Karen Chapman Novakovski - Associate Professor of Nutrition

About Diabetes
Food & Diabetes
Medications & Diabetes
Current Issue
En Español
Recommended Websites
Your Guide to Diet and Diabetes
Recipes for Diabetes
Fiesta of Flavors: Traditional Hispanic Recipes for People with Diabetes

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June/July 2008

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

Whether you are planning a surgery or find yourself hospitalized with an acute condition, one of the most important questions to ask your surgeon or doctor is "Who is taking care of my blood glucose?" If you are a caregiver of someone with diabetes, write this question down and put it in your wallet for when you might need it. Also add, "What have my friend's blood glucose levels been running? How close is this to his/her target value?"

Blood glucose may seem like the least of your worries if you have had a heart attack, stroke, or surgery of any kind. However, many research studies have found that well managed pre- and post-operative or inpatient blood glucose was associated with better outcomes.

Many larger medical centers will have a diabetes team that includes an endocrinologist, a nurse, a pharmacist, and a dietitian to prescribe the correct medications and monitor the patient's blood glucose while the primary doctor or surgeon focuses on the reason for the hospitalization. Make sure you are referred to this team if your hospital has one.

If your medical center doesn't have a diabetes team or if your insurance won't cover the costs associated with the team, talk to whomever will be monitoring your diabetes. Ask what target blood glucose ranges they feel are the best during your hospitalization, and how often your blood glucose will be checked. Better blood glucose control and frequent monitoring can help you recover more quickly!

Diabetes and Food

Carbohydrates” are talked about as good or bad; diets may be low or high in "carbs", but what is a carbohydrate anyway?

A carbohydrate is a “macronutrient” meaning it is a nutrient found in large quantities in food. The name carbohydrate comes from its chemical make-up. “Carbo” means carbon, “hydrate” means water, which is hydrogen and oxygen.

Carbohydrates can be simple or complex. These categories are based on how easily they are digested. Either way, carbohydrates are your body’s main source of energy.

Most foods have at least some carbohydrates. Foods with large amounts of carbohydrate include foods from the bread and starch group, fruits and fruit juices, and many foods from the dairy group, like milk, yogurt, and ice cream.

Carbohydrates have a big influence on blood glucose levels. You should know which foods have carbohydrates in them. Check your plate and check food labels. Knowing your carbohydrate-rich foods will help you manage your blood glucose.

Medication Update

Many people have several prescription medications.  They may have these prescriptions from different doctors or even get them through different pharmacies or supply services.  It is difficult for the pharmacist or doctor if they don't know everything the patient is taking.  Once a year at least, update your doctor and pharmacist on all your medications. Include any over-the-counter drugs or supplements you may be taking.

Giving your pharmacist and doctor this list will help them decide if any drug-drug or drug-supplement interactions are possible. One might make your blood glucose look higher than it really is, or they may work in opposition to each other.

If you have several doctors, like your podiatrist, general doctor, and your optometrist, they should all have a complete list of your medications- so should your dentist!  Make a list now and mark your calendar to update your medication list next year at this time.

Recipes To Try

Turkey and Potato Skillet
5 servings

1 pound lean ground turkey
1 medium onion, thinly sliced
2 medium or 1 large potato, about 1.5pounds thinly sliced
1 can (15.5 oz.) sloppy joe sauce
1/4 cup water

  1. Crumble turkey into a non-stick skillet. Layer onions and potatoes. Cover with sloppy joe sauce.
  2. Cover and cook on medium heat 15-20 minutes, until meat is browned. With a rubber spatula, divide the mixture into sections than can be turned so the potatoes are on the bottom and the turkey on the top.
  3. Cover and cook an additional 15-20 minutes until the potatoes are tender. Add water as needed to prevent sticking.

Total preparation and cooking time: 35-45 minutes.
Per serving:
Calories 271
Fat 7 grams
Protein 22 grams
Calories from fat 22%
Carbohydrate 31 grams
Cholesterol 64 grams
Fiber 3 gram
Sodium 557 mg

Rice Tabbouleh
10 1/2 cup servings

1 cup rice
2 cups chopped parsley
2 cups water
1-1/2 cup chopped tomato
2 tablespoons olive oil
3 chopped scallions
2 tablespoons lemon juice

  1. Combine rice and water in saucepan. Heat to boiling. Lower heat and cover, cooking about 10-15 minutes until water is absorbed.
  2. In a mixing bowl combine oil, and lemon juice. Add rice and toss.
  3. Stir in remaining ingredients.

Total preparation and cooking time: 20-25 minutes
Per serving:
Calories 103
Fat 3 grams
Protein 2 grams
Calories from fat 26%
Carbohydrate 17 grams
Cholesterol 0 grams
Fiber 1 gram
Sodium 11 mg

Menu Suggestions



Low-fat vanilla yogurt with granola cereal

1 cup yogurt, 1/2 cup granola

Red/green grapes, chopped pineapple, and blueberry mix

1/4 cup grapes, 1/4 cup pineapple, 1/4 cup blueberries

560 kcal, 84 gm carbohydrate,5.5 carb units




Oven-fried chicken*

1 serving, 1 breast half

Baked potato with whipped margarine, sour cream, and chives

1 potato, 1 tbsp margarine, 1 tbsp sour cream, 1 tsp chives

Beets, sliced and boiled

1/2 cup


1 extra small banana (3 oz.) or ½ medium

651 kcal, 86 gm carbohydrate, 5.5 carb units




Spinach lasagna*

1 serving

Lettuce salad with tomatoes, carrots, croutons, and soy bacon bits, served with fat-free Italian dressing

1-1/4 cup salad, 12 croutons, 1 tbsp bacon bits, 2 tbsp dressing


1/2 cup

Fat-free chocolate pudding snack

4 oz. Container

549 kcal, 88 gm carbohydrate, 6 carb units

Total: 1760 kcal, 2578 gm carbohydrates, 17 carb units
Meals may also include a calorie-free beverage (diet soda, tea, coffee, etc.).

About Diabetes | Food & Diabetes | Medications & Diabetes | Current Issue | Archive | En Español

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