Karen Chapman Novakovski - Associate Professor of Nutrition

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Februrary/March 2014

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

February is Heart Health month. Those with diabetes have a higher risk of heart disease, so February Heart Healthy skills are especially important.

The American Heart Association uses 7 ways to a healthy heart to increase awareness and health:

  1. Don't smoke. Smoking can increase blood pressure.
  2. Eat healthy. Include fruits, vegetables and whole grains, low fat dairy, and lean meat. Choose fried foods, high fat breads or cereals, higher fat ground meats, added sugars and fats less often. Those with diabetes should work these ideas into their meal plan as possible.
  3. Exercise regularly. Those with diabetes may want to consult their doctor if they are planning a rigorous new activity. For less strenuous activities, like walking, make sure that shoes fit well. If taking insulin, checking blood glucose levels before and after activities could be helpful, at least until a routine is reached.
  4. Don't drink too much alcohol. For those with diabetes, make sure alcohol and your medications are compatible and that the calories fit in your meal plan.
  5. Get regular health screening, including blood pressure, blood glucose for maintenance of goals, and blood lipids.
  6. Watch your weight. Determine the best weight for you with your doctor and health care providers. Together, make a plan to achieve your goals.
  7. Reduce stress. Learn to cope with life's difficulties in positive ways.

It may not be possible to work on all 7 healthy choices at once. Think about what is possible for you, talk to your health care provider for help, and put your heart into your daily routine!


Diabetes and Food

For people who read the Nutrition Facts Labels, what they read most often is the amount of fat in the food. What is the amount of fat to look for?

Although the amount of fat a person should eat is based on how many calories you need to maintain a healthy weight, you can use the Nutrition Facts label to help choose among different foods.

5% Daily Value is low

20% Daily value is high

So, if you are choosing between two frozen lunch meals and one (roast beef with mashed potatoes and gravy) has 10% Daily Value for fat and the other (chicken with penne pasta and carrots) has 8% Daily Value for fat, the chicken meal is a better choice.

If the fats in a meal are equal, choose the one with the lower saturated fat. This is the fat from animal products. Usually increased vegetables and whole grains in a meal will mean less animal products, and less saturated fat.

Staying away from trans fat is a good idea, but look at the total fat and saturated fat as well. A food can be labelled "trans fat-free" but still be high in total fat (closer to 20% Daily Value) and higher in saturated fat.

Diabetes and Medications

More people are diagnosed with diabetes every day. The number of companies wanting to make money with promises of "natural" treatment seems to be growing as well.

This past summer, the Food And Drug Administration (FDA) issued warning letters to 15 companies warning them about violations of federal law for selling products for diabetes. These products included dietary supplements and over-the counter medications.

According to the FDA, examples of claims on these products included:

  • "lowers your blood sugar naturally"
  • "for relief of diabetic foot pain"
  • "can replace medicine for treatment of diabetes"

The FDA warns that these drugs may have undeclared ingredients that can cause short-term harm, like unexpected hypoglycemia, and long-term harm like cancer. Check for fraud here


Recipes to Try

Crustless Spinach Quiche

Crustless Spinach QuicheIngredients

5 large eggs, beaten, or equivalent of egg substitute
6 ounces low-fat (1%) cottage cheese
4 ounces feta cheese
½ cup shredded Swiss cheese
2 tablespoons margarine
½ teaspoon nutmeg
10 ounces frozen spinach, thawed, drained
Non-stick cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Spray a quiche or 10-inch pie pan with cooking spray.
  3. In a large bowl, combine all ingredients except spinach.
  4. Stir in spinach.
  5. Pour into pan. Bake for 35-45 minutes until lightly browned on top.
Nutrition Facts per serving; (8 servings per recipe)
11 grams
3 grams
1 grams
Calories from fat
10 grams
149 mg
382 mg



Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin CookiesIngredients

1¼ cups rolled oats
¾ cup flour
½ teaspoon cinnamon
½ teaspoon ginger
¼ teaspoon salt (optional)
½ teaspoon baking powder
½ cup reduced fat margarine
13 cup dark brown sugar, packed
½ cup Splenda
1 egg
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
13 cup chopped raisins
Non-stick cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 350°
  2. Combine oats, flour, cinnamon, ginger, salt and baking powder.
  3. In another bowl, cream margarine, brown sugar and Splenda with mixer. Beat in eggs and vanilla.
  4. Stir in dry ingredients, then raisins.
  5. Drop heaping teaspoons onto cookie sheet sprayed with cooking spray.
  6. Bake 8-10 minutes. Cool on wire rack.
Nutrition Facts per serving; (per cookie - Recipe makes 30 cookies)
1 gram
8 grams
1 gram
Calories from fat
2 grams
7 mg
50 mg

This and other recipes available at


Menu Suggestions

Breakfast Amount/Portion
Crustless Spinach Quiche 1 serving
Whole wheat toast 3 slices
Whipped margarine 1 tablespoon
Fresh orange 1
Fat free yogurt 6 ounces
Skim milk 1 cup
640 Calories; 88 Carbohydrates; 6 Carbohydrate Choices
Bean burrito 1
Salsa ¼ cup
Green salad 1 cup
Low fat Italian salad dressing 2 teaspoons
Oatmeal raisin cookies 3
Skim milk 1 cup
690 Calories; 98 Carbohydrates; 6.5 Carbohydrate Choices
Vegetable beef stir fry 3 ounces beef, 1 cup vegetables
Brown rice 1 cup
Whole wheat bread 1 slice
Whipped margarine 1 teaspoon
Apricots, lite syrup ½ cup
Skim milk 1 cup
700 Calories; 93 Carbohydrates; 6 Carbohydrate Choices
Total: 2030 Calories, 279 Carbohydrates, 18.5 Carbohydrate Choices

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