Karen Chapman Novakovski - Associate Professor of Nutrition

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Fiesta of Flavors: Traditional Hispanic Recipes for People with Diabetes


June/July 2013

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

Most hearing loss is “sensorineural”-meaning that a nerve, or the inner ear containing the nerve, or the part of the brain receiving that message through the nerve is not working well.

Many think of hearing loss as part of growing older. It is true that more older adults suffer hearing loss than younger ones. Repeated exposure to loud noise, some infections, and chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes may also increase risk for hearing loss. It is not known whether diabetes by itself increases hearing loss risk, or whether the increased risk for heart disease when you have diabetes is what really influences the hearing loss.

Insurance and Medicare often covers a hearing evaluation every several years. The American Association of Retired Persons (AARP) has a brochure available online that covers how to select someone to test your hearing, explains how you hear, all about hearing aids, and where to get more information. That brochure is available here.

Being able to hear warning or instructions is important. Also important is being able to enjoy the people around you; the sounds of nature; your favorite music. Although having diabetes means you may have to change some habits to stay healthy, it shouldn’t mean you have to give up hearing the sounds of people, things and nature. Talk to your health care provider if you feel you hearing is not what it once was.

Diabetes and Food

Breakfast can be a frustrating meal whether you have diabetes or not. It is a time when most of us don’t feel like cooking. Many of us aren’t particularly hungry. And yet, fueling your body in the morning is a must if you have diabetes and a good idea for the rest of the world as well.

Traditional breakfast foods include toast, cereal, pancakes, waffles, eggs, and omelets. Often coffee or tea, juice and milk are added as beverages. This can be a lot of carbohydrates if eggs or egg substitutes are eaten. This can be a lot of fat if the waffles or pancakes are not low fat versions. Then there is the spreads for toast that can be high both in fat or carbohydrates.

To add protein to breakfast, some foods that are not traditionally “breakfast foods” can be helpful. Think about low fat cheeses, low fat yogurt, low fat smoothies, or low fat cottage cheese. Made the night before, a quiche can add both carbohydrates and protein.

Recipes to Try


Spanish Omelet


1 tablespoon chopped onion
1 tablespoon chopped green pepper
1/2 tablespoon olive oil
3 eggs or egg substitutes, lightly beaten
1/4 cup chopped tomato

  1. In a medium non-stick saute pan, cook onion and pepper in olive oil. Remove from pan and add tomato.
  2. Add eggs or egg substitutes, gently moving eggs to center to allow even cooking for omelet.
  3. Add onions, pepper, and tomato to one half of egg mixture. Fold other half over, covering vegetables.
Nutrition Facts per serving; 1 servings per recipe
19 grams
6 grams
1 grams
Calories from fat
21 grams
645 mg
175 mg

This and other recipes available at


Salmon and Asparagus Salad


4 cups water
6 salmon fillets, 4 ounces each
1 tablespoon margarine
2 cups asparagus, cut in 1-inch pieces
3 cups cooked rice
1 cup thawed frozen peas
1/2 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon pepper

  1. Use 4 cups of water in a skillet to steam or poach salmon until salmon flakes with a fork. Remove salmon and discard water.
  2. Heat margarine in a skillet and add asparagus, cooking until tender.
  3. Stir in rice, peas, salmon, salt, and pepper.
  4. Cook about one minute, just to heat, stirring to prevent sticking.
Nutrition Facts per serving; makes 6 servings
29 grams
28 grams
3 grams
Calories from fat
16 grams
71 mg
419 mg

This and other recipes available at

Menu Suggestions

Breakfast Amount/Portion
Spanish Omelet 1 serving
Whole wheat toast 2 slices
Whipped margarine 1 tablespo0n
Orange juice 12 ounces
554 Calories; 54 Carbohydrates; 3 Carbohydrate Choices
Salmon and asparagus salad 1 serving
French bread 2 slices
Whipped margarine 1 tablespoon
Plum 1 medium
Skim milk 1 cup
604 Calories; 71 Carbohydrates; 5 Carbohydrate Choices
Chicken, skinless, baked 3 ounces
Mashed potatoes 1 cup
Fat free chicken gravy .25 cup
Carrots, grated, steamed 1 cup
Skim milk 1 cup
709 Calories; 75 Carbohydrates; 5 Carbohydrate Choices
Total: 1967 Calorites, 200 Carbohydrates, 13 Carbohydrate Choices

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