little lives but wasn't going to be able to make that happen exactly this year because of various scheduling issues. So, she decided to throw them a birthday party while she was here. Even though she felt pretty lousy, she and Daddy orchestrated a fun little dress-up party that the girls adored!

The decor.

Posing in her new party dress. Not sure what Peter Rabbit was doing, but he seems to be posing nicely, too.

There is very little that Claire loves as much as a well-decorated party, so this glittering doorway curtain was just magical.

Nana and Poppy gave the girls a dollhouse for all of the princess dolls to live in, and it has been such a HUGE HIT!

Both girls have spent hours playing dolls and rearranging furniture, and it has been marvelous.

Because Mom was sick, Daddy was tasked with party foods, and boy, did he deliver! Pigs in a blanket, cheese and crackers, deviled eggs, dainty fruit kabobs, and a birthday cake (he bought that one). Excluding the cake, everything even fit into my diabetic diet! Lily, particularly, appreciated all of his work.

I don't remember what prompted it, but Lily decided she needed to "cheers" Nana with her fruit kabobs. It was hilarious.

It's always sad when Nana and Poppy have to go back to Alabama, and this visit was no exception (there was a solid 10 minutes after they left for the airport where both girls were weeping and wailing). But, it means lots of cuddles and kisses!

Lily gives the smack-iest kisses. It's great.

Seriously, Dad was on a roll getting decent pictures of the girls this trip. It's so hard!

I spoke too soon. Please note Lily's face...

Thank you for the fun visit and party, Nana and Poppy! So sorry you were sick, Nana. We're looking forward to seeing you soon- when New Baby gets here!

Friday, April 6, 2018

Claire turns 5!

It is killing me to have to say "I have a 5-year-old," but alas, it is true. Claire turned 5, much as I tried to talk her out of it. But she is SO HAPPY about it! It's been a month since her birthday, and she's still greeting people with, "Hi! I had a birthday and now I'm 5!" She spent her actual birthday in Tennessee with Bill and Barbara while Brad and I were in Boston, and I didn't think I was actually going to be up for having a party here. My physical capabilities are just extremely limited these days, and my stamina is even less reliable. Claire's preschool strongly requests that if you have a birthday party to which you invite anyone from class, you invite everyone from class. I knew I wasn't up for that, so I decided I would try to do something really small with just a few church friends. 

I picked a Saturday, texted several moms on the Tuesday just before to see if I could get a quorum of guests, and invited everyone to meet us at a local park, where my plan was to let the kids run and play and then stop briefly for cupcakes. It was the most low-maintenance plan I could think of, and I was fine with that. I told Claire NOT ONE THING about her "party" (if you can call it that) until after I picked her up from school on Friday afternoon (if you've ever met Claire, you know that any remotely sensitive information is not safe with her. I couldn't risk her knowing about her party and then going to school and telling everyone about it- when none of them were invited.). 

And then, within 24 hours of the party, the weather forecast changed. Saturday morning ended up being wet and 40 degrees. I had to text everyone again and tell them to come to our house instead. And we had to prep our house for a party, which I had been so proud of avoiding in the first place. I decided we were having a "Thomas the Train" party. What does that mean, you ask? Well, this:
1. We set up the girls' Thomas pop-up tent and our vast collection of toy trains (that is not a facetious statement: we have a RESPECTABLE collection of trains).
2. We picked a Thomas movie on Amazon Prime to watch.
3. We popped popcorn and laid out blankets for the kids to watch the movie.
4. Claire wore her Thomas shirt (and tulle skirt #trainprincess).
5. We hung a few streamers and blew up a few balloons.
6.. I'd already made cupcakes (Funfetti. From a box.), and I cut up some fruit. 

Claire was happy, and all the kids seemed to have fun, so we're calling it a good party. I'm going to have to up my game in years to come, as she becomes more aware of things (like how other moms have games and crafts at their kids' parties), but this year, I'm just happy we had a party at all and that she was happy when it was all said and done. She really is such a happy and easy-to-please little girl. For that, I'm grateful.

Our little birthday party crew. Lily insisted on wearing an Elsa gown to the party, and when I texted my friend, Katie, about it that morning, she said her daughter would totally join in on that.

I love this picture! They were both having fun...these are just their "cheese" faces.

Richie was Claire's guest at her 2-year-old birthday party, which was her first one in Durham. They've grown up a little since then...

In 2015. They were SO LITTLE!

With our train-loving friend, Toby.

And I remembered to get a picture with MY friends.

Claire is the very best bear, and we love her to pieces. Even if she insists on growing up every year...

Saturday, March 31, 2018

Around here lately: March 2018 edition

There were some good ones this month, y'all. Enjoy!

Mommy, I like chitting-chatting with you.

Want to know something ridicky-less?

New Baby, when you're older, we have movies called Thomas. But, you might not like season 1 because Sir Topham Hatt talks.
Claire doesn't care for the earlier seasons of Thomas the Train because they are narrated, rather than the characters having individual voices. She feels very strongly about this.

Sings "Shine, Jesus, Shine" over the monitor at bedtime.
Erin: That was beautiful, Claire!
Claire: I'm singing it so maybe Jesus will turn on a light in my room...

Claire was supposed to be prepared with a knock-knock joke for school. 
Claire: Knock knock.
Brad: Who's there?
Claire: Figs.
Brad: Figs who?
Claire: Our bell is broken! HAHAHAHA!
The actual joke ends: Figs your doorbell. It's broken. Bless it.

I'm the teacher because I'm the sparkliest.

I am very looking forward to it!

It's so beautiful, I can even not believe my eyes!

Instead of being a toddler, I'm going to be a big girl!
In reference to deciding to eat her chili.

Look! We're back to your wagon, Lily!
Upon returning to the play grocery buggy after making a lap around the first floor of our house.

Bear claws = South paw
Claire is left-handed, and Brad is trying to teach her the phrase "South paw." She calls it "bear claws."

I wish you were here, Bo! You would have loving it!

I'm trying to throw up, but Lily's just spitting in the water and making it all dirty!
Claire had vomited a couple of times and was sitting next to the toilet, in case she needed to vomit more. Lily, having watched, came up and spit into the toilet, imitating Claire. Apparently, she was dirty-ing the water...

Sorry I put snot on your coat, Daddy.
After giving Brad a hug and accidentally wiping her nose on him.

Erin: Oh, Lily will like that dress with the cat on it.
Claire: Oh yes!! Lily LOVES cats!
This is very true.

That picture is when I was a weenie weenie baby.

I just didn't want this day to come...
About my parents leaving to go home.

I like my setting.
Her play-doh setup.

Sometimes we wake up in a fragile way.
While Lily was crying for, seemingly, no reason right after nap.

Hold on, mommy, it's watering time.
Pausing our conversation to take a swig of her water bottle.

Claire: Is Lily a baby?
Erin: Lily is a toddler.
Claire: That's a kind of grown-up baby.

Since I drunk a piece of water, mine is shorter than yours. Now that yours is taller, you're going to win the high water contest!
Comparing water bottle contents with Brad. No idea why.

Daddy, you're silly, and I love your silliness!

Daddy, I love being next to you.

Does loving you help you feel better a little bit?
When Brad was battling a cold.

Look at Lily sitting so cutely for her snack!

I love Uncle Tim. He's the best jugglist.
She really admires Tim's juggling skills.

God's the one who made heaven and earth. He's the idea man who makes stuff.

Chicken on fredo = Chicken alfredo

Leprechaun bag = leopard print bag

Daddy! Be a boss to Lily! She's pulling my hair!

That smell is going RIGHT in my nose!

Here, Sweetie, let me help you.
To Lily.

You crushed it up. I can't fix it. Sorry, darling.
To Lily.

While in Tennessee in early March, Barbara took the girls to an indoor play place. The first day they tried to go, there were some field trips, and it was too busy to stay. The next time they went:
Claire to the employee: Are there any buses coming today?

While my parents were visiting over St. Patrick's Day, Claire and I had to have a discussion about lying. After she and I finished, she and Mom talked for a while about it. At the end of their discussion, through tears:
Maybe the ashes from Ash Wednesday will help. It was on Valentine's Day.

I know you miss being normal, Mommy.
She's heard me tell Brad that I'm ready to not be pregnant anymore and to feel normal again.

It takes a few days to wake up.
A church friend brought us dinner, including a whole pineapple, which Claire was very taken with. She told Claire that it still needed a few days to ripen. Claire equated that with waking up.

She also dressed it up. Obviously.

Noticed around here lately:
While playing with her remote control cars, she pointed out that she'd added a "cape" to her car. The "cape" was a clip-on Disney princess dress that she clipped onto the spoiler.

We were watching Thomas the Train, and I noticed she was plugging her ears. It was at a part where Thomas makes a poor decision. I asked if that's why she wasn't listening, and she confirmed that she didn't want to hear him make a bad choice.

Brad brought home some Mediterranean leftovers from an event at Duke. We noticed Claire eating her couscous one barley pearl at a time. It took her an hour and a half to finish supper.

I was texting with my sister, and she asked what the girls were doing. My response:
"They're playing blocks and farm animals. The pig is mad at me because I told Claire 'no' about something...Claire's not mad, but the pig it."

Friday, March 30, 2018

Little trip to Boston!

A couple of weeks ago, Brad and I got to go to Boston for a little weekend trip! Brad applied to participate in a pedagogy seminar being held in Boston, and when he was accepted, we decided to make a short trip out of it for the two of us. Not exactly a baby-moon, but as close to one as we ever get. Real quick, here's our "baby-moon" history:
1. Claire: none.
2. Lily: 2 nights in Asheville, courtesy of a credit card points hotel stay + Groupons for all meals + gift card for a movie.
3. 3rd baby: Boston seminar + another credit card points hotel stay.
None of this Cancun-ing for us, guys.

Where we stayed, thanks to Brad's seminar (and credit card rewards)!

A few various views around our hotel.

I don't have a lot of pictures from our trip, in part because almost as soon as we arrived in
Boston, a nor'easter slammed New England. For Boston, that meant really high winds and lots of rain. So, while Brad was in his seminar (at the hotel where we were staying), rather than visiting favorite Bostonian haunts of mine, I hunkered down in our hotel room and listened to podcasts (I binge-listened to Mom Struggling Well, and it was a fantastic use of my time). I ordered room service for lunch and put in a to-go order from a nearby Panera for supper. I was SUPER ashamed of myself for getting Panera while in Boston. I basically refuse to eat non-Boston-based chain restaurants while there because there are so many incredible local options (exception while we lived there: driving to a nearby town to get Chick-Fil-A on occasion. Southerners must have Chick-Fil-A on occasion.).

However, Panera was my best option because a) it was less than 100 yards from our hotel entrance and b) I poured over the nutrition facts online to pick out the best options for my diabetic diet. I nearly blew away a la the nanny applicants in Mary Poppins while walking to pick up my food, thanks to the winds. I took an umbrella, but I gave up on it, as it kept trying to blow inside out. It definitely confirmed that staying in the hotel was the best plan.

Although there was some rather bad weather, we were still able to work in supper with two different sets of friends (2 separate nights), dessert with another family, and a morning at our Boston church. Those visits all ministered to our souls, and we were so grateful for them. We also walked around Quincy Market for a little while before we had to head to the airport. Not our most "Boston" of all Boston visits but really wonderful nonetheless.

Sunday morning service at Church of the Cross! This is a different building than we met in while we lived there, due to CotC adding a morning service and therefore needing a second location. It was neat to see the new location.

Great view of the Pru just down the street from the morning service location.

And a Regina's! Sadly, I did not get any Regina's (or Mike's) this visit. The weather didn't help, but diabetes was the real culprit.

Faneuil Hall

State House. One of my favorite buildings in the city. It's so interesting to see the juxtaposition of this quaint old building next to modern skyscrapers.

We had a wonderful visit, despite the weather. Boston is such a dear place to us, and it's always a gift to get to visit. 

While we were gone, the girls went to Johnson City with my in-laws. They actually went for several days longer than we were in Boston, due to scheduling (which ended up being helpful for me, as North Carolina bloomed that week, and I was SICK. As in, stuck-in-my-bed sick.). The girls were there for Claire's actual birthday, which was my first not to be with her in person, but Gran did a great job making sure she felt loved and celebrated! As did, Nana, though she wasn't physically present. Before the girls left for Tennessee, Mom mailed a few small gifts to me to pack in the girls' bags to open for Claire's birthday (including a few things for Lily). See necklaces and socks below. :)

The glasses/crowns weren't from Nana but definitely added to the awesomeness of the birthday. 

The glasses live in our van and are worn often.

Like Boston, Tennessee had quite a bit of rain that week/weekend, too, it seems. And both girls' seasonal allergies came out to play, but before all that, they had some fun times outside!

And, of course, there was birthday partying! Barbara made a fabulous cake (I obviously did not get any, but I can venture a guess, based on my prior experience, that is was fabulous), and Claire was very celebrated by our Tennessee family.

We are so grateful for Gran and Grandpa so cheerfully taking care of the girls for us, so that we could enjoy a long weekend in Boston. The girls had a wonderful time, and we could rest easy knowing that they were having a blast.

We classy.

Good times with Grandpa. And probably Super Why.

Our March definitely got off to a great start (minus all the allergies, bless us. This is why I hate Spring. We get SO SICK. Y'all can think I'm weird all you want, but hang out around here during the worst of the temp change + pollen, and you'll get it.). Thanks, Gran and Grandpa for making this happen for us!