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

Want to know when a new issue comes out? Sign up for eNews

October/November 2008

[Open as PDF]

In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

Taking your medication every day at the right time can be a challenge. Once you get off your schedule, it is hard to remember to take your pills. 

Sometimes it is hard to remember all the pills you take because they have difficult to pronounce names.  Your doctor should have a record of all of your medications, but sometimes you need to see a new doctor, or you have to visit an emergency room.

For many reasons, the new Pill Card is a great idea. The guide was developed to help people remember what to take and when to take it, and to provide a handy reference for both patients and doctors to use.

To make your own Pill Card, go to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality webpage,

The page will instruct you how to create a Pill Card.  The site also provides common pill shapes to include on your pill card in case the names are really difficult. You can add a shape in that case and a color. 

Another feature is adding an image for what the medication does, a heart for your heart medication, for instance, or a blood pressure cuff for your blood pressure medication.  It is very important that everyone understands what they are taking and why – and this helps us all remember.

How to Create a Pill Card. AHRQ Publication No. 08-M016, February 2008. Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality, Rockville, MD. http://www.ahrq.gov/qual/pillcard/pillcard.htm

Diabetes and Food

Pizza is a favorite food of teens, of people wanting a quick Friday night meal, and of those going out to celebrate or socialize.  If you have diabetes, can you still eat pizza?

Yes. All foods can fit into the meal plan of someone with diabetes.  Pizza tends to be a higher in calories than some other foods so plan before you eat:

  • thin crust has fewer carbohydrates and calories than most thick crust pizzas
  • vegetable toppings have fewer calories than meat toppings, although olives are the exception and add quite a bit of fat and calories
  • extra cheese is additional calories and fat you should probably avoid

Some people have higher than expected blood glucose levels after eating pizza even if the portions have been carefully planned.  Check you blood glucose about
2-3 hours after eating the pizza meal and keep a record.  If a pattern is there, you may need to talk to your doctor and dietitian about increasing your medication to cover foods that cause you to spike higher blood glucose levels after eating.

Medication Update

There is a new type of medication for type 2 diabetes. It is a DPP-4 inhibitor called sitagliptin or Januvia.  The drug works to enhance insulin production.  That means you have to have some functioning of the pancreas and insulin production of your own for the drug to help regulate your blood glucose.

Januvia can be given with other diabetes medication such as metformin.  It works in a different way than metformin so together better blood glucose management may be achieved.  Weight gain may occur when Januvia is used alone, but doesn't seem to occur when it is used with metformin.

Januvia can be used with other oral medications for diabetes as well.  It seems to help achieve a little better blood glucose management than one medication alone.  Of course there can be side effects with Januvia, and it isn't for everyone.

Be sure to carefully review your medications and their possible side effects with your doctor and pharmacist at least once a year

Recipes To Try

Vegetables and Hamburger Skillet
5 1-cup servings

1 pound lean ground beef
3 cups tomatoes, diced
1 cup chopped onion
1 cup frozen corn
2 cups chopped green peppers
1 tablespoon minced garlic

  1. Brown beef and onion in large skillet. Drain. 
  2. 2. Add vegetables and garlic. Simmer 20 minutes.

Total preparation and cooking time: 35-45 minutes.
Per serving:
Calories 292
Fat 16 grams
Protein 20 grams
Calories from fat 50%
Carbohydrate 18 grams
Cholesterol 63 grams
Fiber 3 gram
Sodium 73 mg

May serve over rice or pasta, or by itself.

Lower Calorie Cheesecake
16 servings

nonstick cooking spray
1/4 cup fat free milk
1-1/4 cups low fat graham cracker crumbs
2 tablespoons flour
3 tablespoons margarine
3 teaspoons vanilla
24 ounces fat free cream cheese, softened
3 eggs 
1 cup Splenda®
  1. Spray 9" springform pan lightly with cooking spray. Preheat oven to 350◦. 
  2. Melt margarine. In bowl combine crumbs and margarine. Press into bottom of springform pan. Bake until lightly browned, about 7 minutes.
  3. Reduce oven heat to 325◦. Beat cream cheese until creamy. Gradually beat in Splenda®; then milk; then flour and vanilla. Add eggs one at a time, beating after each.
  4. Pour into crust, bake until set, 50-60 minutes. Refrigerate until well chilled.

Total preparation and cooking time: 70-85 minutes
Per serving:
Calories 111
Fat 3 grams
Protein 8 grams
Calories from fat 26%
Carbohydrate 10 grams
Cholesterol 47 grams
Fiber 0 gram
Sodium 364 mg

Menu Suggestions




Bran flakes

1 cup

Skim milk

1/2 cup

Whole wheat toast with peanut butter 1 slice, 1 tablespoon
Cantaloupe 1/8 medium

442 kcal, 76 gm carbohydrate,5 carb units




Tuna salad sandwich

1/2 sandwich

Cream of asparagus soup, prepared with milk
Unsalted crackers

1 cup soup, 4 crackers

Low-fat potato crisps*

1 serving

Pink/red grapefruit

1 grapefruit

591 kcal, 80 gm carbohydrate, 5 carb units



Vegetables and Hamburger Skillet (this issue)

1 serving

Penne pasta

1 cup

Lettuce salad with tomatoes, carrots, with fat-free Italian dressing 1-1/4 cup salad, 2 tbsp dressing
Breadstick 1

Pineapple tidbits

1/2 cup

766 kcal, 112 gm carbohydrate, 7.5 carb units

Total: 1800 kcal, 268 gm carbohydrates, 18 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

Want to know when a new issue comes out? Sign up for eNews