Resources - Food Distribution Program | Inter-Tribal Council, Inc.


resources to help you stay healthy and fit!

Cooking With Commodity FoodsTo Achieve Better Health

When cooking and preparing dishes using commodity foods, you can quickly and easily increase the nutritional value and cut down on excessive or unnecessary calories by following these simple guidelines and suggestions.

Before You Cook

  • Drain canned vegetables & Fruits
  • Throw away liquids
  • Rinse vegetables under running water
  • Grease baking dishes or pans with oil instead of shortening
  • Chill meat before opening, so fat will harden and will be easier to remove
  • Drain the juices from canned meat when at room temperature and rinse under running water to remove excess fat

When You Cook

  • Cut down on sugar used in spices
  • Use herbs and spices to flavor foods instead of salt
  • Cook pasta and rice without adding salt to water
  • Bake, broil, roast, or steam foods instead of rying them
  • When frying foods, use shortening instead of oil

When You Eat

  • Puyt only half the usual amount of sugar, syrups, and spreads on your foods
  • Remove the salt shaker from the table and use spices instead
  • Do not put butter or margarine on the table during meals

How To Shop For Fresh Produce

Many people choose not to buy fresh vegetables rather than risk buying some that are rotten. Getting home to discover that your potatoes are rotten, or the ears of corn are moldy, is aggravating and a waste of good money. Avoid that aggravation and waste by learning what to look for when buying fresh vegetables.


Living with Diabetes is a day to day task of monitoring your blood sugar levels and constantly adjusting your diet. We want to offer you some basic information on maintaining a consistent diet to make coping with Diabetes a bit easier. With proper nutrition, monitoring and exercise the effects of Diabetes may be greatly reduced or minimized for some types. There are two forms of diabetes; Type I and Type II. Both forms of this disease have the same effects on the person and have no true cure.

Diabetes is a disease that affects the body’s ability to produce or respond to insulin, a hormone that allows blood glucose (blood sugar) to enter the cells of the body and be used for energy. Diabetes falls into two main categories: type 1, which usually occurs during childhood or adolescence, and type 2, the most common form of the disease, usually occurring after age 45. Diabetes is a chronic disease that has no cure.

Prevalence of type 2 diabetes among Native Americans in the United States is 12.2% for those over 19 years of age. One tribe in Arizona has the highest rate of diabetes in the world. About 50% of the tribe between the ages of 30 and 64 have diabetes. Today, diabetes has reached epidemic proportions among Native Americans. Complications from diabetes are major causes of death and health problems in most Native American populations. Of equal concern is the fact that type 2, or adult-onset diabetes, is increasingly being discovered in Native American youth.

Native Americans & Diabetic Complications?

The serious complications of diabetes are increasing in frequency among Native Americans. Of major concern are increasing rates of kidney failure, amputations and blindness.

Ten to twenty-one percent of all people with diabetes develop kidney disease. In 1995, 27,900 people initiated treatment for end stage renal disease (kidney failure) because of diabetes. Among people with diabetes, the rate of diabetic end stage renal disease is six times higher among Native Americans.

Diabetes is the most frequent cause of non-traumatic lower limb amputations. The risk of a leg amputation is 15 to 40 times greater for a person with diabetes. Each year 54,000 people lose their foot or leg to diabetes. Amputation rates among Native Americans are 3-4 times higher than the general population. Diabetic retinopathy is a term used for all abnormalities of the small blood vessels of the retina caused by diabetes, such as weakening of blood vessel walls or leakage from blood vessels. Diabetic retinopathy occurs in 18% of Pima Indians and 24.4% of Oklahoma Indians.

In ideal circumstances, Native Americans with diabetes will have their disease under good control and be monitored frequently by a health care team knowledgeable in the care of diabetes.

Patient education is critical.

People with diabetes can reduce their risk for complications if they are educated about their disease, learn and practice the skills necessary to better control their blood glucose levels, and receive regular checkups from their health care team.
People with diabetes, with the help of their health care providers, should set goals for better control of blood glucose levels, as close to the normal range as is possible for them.

Health care team education is vital.

Because people with diabetes have a multi-system chronic disease, they are best monitored and managed by highly skilled health care professionals trained with the latest information on diabetes to help ensure early detection and appropriate treatment of the serious complications of the disease.
A team approach to treating and monitoring this disease serves the best interests of the patient.

What are the basics of a nutritious diet for someone with diabetes? Nutrition means getting nutrients protein, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins, and minerals from what you eat and drink. The amounts of carbohydrate, fat, and protein in your daily meal plan depend on your individual needs and tastes. They also depend on your overall health and your treatment goals (blood glucose, blood fat levels, and weight goals). Your nutrition needs change throughout life as your body changes. As your needs change, so should your food choices.


For most people, a healthy diet includes 10-20 percent of daily calories from protein (poultry, fish, dairy, and vegetable sources). If you have kidney disease, you and your doctor should talk about lowering your protein intake to around 10 percent of daily calories.


A healthy intake of fat is 30 percent or less of your daily calories. Less than 10 percent should come from saturated fats (fats that are solid at room temperature), and up to 10 percent should come from polyunsaturated fats (fats from fish and other seafood). Daily cholesterol intake should be 300 milligrams or less. Cholesterol is found in dairy products, eggs, and meats.

In general, Americans eat too much fat. To reduce our risk for heart disease, we all need to eat less saturated fat and cholesterol. Because having diabetes puts you at increased risk for heart disease, you have even more reason to watch your fat intake.


The rest of your daily calories will come from carbohydrates, which are found in fruits, vegetables, beans, dairy foods, and starchy foods such as breads.

Sugar is a type of carbohydrate. For the past 100 years, people with diabetes were told to avoid sugar. It was assumed that sugar, which quickly changes into glucose, would raise blood glucose levels more. But research has shown that this is not true.

Of course, there are still reasons why sugar is not a smart food choice. Your body depends on the nutrients supplied in the foods you eat. Sugary foods often contain empty calories that provide no nutrients. Your dietitian can help work foods with sugar into your meal plan.

But sugary foods can’t take the place of foods that supply vitamins and minerals. There is no reason to avoid table sugar in favor of other sweeteners, such as fructose (the sugar found in fruit), corn sweeteners, corn syrup, fruit juice or fruit juice concentrate, honey, molasses, dextrose, and maltose. On the other hand, there is no reason for people with diabetes to avoid foods that naturally contain sweeteners, such as fructose (fruits and vegetables) or lactose (dairy products).


Unless you have special health concerns or problems, you can follow the same guidelines for eating fiber and sodium as the general public. If you eat a variety of healthful foods, you don’t need to take extra vitamins and minerals.


The warnings the public hears about alcohol also apply to you. If you have well-controlled diabetes, you can work one or two drinks into your meal plan. Do not drink alcohol on an empty stomach. It can cause very low blood glucose. If you take insulin or diabetes pills, you need to know how alcohol affects your blood glucose level by testing during and after you drink.

You may have tried meal plans or diets only to fail time and again. You may have lost weight only to gain it back. Just the thought of changing your habits may seem overwhelming. The American Diabetes Association suggests that you think about food choices in a new way: Don’t try to do it alone. Working food choices into a diabetes treatment plan is a complex task. It takes teamwork. You want to wind up with a meal plan that fits you. Get the help of a registered dietitian and your doctor. A dietitian is a health-care professional with training and expertise in the field of food.The American Diabetes Association recommends that all adults with diabetes see a dietitian every 6 months to 1 year to help with meal plans. Look for one who has worked with many people with diabetes, because you want a dietitian who knows the current American Diabetes Association guidelines. Look for the initials RD (registered dietitian), which indicate that the dietitian has passed a national credentialing exam. Many states also require dietitians to have a license, so you’ll often see the initials LD (licensed dietitian). Good sources of recommendations are your primary care physician, area hospitals, The American Dietetic Association, and The American Diabetes Association (see below).Dietitians teach you many useful skills, such as how to:
  1. Use Exchange Lists for Meal Planning, published by the American Diabetes Association and The American Dietetic Association
  2. Count dietary carbohydrate and fat
  3. Read food labels
  4. Handle eating out in restaurants
  5. Make healthy food choices when grocery shopping Dietitians help you discover a range of nutritional resources, including cookbooks and reference materials, so you can learn how to prepare healthy, delicious, and satisfying meals.
Start with what you are doing now. You and your dietitian should begin by looking at your current habits. This is called a nutrition assessment. Building on what you do now, you can come up with a plan that will help you meet your health goals. It should fit your food tastes, family or cultural customs, and lifestyle while it helps you meet your health goals. You do not have to give up all your favorite foods. Make changes slowly.For example, your goal might be to lose 10 pounds. You may be able to reach this goal by making some small changes:
    1. Cut down on portion size
    2. Eat less fat
    3. Eat more fresh fruits and vegetables
    4. Walk briskly for 20 minutes three or four times a week. Because there is no one diabetic diet, you have lots of food choices. As you change, your plan can change too.
Know your health goals. How does your meal plan help you meet these goals? By testing your blood glucose and having other regular health assessments, you get a picture of how your food plan is affecting your diabetes control. Talk to your doctor about how often you need to test your blood glucose at home. Keep track of your test results.Staying healthy with diabetes will always be a challenge. When you work with your health-care team on your meal plan, you are working on one of the most important tools for feeling your best. Although you need to follow a healthy eating plan, its a blueprint that includes many choices. its up to you to help shape a plan that you can live with.

Flexibility in what you want while keeping control of your blood glucose is now possible. The guidelines emphasize that everyone with diabetes will benefit from an individual consultation with a registered dietitian because a standard meal plan cannot address all the issues for each individual. An individual’s plan must be tailored to the type of diabetes, the type of treatment, other health concerns and the person’s personal tastes and other lifestyle factors.

Previously, the dietary treatment of diabetes has been to avoid simple carbohydrates and replace them with complex carbohydrates like potatoes, cereals, and grains. But research now shows little evidence to support the necessity to exclude all sugars.

Instead, the total amount of carbohydrates, rather than the type, is the critical factor in affecting blood glucose levels. The guidelines state that sucrose (sugar) as part of a meal plan doesn’t impair blood glucose control. But if you use sucrose-containing foods, you must substitute them for other carbohydrates and foods, not simply add them to the meal.

Don’t take this to the extreme- the guidelines don’t mean that you can simply add concentrated sweets to your meals. Instead, substitute an equal amount of carbohydrates in your meal plan to account for the sweets.

Basically, what’s healthy for someone with diabetes is what’s healthy for anyone who wants to eat nutritiously. Therefore, the guidelines are the same: Eat food with less fat, and sugars; include a variety of fresh fruits, vegetables, lean meats and fish.

Your meal plan should provide you with enough calories to stay at a healthy weight. This is a weight you can achieve and maintain, and one that you and your physician agree on. And yet it may not be the “ideal” body weight on the height/weight charts.

Your food choices can help you reach several important health goals. In addition, these choices can also help prevent or delay side effects of diabetes such as kidney disease, gastronomes, high blood pressure, heart disease and helping you control your blood glucose level.


As everyone knows, exercise is an important factor in maintaining and improving your overall health. Combined with a well-balanced diet exercise can reduce your dependence on medications, lower your blood-pressure, beat-back the onset of diabetes and much more. Below you will find some helpful tips to consider prior to beginning an exercise program, get recommendations on basic stretching and activities you can start your exercise program and more.

Just as important as maintaining a balanced diet and good nutrition is a regular exercise routine. Regular exercise helps lower your blood pressure, improve relaxation, increase flexibility, increase alertness and improves general health by fighting off infection and colds.

Before you begin any exercise program, be sure to check with your doctor. Make sure that you always do warm-up exercises and stretching before beginning your exercise routine.

If you have ever experienced back, neck, chest or lower back pains before with normal exercise, CONSULT your physician before advancing past the warm-up routine. (Below is a list of exercises you can do at home.)

Fitness FactsCalories burned per 1 hour

Running 560
Jogging 450
Walking 245
Bicycling 420

Estimated amount expended, calories based on example body weight of 155 lbs.

  • Your health and physical capabilities.
  • Your interests – are you more social or a loner?
  • Build up gradually as to not get discouraged.
  • Equipment and facilities needed.
  • Seasonal adaptability (weather factors).
  • Choose activities to promote endurance, strength and flexibility.

Like changing eating habits, fitness is a “LIFETIME COMMITMENT.”

  • It improves blood circulation throughout the body. The lungs, heart and other organs work more effectively.
  • It improves your body’s ability to use oxygen and provide energy needed for physical activity.
  • It helps people handle stress and not tire as easily.
  • It bolsters self image and optimism.
  • General mood is enhanced when you feel good.
  • It’s good for psychological well being, because it releases tension and helps relaxation and sleep.

1) Calf Stretch – Stand a bit more than arms length from the wall, feet together, hips and back straight. Slowly allow the straight body to come close to the wall (use forearms). Straighten arms, pushing body to standing position. Always keep hand on the wall and heels on the floor. Repeat 3-8 times.

2)Bend & Stretch – (Flexing back, leg muscles) Stand erect, feet apart approximately shoulder width. Bend forward and down flexing knees, heels on the ground, touch toes or floor. Do Not Bounce! Return to starting position. Repeat this 10-15 times.

3) Arm Stretch and Fling – Stand erect, bend elbows at shoulder height, clench fists. Thrust elbows back. Return to starting position. Fling straight-ended arms back. Return to starting position. Repeat 10 -15 times.

4) Torso bend – Stand, feet apart, hands behind neck, fingers interlocked. Keeping hand behind neck, bend sideways to left as far as possible. Return to starting position. Repeat to right. Repeat 10-15 times per side.

5) Large Arm Circles – Stand erect, feet shoulder width apart, arms at sides. Bring arms upward and sideways, crossing overhead to make large circles. Do an equal number of forward and back circles. Repeat this 10-20 times in each direction.

6) Half Push-Up – Life face down, legs together, hand on the floor under shoulders (similar to a push-up). Extend arms to push upper body off of the floor, keeping hips in contact with floor. Circle head both ways. Lower body till chest touches floor. Repeat 3-8 times.

7) Cat Back – Kneel resting on hands and knees. Arch back, drop head at the same time. Reverse arch by bringing head up and forming U with your spine. Repeat this 3-8 times.

8) Head Side to Side – Stand relaxed, feet comfortably apart hand at sides. Turn head all the way left, return head to center. Turn head all the way to right, return to center position. Repeat this exercise 3 times in both directions slowly as to prevent dizziness.

9) Side Leg Raises – Lie on your right side, legs slightly behind body, head on extended right arm. Raise left leg as high as possible. Lower to starting position. Repeat this procedure lying on your left side. Repeat 10-20 times on each side.

10) Chest and Leg Raise – Lie face down, place hand under thighs, palms up. Raise head, shoulders and legs from floor at the same time, and relax returning to starting position. Repeat 5-12 times. (When done properly this exercise should make your body resemble the curved wood on a rocking chair base.)

2)11) Side and Back Leg Swing – Stand erect, feet together, arms straight resting lightly on a chair back. Keeping legs straight, kick right leg back & up. Return leg to floor. Kick sideways high. Return to starting position. Repeat with other leg. Repeat this 10-20 times on each side.

12) Knee Push-ups – Lie face down, legs together, knees bent, feet raised. Hands under shoulders palms down. Push body off floor until arms are fully extended. Make sure to keep your body straight. Return to starting position. Repeat this 8-20 times.

13) Leg Lifts – Lie flat on back, legs straight & together. Place hands with palms down, under thighs. Bend knees to chest, straighten legs, lower slowly until heels slightly touch floor. Repeat, no pauses between lifts, no arch in back. Repeat 7-15 times.

Items 13-26 are HIGH Impact Exercises or Require Higher Level of Flexibility

14) Running in Place – Jog in place, raising each foot at least 4″ off floor. Count one, each time left foot touches the floor. Repeat this exercise 100-200 times

15) Sitting Stretch – Sit on floor with legs spread apart, hand on knees. (NOTE: Do Not Bounce) Bend forward at waist, arms extended forward. Touch right toe with hands. Touch left toe with hands. Return to starting position. Repeat this 10-20 times.

16) Sprinter – Squat, hand on floor, fingers straight ahead. Extend left leg backwards. Reverse feet by bringing left leg forward and extending right leg back in one bouncing motion. Reverse feet again. Repeat the 10-20 times.

17) Sit-Ups – Lie on back, knees bent, cross arms on chest, hand grasping opposite shoulders. “Sit Up” to vertical position, keeping knees bent. Lower upper body to starting position. (Have someone hold feet if necessary.) Repeat 10-20 times.

18) Flutter Kick -Lie face down, hands under thighs, palms up. Arch back, bringing head & chest up. Flutter kick from hips, knees slightly bent, moving legs 8″-10″ apart. Repeat 20-30 times.

19) Jumping Jacks -Stand erect, feet together arms at sides. Swing arms sideways & up over head at the same time as moving feet apart in one jump. Spring back to starting position. Repeat 40-80 times.

20) Sitting Stretch – Sitting on the floor, legs spread apart, lock fingers behind neck with elbows back. Bend forward to left. Touch forehead to left knee. Return to starting position. Repeat to right. Keep your legs straight and DO NOT BOUNCE. Repeat 10-30 times.

21) Row Boats – Sitting on floor, bring knees to chest, tuck with arms and hands clasping firmly. Lift feet from floor. Release knees and stretch out spine with arms on the floor overhead. Sit up to repeat the tuck.

22) Leg Lift with Hold – Lie flat on back, legs straight & together. Place hands with palms down, under thighs. Bend knees to chest, straighten legs, lower slowly until heels nearly touch floor, and hold that position for 5 seconds. Repeat, no pauses between lifts, no arch in back. Repeat 10-20 times.

23) Push-ups – Lie face down, legs together. Hands under shoulders palms down. Push body off floor until arms are fully extended. Make sure to keep your body straight. Return to starting position. Repeat this 5-15 times.

24) Leg Overs – Lie flat on back, legs straight & together. Place hands with palms down, stretched out at shoulders sideways. Raise legs perpendicular to floor. Lower legs to left, try to touch toes to left hand. Raise to perpendicular. Lower legs to right side. Return to perpendicular. Repeat 10-20 times.

25) Jackknife – Lie on back, legs straight & together, extended arms on floor over head. Sit up, at same time lifting both legs. Fingers reach toward toes. Lie back slowly. Note: keep legs straight. Repeat 5-12 times.

26) Toe Touch Twist & Bend – Stand erect, feet apart. Extend arms over head, interlock thumbs. Twist torso to right. Touch fingers to floor inside right foot. Don’t Bounce. Touch right toes. Touch floor, outside right foot. Return to start position. Repeat action to other side. Repeat 10-25 times on each side.

27) Hamstring Stretch – Position yourself comfortably on the floor with both knees bent. Close your eyes. Take deep breath, exhale slowly. Slide one leg forward and back. Slide the other leg out & back. Take another deep breath. Tighten fists let go. Repeat this 3-5 times.

28) Shoulder Shrugs – Stand erect, feet comfortably apart, hand at sides. Take deep breath – exhale slowly. Take another deep breath and exhale slowly. Now shrug and breathe in. Exhale as you let go of the shrug. Repeat this exercise 4 times.