Karen Chapman Novakovski - Associate Professor of Nutrition

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April/May 2013

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

Summer is coming and temperatures are rising. During the steamy summer weather, it is especially important to stay hydrated. Water accounts for 60-70% of our body weight and is essential for digestion, transporting nutrients and oxygen to cells, and carrying wastes and toxins out of the body. For most people, the recommendation for water is 64 ounces a day.

Keep a water bottle handy to sip on throughout the day. If you find water boring, add a slice of lemon, a couple pieces of frozen fruit, or a little splash of fruit juice for flavor. Try to have a glass when you wake up and at each meal. If you are a soda or tea drinker, have a glass of water in between your other usual beverages. If you find you are forgetful about drinking water, pledge to have a small glass each time you walk into the kitchen at home or the break room at work.

Diabetes and Food

Fast food is convenient when you are on the go, but just because you grab dinner at the drive-through doesn't mean you have to throw your healthy eating habits out the window. More than ever, fast food restaurants are offering healthy options such as fruit and "light options". Even regular menu items can fit into a balanced meal plan. Here are a few tips to stay on track at the fast food counter:

  • Say no to "super-size." It might seem like more food for your money, but one supersized meal can contain more than half of the calories and fat that a typical person should eat in a whole day. Stick with small menu items.
  • If you are very hungry, consider ordering extra meat on your sandwich. One burger with two patties has fewer carbohydrates than two burgers.
  • Order grilled chicken instead of fried chicken. Frying adds extra fat and the breading adds carbohydrates. Choose lean meats such as chicken or turkey instead of high-fat options such as meatballs.
  • Choose diet soda, unsweetened tea, or water.
  • Sauces can be a hidden source of fat and carbohydrate. Order menu items with "no-sauce" or "light sauce."
  • Many fast food restaurants offer salads, but sometimes they contain high-fat meats and cheese that give them more calories than a burger. Order "light cheese" if possible and use salad dressing sparingly to cut down on fat and calories.
  • A small order of fries can have as much fat and calories as most desserts! Try to avoid ordering fries every time you have fast food. When you do have fries, order a small or share with a friend.
  • Try something new! You might find that you like one of the newer "healthy options" even more than your regular favorite.


Medication Update

Medications can be expensive, especially when you have more than one prescription. Generic versions of some oral glucose-regulating medications are available. Talk to your doctor or pharmacist to find out of generic medications are an option for you.

The cost of medication can vary between pharmacies, so check around to see if you are getting the lowest price. Ask your doctor to prescribe you the strongest dose suitable for your medication schedule. You can use a pill splitter to cut a pill into the correct dose. For example, you can cut a 500mg pill into two 250 mg doses which can save money on prescription refills well as trips to the pharmacy.


Recipes To Try

Pineapple Tostadas

¾ lb. ground beef 
2 Tbsp. olive oil 
½ c. chopped onion 
2 Tbsp. chopped green pepper 
1 clove garlic, minced 
1 Tbsp. chili powder 
8 oz. tomato sauce 
¾ tsp. salt 
4 corn tortillas 
4 c. shredded lettuce 
1 c. shredded Jack cheese 
¼ c. dairy sour cream 
1 8¼ oz. can sliced pineapple (drained) 

  1. Brown beef in 1 tablespoon oil in a large heavy skillet. Drain excess fat.
  2. Add onion, green pepper, and garlic to skillet and sauté until tender. Stir in chili powder, tomato sauce and salt.
  3. Fry tortillas in remaining tablespoon oil until crisp; drain and keep warm.
  4. Add well-drained pineapple slices to skillet and sauté until heated and tinged brown.
  5. To assemble, place ¼ cup beef mixture on each tortilla and cover with ½ cup lettuce. Repeat layers.
  6. Top each stack with a slice of pineapple, ¼ cup cheese and tablespoon sour cream. Serve at once.
Nutrition Facts per serving; 4 servings per recipe (2 tortillas each)
23 grams 
Protein 28 grams  Calories from fat 72 
Carbohydrate 32 grams Cholesterol 86 mg 
Fiber 5 grams Sodium 1,018 mg



Oven-Fried Yuca

1 pound fresh yucca (cassava), cut into 3-inch sections and peeled (or 1 pound peeled frozen yucca) 
Nonstick cooking oil spray 

  1. In a kettle, combine the yucca with enough cold water to cover it by one inch. Bring the water to a boil, and slowly simmer the yucca for 20 to 30 minutes, or until it is tender.
  2. Preheat oven to 350ºF.
  3. Transfer the yucca with a slotted spoon to a cutting board, let it cool, and cut it lengthwise into ¾-inch-wide wedges, discarding the thin woody core.
  4. Spray cookie sheet with the nonstick cooking oil spray.
  5. Spread yucca wedges on cookie sheet, and spray wedges with cooking oil spray. Cover with foil paper and bake for 8 minutes. Uncover and return to oven to bake for an additional 7 minutes.
Nutrition Facts per serving; 6 servings per recipe (2.5 inch pieces)
Calories 121
Fat  0.5 grams
Protein 1 grams  Calories from fat
Carbohydrate 29 grams  Cholesterol 0 mg
Fiber 1 grams  Sodium 10 mg


Menu Suggestions

Breakfast Amount/Portion
Low-fat yogurt 1 cup
Mixed berries 1 cup
High fiber cereal 1 cup
Toasted pecans ½ ounce (about 9 halves)
360 Calories; 66 Carbohydrates; 4 Carbohydrate Choices
White Albacore tuna in water 3 ounces
Mayonnaise 1 Tablespoon
Whole grain crackers 6 crackers
Celery 1 stalk
245 Calories; 11 Carbohydrates; 1 Carbohydrate Choice
Whole grain bread 2 slices
Deli-cut turkey slices 2 ounces
Lettuce, tomato, mustard Unlimited
Bell pepper 1 medium pepper- cut into strips
Ranch dressing 2 Tablespoons
Apple 1 small piece
408 Calories; 71 Carbohydrates; 5 Carbohydrate Choices
Pineapple Tostadas† 1 serving
Oven-fried Yuca† 1 serving
Green salad with tomato and cucumber Unlimited
Low-fat dressing 2 Tablespoons
Skim milk 1 cup
716 Calories; 75 Carbohydrates; 5 Carbohydrate Choices
1729 Calorites, 223 Carbohydrates, 15 Carbohydrate Choices


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