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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April/May 2009

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

Good eye care is important for people with diabetes. Diabetes is the most common cause of blindness for adults 20 to 74 years old.

To help stop this from happening, it is important that you monitor your:

  • Blood glucose
  • Blood pressure
  • Cholesterol

If your blood glucose, blood pressure and blood cholesterol are all within your target range –GREAT!  If not, talk to your health care provider to find a plan to help you achieve your targets.

The Diabetes Control and Complications Trial showed that controlling these three things may reduce the risk of eye damage. The National Eye Institute also showed that you may reduce the risk of blindness by 95 percent by catching any problems early with yearly visits to your eye doctor (optometrist and/or ophthalmologist).

The American Diabetes Association suggests that if you have type 1 diabetes you should have an eye exam within 3-5 years of diabetes diagnosis.  However, if you have type 2 diabetes, you should get an eye exam immediately upon diagnosis.

For more information visit:

Diabetes and Food

Spring is here around the corner and there is no better time to think about healthy foods. From March to May many great fruits and vegetables start to become more readily available:

  • Asparagus
  • Broccoli
  • Greens
  • Cabbage 
  • Cucumbers
  • Herbs
  • Lettuce
  • Peas
  • Radishes
  • Rhubarb
  • Strawberries

Fruits and vegetables have no fat and are low in calories, so they make a perfect snack choice. Vegetables are a great choice since they are a free food so add one to one meal each day. Fruits will raise your blood glucose just like any other carbohydrate so be sure to eat the correct serving size.


Medication Update

The 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines encourage adults to get at least two and half hours of physical activity each week. These include activities like walking, bicycling, and dancing, or running, using resistance bands, and trying weights. It is really important to start new activities slowly and increase time and energy as you are comfortable. You should also talk to your doctor to see what is best for you.

You can even exercise when you are in the office or watching TV at night. Bob, from TV’s “Biggest Loser,” has many ideas for exercising during the day.

  • Push-ups - Lean forward against a desk or a firm table at an angle and keep your hands spread more than shoulder-width apart on the desk. Do push-ups into the desk. Try 30 each day.
  • Bicep Curls - Standing straight hold a dumbbell (if no dumbbells are available, use a small can of soup) in each hand by your side and curl. Do 25 curls each day.
  • Overhead Stretches – Stand up and reach up above your head, hold your wrists together and stretch to one side and then stretch to the other side.

For more ideas go to

Recipes To Try

Banana Split Oatmeal
1 serving

  • 1/3 cup dry oatmeal, quick-cooking
  • 1/8 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 sliced banana
  • 3/4 cup very hot water
  • 1/2 cup frozen yogurt, non-fat
  1. In a microwave safe cereal bowl, mix together the oatmeal and salt. Stir in water.
  2. Microwave on high for one minute. Stir. Microwave on high for another minute. Stir again.
  3. Microwave an extra 30-60 seconds on high power until the cereal reaches the desired thickness. Stir again.
  4. Top with banana slices and frozen yogurt.

Per serving:
Calories 150
Fat 1gram
Protein 4 grams    
Calories from fat 10
Carbohydrate 30 grams     
Cholesterol 0 mg
Fiber 4 grams
Sodium 290 mg

Seasoned Green Beans
4 servings

  • 1 cup non-fat broth
  • 1 (10-ounce) package frozen green beans or 2 cups fresh green beans
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1/2 teaspoon commercial herb mixture
  • Juice of one lemon or 1 tablespoon lemon juice
  • Black pepper to taste
  1. Heat broth to boiling.
  2. Add beans, onion, and seasoning mix.
  3. Turn heat down. Cook 15-20 minutes.
  4. Before serving, sprinkle with lemon juice and pepper.

Per serving:
Calories 36
Fat 0  g
Protein 1 gram
Calories from fat  0
Carbohydrate 7 grams
Cholesterol 0 mg
Fiber 2  grams      
Sodium 10 mg

Menu Suggestions



1 serving of Banana Split Oatmeal* 

2 starches

1 boiled egg

1 meat

215 calories, 30 grams carbohydrate  



2 ounces turkey breast

2 meats

2 slices whole wheat bread

2 starches

1 teaspoon mustard Free

1 cup cut raw vegetables

1 vegetable

1 peach

1 fruit

1 cup 1% milk

1 milk

575 kcal, 78 gm carbohydrate, 5 carb units



3 ounces chicken breast

3 meats

1 medium baked potato

2 starches

3 tablespoons of reduced fat sour cream 1 fat  
1/3 cup brown rice 1 starch
1/2 cup Seasoned Green Beans 1 vegetable
1/2 cup cooked carrots 1 vegetable
1/2 cup sugar-free fruit cocktail 1 fruit
1 cup 1% milk 1 milk
Evening Snack:  
3 cups light popcorn 1 starch

1 oz low–fat cheese

1 meat

135 calories, 15grams carbohydrate

Total: 1,420 calories, 184 grams carbohydrates
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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