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Today's Tip: How can I lower the amount of fat in my homemade baked goods?

Reduce the fat content in homemade baked goods by substituting unsweetened applesauce, pureed prunes, or another pureed fruit for part of the oil, shortening, margarine, or butter.

Learn more about improving your recipes here.

Yesterday's Tip: I’m short on time and use a lot of packaged mixes in cooking. Is there any way to make these more healthful?

Yes. You can lighten up packaged mixes by trying lower-fat options in preparation. For example, use half of the oil called for in packaged pasta salad mixes, or try using low-fat or skim milk when making instant pudding. For packaged rice dishes and similar products, use only half the flavoring packet to cut down on sodium.

Learn more about improving your recipes here.

September 19, 2021: To add flavor to my meals, what are some alternatives to salt?

Adding herbs, spices, and other low-calorie but flavorful ingredients such as garlic and citrus zests and juices makes nutritious dishes more appealing to eat.

Learn more about incorporating herbs and spices into your cooking here.

September 18, 2021: What types of foods should I avoid to help me stay within the daily recommended sodium intake?

Cured foods such as bacon and ham; foods packed in salty brine such as pickles, olives, and sauerkraut; and condiments such as mustard, ketchup, and barbecue sauce can be significant sources of sodium and should be eaten in small amounts only. Low-salt or low-sodium versions of canned vegetables, soy sauce, broth, and seasoning mixes substitute nicely for the full-salt versions, but read the labels: Some of these are still fairly high in sodium.

Learn more about salt here.

September 17, 2021: What are some easy ways to lower the sodium in my diet?

Tasting foods before salting them and removing the saltshaker from the table are two great ways to reduce the sodium content of your diet.

Learn more about salt here.

September 16, 2021: I’d like to modify several recipes to make them healthier — but I want them to taste good, too! What’s a good way to start?

To improve the health benefits of a favorite recipe, look over the list of ingredients, consider the role each plays in the recipe, and modify only one at a time. This gives you an opportunity to judge the success of your single change.

Learn more about improving your recipes here.

September 15, 2021: How long should it take to break in a new pair of shoes?

Shoes should not need to be “broken in” — if it is suggested that a pair of shoes needs to be broken in, stretched or otherwise modified, do not purchase those shoes, because they are the wrong ones for your feet.

Learn more about choosing footwear here.

September 14, 2021: My feet are an unusual width. Are there certain types of shoe that might work better for me?

If you have narrow feet, choose shoes with wide-set eyelets to allow you to pull the laces tighter, if necessary. If you have wide feet, shoes with closely set rows of eyelets may work better.

Learn more about choosing footwear here.

September 13, 2021: What steps can I take to get a good foot measurement when buying shoes?

Many people have one foot that’s larger than the other, so have both feet measured. Also be sure to stand naturally with your weight divided evenly between both feet.

Learn more about choosing footwear here.

September 12, 2021: What features should I look for in a custom shoe insert?

Any custom insert you buy should have at least three layers — a soft layer of foam on top and two stiffer layers on the bottom to provide some resilience.

Learn more about choosing footwear here.

September 11, 2021: Are there any types of shoe I should avoid?

Yes. It is a good idea to avoid high heels, as they put increased pressure on the ball of the foot, place the back of the foot in an unstable position, and increase the movement of foot tissues in opposite directions, a primary cause of calluses, blisters, and ulcers. (Heels should be less than one inch in height.) It is also a good idea to avoid slip-on loafers, which provide inadequate foot support, and sandals with straps between the toes, which can cause irritation.

Learn more about choosing footwear here.

September 10, 2021: Are there any steps I can take to avoid getting blisters on my feet?

Always wear socks with shoes to prevent blisters. Wear socks that fit well (tight socks impair circulation) and are seamless (to prevent blisters). Socks should be made of breathable material such as cotton or wool, ideally blended with a material that draws moisture away from the skin, such as acrylic.

Learn more about caring for your feet here.

September 9, 2021: I have difficulty finding off-the-shelf shoes that fit properly because of a foot deformity. Are there any other options?

People with lack of sensation in the feet, other changes in the feet caused by diabetes, or a history of foot ulcers may be candidates for orthotics, or specially designed insoles that are worn inside the shoes. If orthotics don’t do the trick, it may be necessary to get custom-made shoes. To qualify for depth-inlay shoes, custom-molded shoes, or shoe inserts under Medicare Part B, your physician must certify that you have diabetes and are being treated, that you need the insert or shoe because you have diabetes, and that you have a condition such as an amputation, foot ulcers, calluses, poor circulation, or foot deformity.

Learn more about caring for your feet here.

September 8, 2021: What are some rules of thumb for purchasing new shoes?

You should have your feet measured every time you buy shoes because feet change in size and shape over time. Also, it’s better to be fitted for shoes in the afternoon or evening rather than first thing in the morning — walking around all day causes your feet to spread, so getting fitted when your feet are at their largest can help you to ensure a comfortable fit.

Learn more about choosing footwear here.

September 7, 2021: My new shoes are a bit tight around the toes. Is this problematic?

Many foot ulcers start with rubbing from ill-fitting shoes, so it’s important that your shoes fit well and don’t cause any abnormal pressure on your feet.

Learn more about choosing footwear here.

September 6, 2021: Does smoking have any effect on the health of my feet?

Yes — if you smoke, your risk for foot problems increases. Lowering your risk, obviously, involves quitting. Several options are available to assist with smoking cessation such as individual or group counseling and use of nicotine products or certain prescription medicines.

Learn more about caring for your feet here and quitting smoking here.

September 5, 2021: How often should my doctor conduct a foot examination?

Your doctor should examine your feet at least once a year to check for the presence of foot problems and to assess your risk of developing problems in the future. If you have neuropathy or peripheral arterial disease, your feet should be carefully inspected at every office visit. To make sure your doctor checks your feet at each checkup, take off your shoes and socks before your doctor comes into the room.

Learn more about caring for your feet here.

September 4, 2021: I have an uncomfortable case of athlete’s foot. Can I treat it with an over-the-counter cream?

People with diabetes can safely use over-the-counter athlete’s foot creams, and all athlete’s foot creams are equally effective. To use an athlete’s foot cream, wash your feet and dry well between your toes and on the bottoms of your feet. Rub the medicated cream in twice a day. If you see no improvement in five days, call your podiatrist. It might not be an athlete’s foot fungus after all.

Learn more about caring for your feet here.

September 3, 2021: Is there anything that can help lessen the pain that neuropathy is causing in my feet?

Capsaicin cream or ointment can sometimes reduce pain associated with diabetic neuropathy if used regularly over the course of several weeks. It can also relieve arthritis pain in some cases.

Learn more about neuropathy here.

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