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 2011

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

Blood glucose monitoring involves pricking your fingertip, putting a drop of blood on a test strip, and putting the test strip into the glucometer. Your fingertip may get sore, or even callused if you have been testing your blood glucose for a long time. Maybe you could use a different site to test your blood –someplace other than your fingertip.

Those sites might include your palm, arms, thighs, or calves. However, it is sometimes hard to get enough blood from these sites. With newer glucometers, less blood is needed. To see how much blood is needed and then to see if alternate blood sites work with your machine, you’ll need to read the directions that came with your glucometer.

You also need to consider a few other things in addition to whether your fingertip is sore or not. You should not try an alternate site if your blood glucose has been unstable; that is, if it has been sometimes high, sometimes normal or low. You also shouldn’t use an alternate site if you are sick because blood glucose often fluctuates a lot during illness. Alternate sites are better indicators of your true blood glucose before you eat; after you eat you should use your fingertip. Similarly, alternate sites are better before exercising; after exercising, use your fingertip.

Talk to your healthcare team and doctor about whether you can use alternate blood glucose monitoring sites instead of your fingertips. As you record your blood glucose levels, indicate if it is from your fingertip, or an alternate site. If it is an alternate site, write down which site it was.

Using alternate sites may require a little extra work. However, if your fingers get sore, it could be worth it.

Diabetes and Food

Why choose lower fat cheese, lunchmeat or crackers if you have diabetes? The first reason is the calories. Most people with diabetes are trying to maintain a healthy weight. That means not eating extra calories that could cause weight gain. Fat has 9 calories per gram, whereas both protein and carbohydrates have 4 calories per gram. This means that foods with a higher fat content will have more calories. An extra 5 calories per gram may not seem like much, but think about skim (fat free) milk versus whole milk. The difference in fat grams is zero vs 7.9 per 1 cup. This equals zero fat calories vs 71.1 calories. Drink 3 glasses per day, 7 days a week, and this adds up to many added calories.

A second reason for choosing lower fat foods more often if you have diabetes is the increased risk that people with diabetes have for developing heart disease. A preventive measure for heart disease is to lower fat intake.

Lower fat foods include lower fat dairy, whole cuts of meat rather than ground meat, chicken without skin or visible fat, tuna in water rather than oil, and lower fat grain and starchy foods. Choosing fat free or lower fat salad dressings, mayonnaise, and gravy is also a good way to lower overall fat.

Choose special treats that have lower fat, such as baked chips or cookies with lower fat.

These tips will help you lower dietary fat, lower heart disease risk, and help you maintain a healthy weight.

Medication Update

Glycet (miglitol) and Precose (acarbose) are both alpha-glucosidase inhibitors. They work by slowing the digestion of foods high in carbohydrates. Foods high in carbohydrates include grains, pasta, and starchy foods; milk; and fruit and juices. Slowing the digestion of these foods and taking one of these medications will help to slow the rise in blood glucose that happens after eating a carbohydrate-rich food.

These medications don’t lower blood glucose overall, like other oral medications do or like taking insulin does. Usually people take Glycet or Precose along with insulin or another oral medication.

While taking these medications plus another oral medication or insulin, your blood glucose may go too low. Your doctor will tell you warning signs to watch for, or have you monitor your blood glucose after meals.

Recipes To Try

Swiss Chicken
2 servings-3 ounces each
Preparation 25 minutes

  • 2 skinless chicken breasts, 3 ounces each
  • 1 tablespoon olive oil
  • 1 tablespoon minced garlic
  • 1.5 tablespoons flour
  • 1 ounce Swiss cheese
  • water
  1. Add oil and garlic to skillet. Cook chicken breasts over medium heat, 15-20 minutes, depending on thickness. Add water as needed to prevent burning or sticking. Brown chicken on each side.
  2. Remove chicken. Add flour and brown. Add cheese and stir while melting. Add about 1 tablespoon water to thin if needed.
  3. Add chicken and simmer another 5 minutes. Serve with sauce pouring over breast.

Nutrition facts per serving:

Calories 262
Protein 29 grams
Carbohydrate 5 grams
Fiber 0 grams
Fat 13 grams
Calories from fat 45%
Cholesterol 78 mg
Sodium 90 mg

Potato Salad with Shrimp and Feta Cheese
8 1-cup servings

Preparation & cooking time 30 minutes.

  • 0.75 pounds potatoes, cooked, quartered
  • 0.5 pounds cooked shrimp, de-tailed
  • 3 cups shredded lettuce
  • 1 cup bell pepper, chopped
  • 0.5 cup thinly sliced red onion
  • .25 cup crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tablespoon kalamata olives, pitted, chopped
  • .5 cup fat-free Italian dressing
  1. Toss lettuce and potatoes with dressing.
  2. Add other ingredients and toss gently.

Nutrition facts per serving

Calories 87
Protein 8 grams
Carbohydrate 10 grams
Fiber 1 grams
Fat 2 grams
Calories from fat 18%
Cholesterol 47 mg
Sodium 159 mg

Menu Suggestions



French toast

2 slices

Low calorie syrup

2 tablespoons

Lower fat margarine

1 tablespoon


1 medium

Skim milk

8 ounces


582 calories, 83 g carbohydrates, 5.5 carbohydrate choices



Low fat yogurt 6 ounces


1 medium

290 calories, 61 carbohydrates, 4 carbohydrate Choices


Asparagus frittata†

1 serving

Whole wheat toast

2 slices

Whipped margarine

2 teaspoons

Garden salad 1 cup
Fat free salad dressing 1 tablespoon
Pineapple bars† 2

Iced tea

8 ounces


700 calories, 75 carbohydrates, 5 carbohydrate choices



Swiss chicken†

1 serving

Hard roll


Margarine, whipped

2 teaspoons

Brown rice

1 cup

Steamed broccoli 1 cup
Skim milk 8 ounces
Sliced peaches .5 cup


717 calories, 79 carbohydrates, 5.5 carbohydrate choices



Total: 2028 calories, 298 carbohydrates, 20 carbohydrate choices


† recipes from Diabetes Lifelines or Recipes for Diabetes at http://urbanext.illinois.edu/diabetesrecipes/intro.cfm

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

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