Health Tips

What is Fiber?

Fiber is a type of carbohydrate that comes from plant foods, such as fruits, vegetables & grains. Although it is considered to be a carbohydrate, fiber cannot be digested by humans.

How does fiber impact blood sugar levels?

Fiber cannot be digested so it cannot be absorbed into the blood. Therefore, fiber alone has little impact on blood sugar levels and caloric intake. It is important to remember that fiber-containing foods (fruits, vegetable etc.) have other type of non-fiber carbohydrate (sugars) that need to be accounted for.

How much fiber should you eat?

It is recommended people eat 20-35 grams of fiber each day. Most Americans eat only half that amount! You can count how much fiber you eat by adding up the grams of dietary fiber on the food label.

Why should you eat fiber?

Fiber has many benefits; there are two types of fiber: soluble and insoluble.

Soluble fibers:   

How it helps- Regulate digestion, prevent constipation, feel full after eating
Where to find it- Wheat bran, whole wheat, brown rice, popcorn

Insoluble fibers:  

How it helps- ↓cholesterol, help BG after meals
Where to find it- Oats, barley, rye, dried beans, legumes, fruits, vegetables (carrots, broccoli, squash)

  • Get More Fiber
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. Try to fit in 2 servings of fruit & 3 servings of vegetables each day.
  • Choose whole grains more often (brown rice, 100% whole wheat bread & whole wheat pasta).
  • Replace a low-fiber cereal with one that has at least 5 grams per serving (Fiber One, Kashi).
  • Replace half of the white flour in recipes with whole wheat flour.
  • Choose crunchy vegetables (carrots, broccoli, peppers) with low-fat dip for snacks.
  • Replace iceberg lettuce with romaine lettuce or spinach.
  • Eat the skins of fruits, vegetables & potatoes.
  • Dessert idea: Layer nonfat plain or greek yogurt, strawberries, blueberries, and a high fiber cereal.

Quick Information for Grocery Shopping  

  1. Make sure to check the food has more grams of fiber than grams of sugar.
  2. A "good" source of fiber has at least 5 grams of fiber per serving.
  3. An "excellent" source of fiber has at least 8 grams of fiber per serving.

Download word search game about fiber

* The following material was adapted from the Bell Institute.

Diabetes and Disasters - Be Prepared

Disasters can occur anywhere and at anytime. Whether it's a storm or another disruption to your daily life, as a person with diabetes you need to be ready for emergency situations even more than other people. Being prepared will help you feel more secure and will help you survive the disaster with good control of your diabetes.

Have a Plan

  • Having a plan and knowing how to take care of yourself is key to diabetes management and is no different when disaster strikes. Discuss this plan with your whole family.
  • This plan should include:
    • An emergency kit (see below).
    • A place to go. Call 311 to find out what your community emergency plan is.
    • Emergency contacts are.
  • We suggest trying to maintain some sense of normalcy during hard times.

Take Care of Yourself

  • If you are well educated, in good control and healthy, you will have an easier time caring for yourself during a disaster.
  • Be up-to-date on your doctor appointments and immunizations.

Have an Emergency Kit

  • Your emergency kit should have the things you need to take care of your diabetes, as well as the supplies everyone needs to live day to day.
  • Emergency kits need to be located in an easy to reach place so that if you have to evacuate, you can quickly grab it and go.
  • There should be an emergency kit at school and any other place the child spends a lot of time.
  • You should be sure that you have at least three days to one week's worth of all supplies available.
  • Supplies for an emergency kit should include:
    • Insulin (keep in the refrigerator and have easily available to grab if disaster strikes)
    • Syringes, pen tops
    • Pump supplies (inserter, reservoirs, tubing, sites)
    • Extra glucose meter and supplies (test strips, lancet device, lancets)
    • Ketone Strips
    • Glucagon and low blood sugar supplies (glucose tabs)
    • Alcohol swabs and Gauze
    • Extra batteries (for insulin pump, meter, and flashlight)
    • Cooler/cold packs to keep insulin cool
    • Some sort of sharps container.
    • Copies of your prescriptions, health insurance card, diabetes treatment and a list of your medications including doses/ratios and pump settings (insulin plan). You should write down how to handle high and low blood sugars so if you are unable to care for yourself, someone else will know what to do. Be sure to update this list when things change.
    • Emergency contacts including your own contacts and government agencies, your doctor, and anyone else that may be able to help.
    • Logbook. Stress and changes in schedule can affect your blood sugars. Record your blood sugars so that you are aware if things are not in control.
    • Other general supplies: food and water, flashlight, personal hygiene supplies (toothbrush, soap, etc.), blankets, first aid supplies, any other medications you take, phone/charger or another device to use for communication

Wear a Medical Identification

  • It is important that you have some medical identification - a bracelet, necklace, or a card kept in your wallet - especially during a disaster. If you are separated from your family or become sick, other people will need to know that you have diabetes and may need help.

Check out this downloadable diabetes emergency kit  

Download word search game 
about emergency supplies

Diabetes Ketoacidosis (DKA)

You learned about DKA when you were first diagnosed with diabetes. However, if you have not been in DKA you may not remember what it is. It is important that you know about this dangerous condition and what the signs and symptoms are so that you are treated quickly.

What Is Diabetes Ketoacidosis (DKA)?

DKA is a serious complication of diabetes. It happens when your body does not have enough insulin to get make energy and so it burns fat and muscle for energy which produces ketones. Ketones make you very sick. They are toxic and can put you at risk for a coma and even death if not treated.

What Are The Signs And Symptoms Of DKA?


  • High blood sugar
  • Increased thirst and urination
  • Drowsiness and weakness
  • Ketones in the urine or blood


  • Loss of appetite, belly pain, nausea and vomiting
  • Blurry vision
  • Confusion, hard time paying attention
  • Rapid and deep breathing and fruity breath odor


What Should You Do If You Have Any Of The Signs Or Symptoms?

You need to get treatment immediately. Contact your doctor or go to the Emergency Room.  If severe enough, it must be treated in the hospital with insulin and fluids given through an IV in the arm.

Why Does DKA Happen And How Can It Be Prevented?

DKA happens when your body does not have enough insulin. It can also happen when you are ill or when you are first diagnosed with diabetes.

DKA can be prevented if you:

  • Take your insulin
  • Check your blood glucose. If the number is not in your target range you should check more often until you are able to get the number in range. Call the doctor if high numbers persist.
  • Check for ketones! If you have ketones call your doctor to help you administer the correct amount of insulin and prevent them from getting worse and becoming DKA. 

    • When? If you are sick or if blood glucose levels are remaining high (above 240mg/dL).
    • How? Use a urine ketone strip or a special meter that checks ketones in the blood.
  • Drink a lot of water when you are sick and especially when you have ketones!

Diabetes and Holidays

Download Holiday Challenge Crossword

Download Holiday Eating Tips

Portion Sizes Guide

A Happy (and Healthy) Halloween!

Halloween is a time for dressing up, tricks and of course treats. However, those treats can be healthy. Here are a few of our tips on making Halloween a happy and healthy time for people with and without diabetes.

  • Candy Exchange!

Trick-or-treating can be fun but lots of unhealthy candy often results. No one should eat too much sugar so you might want to exchange your candy for something else. Whether that means kids exchange the candy with their parents for a healthier option such as a fun new game or trip to the movies or kids can come to Montefiore’s Candy Exchange! 
What: Montefiore’s Candy Exchange for Children with Diabetes
Bring your candy from trick or treating and exchange it for a toy! Wear your costume if you want and come join our party!
Where: Grand Hall, 111 East 210th Street, Bronx, NY 10467 (use the Gun Hill Road Entrance)
When: Nov 1st, 2013 from 3-6pm

  • Plan Ahead

There are lots of other things you can do for Halloween that do not involve sweets. Walk around the neighborhood to show off your costume but ask for donations for your favorite charity or collect the candy to donate to someone else. Have a party that involves healthy games such as bobbing for apples, scavenger hunts, dancing or another fun activity. Hand out goodies instead of candy, such as stickers, pencils, or a healthier option such as whole wheat pretzels.

  • Candy can be useful!

If you do go trick-or-treating and collect sweets, use it appropriately. As you know, when your blood glucose level is low, or below 70mg/dL, you should treat it with 10-15 grams of fast acting carbohydrates and recheck in 15-20 minutes. Some candy works great to treat a low glucose level.  See the list below for the correct serving size of certain candy to treat a low.

15 skittles 3 twizzlers 16 good & plenty’s 4 starbursts
9 sweet tarts 3 small tootsie rolls 5 Lifesaver gummies 11 candy corns
  • Practice portion control

Candy is not healthy for anyone to eat however if occasionally you want some, it is OK! Just be sure you take your insulin before you eat any candy and have only one serving. See the list below some 15 gram candy snack ideas.

1 fun size chocolate bar ½ pack of M&Ms 30 reese’s pieces
2 sticks kit kat 1 Peanut butter cup 1 tootsie pop