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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August/September 2008

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

We all know that smoking is bad for your health.  Most of the bad effects are related to the lung and heart. Diabetes increases the risk of heart disease.  For those that have diabetes, this risk may be increased.

Smoking affects the smaller blood vessels.  So does diabetes. Together, they can make vision problems worse, raise your risk of gum disease, increase damage to your nerves, and lead to serious foot and leg problems, like infections, ulcers, and poor blood flow.  

People have a hard time quitting for many reasons.  Tobacco is highly addictive and it is a big part of everyday life for smokers.  Before you quit, study your own smoking habits.

Here are some tips to help you quit:

  1. Get ready
  2. Get support
  3. Talk to your doctor about counseling and any medications to help you quit
  4. Learn new skills and behaviors

There are many benefits to quitting smoking.  You’ll save money and feel better. If you have high blood pressure, quitting smoking should help control your blood pressure.  If you have high blood cholesterol levels, quitting smoking can help this as well.

Quitting smoking is hard.  The American Diabetes Association suggests that counseling and helping those who smoke be part of routine care for those who have diabetes.

Additional help is available through the Illinois Tobacco Quitline.  Call 1-866-QUIT-YES for help quitting.

Diabetes and Food

If you smoke, you may be worried about gaining weight when you quit.  The average person who quits smoking gains about 7 pounds. 

You can minimize weight gain while quitting smoking by increasing physical activity and trying to stay with your meal plan. Talk to a dietitian about including some “rewards” for yourself as you work on quitting smoking.

Tips for staying on your meal plan:

  • Drink lots of water
  • Watch your portion sizes
  • Avoid unplanned snacking
  • Don’t reach for food when you used to reach for a cigarette
  • Reward yourself with non-food bonuses or treats

Exercise for Living

Exercise can be an important part of quitting smoking.  Exercise can distract you from your cravings, it can help you to relax, and it can help to prevent weight gain after you quit.

Quitting smoking can be very stressful.  Stress in people with diabetes can alter blood glucose levels.  A great way to relax when you are stressed is by moving through a wide range of exercise or body motions.  You can loosen up through movement by:

  • Circling
  • Stretching
  • Shaking

Make exercise more fun by adding music.  Make sure you get your body moving every day.  Think of small changes you can make to become more physically active like:

  • Take a walking break at work
  • Lift weights while watching TV
  • Make a family walking date
  • Do some household chores
  • Take the bike instead of the car
Be sure to talk to your doctor before beginning an exercise program.

Recipes To Try

Caribbean Salsa Salad
10 1-cup servings

2 cups cooked brown rice fresh
1 tablespoon chopped cilantro
1 15-ounce can black beans, rinsed & drained
1 cup frozen corn, thawed
2 cups chopped tomatoes
1 cup salsa
1 cup chopped bell pepper
4 ounces cubed low fat
2 chopped green onions
Monterey Jack cheese

  1. Combine all ingredients in a large bowl except salsa and cheese.  
  2. Gently stir in salsa and cheese.  Serve at room temperature immediately or chill.

Total preparation and cooking time: 30 minutes.
Per serving:
Calories 134
Fat 4 grams
Protein 6 grams
Calories from fat 27%
Carbohydrate 21 grams
Cholesterol 10 grams
Fiber 25 gram
Sodium 295 mg

Strawberry Smoothies
4 6-ounce servings

8 ounces plain non-fat yogurt
3 cups sliced strawberries
1/4 cup fat-free milk
1 cup ice cubes
Sugar substitute to equal 1 tsp. of sugar

  1. Combine yogurt, milk, sweetener and half the strawberries in blender container; blend for 1 minute.
  2. Add remaining strawberries and blend until smooth.
  3. Add ice cubes one at a time, blending until slushy.

Total preparation and cooking time: 20-25 minutes
Per serving:
Calories 77
Fat 1 grams
Protein 4 grams
Calories from fat 7%
Carbohydrate 15 grams
Cholesterol 1 grams
Fiber 3 gram
Sodium 50 mg

Menu Suggestions



Strawberry smoothie*

6 ounces

Whole wheat toast

2 slices

Whipped margarine 2 teaspoons
Egg 1

451 kcal, 63 gm carbohydrate, 4 carb units




Caribbean salsa salad*

2 servings

Baked tortilla chips



1/4 melon

Non-fat milk

1 cup

532 kcal, 91 gm carbohydrate, 6 carb units




Healthier Swiss steak*

1 serving, 3 ounces

Two potato bake*

1 serving

Green salad with calorie-free dressing 1 cup salad
Skim milk 1 cup

Graham cracker date pudding*

1 serving

620 kcal, 85 gm carbohydrate, 6 carb units

Total: 1603 kcal, 239 gm carbohydrates, 16 carb units
Meals may also include a calorie-free beverage (diet soda, tea, coffee, etc.).


* Visit www.urbanext.uiuc.edu/diabetesrecipes/ for recipes in menu above.

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

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