Karen Chapman Novakovski - Associate Professor of Nutrition

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August/September 2013

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

Checking your blood glucose has never been easier—or has it? There is the “how to do it” part and the “what do I do with that information” part.  Sometimes it is good to review everything involved with checking your blood glucose.

How to Do It?

The first part of “how to do it” relates to the meter:

  • Choosing a meter
  • Calibrating the meter
  • Using the right strips
  • Storing the readings

An equally important part of “how to do it” is how to use the l penlet:

  • Inserting lancets
  • Adjusting depth
  • How penlet projects lancet
  • Disposing of lancets

There are also the issues of where to stick, how to clean the skin to be stuck, and how to massage to get blood.

What Do I Do With That Information?

From a practical standpoint, do you:

  • Write the value in a book
  • Have the meter store the data
  • Store the data in your computer
  • Automatically send to your health care provider via the internet or mobile device

More clinical or self-management issues include:

  • Knowing your target blood glucose
  • Knowing what time and how often to take the reading
  • Knowing what to do with medication and food if the reading is too high or too low


Diabetes and Food

Going to a picnic 1 or 2 more times before fall? Everyone likes a good potato salad, but some recipes can be more than 300 calories per ½ cup!

A salad with fewer calories is Dill Potato Salad which has 220 calories per 1 cup.  http://urbanext.illinois.edu/diabetesrecipes/recipe.cfm?recipe=Dill%20Potato%20Salad.

If you are willing to trade beans for potatoes, you’ll lower your carbs.  Four Bean Salad has just 126 calories per cup and half the carbohydrate grams as the Dill Potato Salad.

For equal calories at 62 per ½ cup or 124 per 1 cup is Corn Salad. It has about the same carbohydrate grams as the Dill Potato Salad.

Remember to keep hot foods hot and cold foods cold. If you want more information about Meat and Food Safety, visit


Diabetes and Food

There are many herbs and botanicals used to treat diabetes. One of those is gymnema sylvestre.  This plant is a large woody climber found in India, Africa and Australia.  Both the dried leaf and dried root are often used.  The main component, gymnemic acid, is primarily made of compounds called saponins.   There have been no good clinical trials to see if this botanical is effective in controlling blood glucose. However, animal studies suggest that gymnema may be as effective as the oral anti-diabetic medication called tolbutamide. This finding needs to be replicated in humans before any conclusions can be made.

If you are taking this botanical supplement, be sure to monitor your blood glucose often. Taking this supplement with oral medications or insulin could make your blood glucose go too low. Discuss your use of this botanical with your health care provider to be sure your medications are adjusted appropriately.


Recipes to Try


Rainbow Gelatin Salad


1 package (0.32 ounce) sugar-free orange   gelatin
1-½ cup boiling water
1 can (20 ounce) pineapple tidbits
2 teaspoons lime juice
1 cup combination of shredded carrot, broccoli, red cabbage, cauliflower (ready-to-serve package may need additional chopping)
¼ cup slivered almonds

  1. Dissolve gelatin in boiling water.
  2. Add undrained pineapple and lime juice.
  3. Fold in vegetable shreds and almonds. Chill until firm.
Nutrition Facts per serving; ½ cup
1 grams
6 grams
1 grams
Calories from fat
1 grams
0 mg
24 mg

This and other recipes available at


Mango Pie

Ingredients Tostadas

1 tablespoon unflavored gelatin
½ cup nonfat milk
1 8-ounce package reduced-fat cream cheese, at room temperature
½ cup Splenda
1 cup light sour cream
2 tablespoons lime juice
½ teaspoon rum extract
2 ripe mangoes, peeled, pitted, diced into ¼-inch pieces
1 9-inch reduced fat graham crust

  1. Sprinkle the gelatin over the milk in a small saucepan. Let stand until the gelatin softens, about 1 minute. Cook over low heat, stirring constantly, until the gelatin dissolves, about 2 minutes.
  2. Beat the cream cheese and Splenda in a medium bowl with an electric mixer on high speed until smooth. Gradually beat in the sour cream, lime juice and rum extract. Gradually beat in the dissolved gelatin mixture.
  3. Refrigerate until the filling thickens slightly but is still pourable, about 30 minutes. Fold the mango into the filling.
  4. Pour the filling into the crust. Refrigerate again until the filling is set, at least 2 hours or overnight.
Nutrition Facts per serving; makes 8 servings
5 grams
36 grams
1 grams
Calories from fat
14 grams
26 mg
376 mg

This and other recipes available at

Menu Suggestions

Breakfast Amount/Portion
Multigrain bagel 1
Low-fat peanut butter 2 tablespoons
Skim milk 8 ounces
593 Calories; 89 Carbohydrates; 6 Carbohydrate Choices
Italian beef submarine with cheese ½ sandwich
Baby carrots 10
Garden salad 1 cup
Fat free French salad dressing 1 tablespoon
Cantaloupe cubes 1 cup
570 Calories; 83 Carbohydrates; 5.5 Carbohydrate Choices
Tex-Mex fillet 1 serving
Basil lemon green beans 1 cup
Fresh summer squash .5 cup
Mango pie 1 serving
Skim milk 1 cup
692 Calories; 71 Carbohydrates; 16 Carbohydrate Choices
Total: 1855 Calorites, 243 Carbohydrates, 16 Carbohydrate Choices

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