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Karen Chapman Novakofski

Professor of Nutrition

Marilyn Csernus

Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness


October/November 2014

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In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

There is a strong link between diabetes and heart disease. Having diabetes increases your risk of heart disease or stroke 2-4 times more than someone without diabetes. Blood vessels are more at risk to the effects of high cholesterol, smoking and high blood pressure when diabetes is present.

Heart disease risk can be lessened by managing your ABCs of diabetes:

  • A for A1C test is a blood test used to measure your estimated average blood sugar over the last two to three months. This test lets your doctor know whether your diabetes treatment plan is working. To help prevent complications of diabetes an A1C of less than 7% (estimated average glucose of less than 154 mg/dl) is recommended, although 7% may not be appropriate for everyone. Your A1C goal may be different depending on your age or if your blood glucose levels sometimes drop too low. Keeping your average estimated glucose levels less than 154 (A1C less than 7%) can help protect your heart, kidneys, blood vessels, feet and eyes from the damage high blood glucose levels.
    Relationship between A1C and Estimated Average Glucose
    A1C PercentEstimated Average Glucose mg/dL
    6 126
    7 154
    8 183
    9 212
    10 240
    11 269
    12 298
  • B for Blood Pressure which is the force of your blood through the blood vessels. High blood pressure can cause a stroke or heart attack and damage your kidney and eyes. The most recent blood pressure treatment recommendation for people with diabetes is less than 140/80, but a lower goal may be appropriate for younger and/or recently diagnosed individualized.
  • C for Cholesterol, a waxy fat-like substance found in the bloodstream and the body's cells. LDL and HDL are two different types of cholesterol. LDL or "bad" cholesterol can build up plaque and clog the arterial wall causing heart attack and stroke. HDL or "good" cholesterol helps remove the ?bad? cholesterol from your blood. Discuss your cholesterol goals with your physician. If you are over 40 years old and have diabetes medication may be necessary to control cholesterol and decrease heart disease risk.
  • S is for Stop Smoking. Smoking is dangerous for everyone, but even more so if you have diabetes. Stopping smoking is one of the most positive behavior changes you can make to lower heart disease risk. Ask for help if unable to stop smoking on your own.


Diabetes and Food

A diabetes meal plan should also be heart healthy. Making a few changes in the foods you eat and how they are prepared can help keep your AIC, blood pressure and cholesterol levels within target ranges.

Having diabetes and eating heart healthy means making some of these changes within your daily carbohydrate choices.

  • Increasing dietary fiber intake by eating oatmeal, oat bran, whole grain breads and cereals.
  • Decrease intake of saturated fat and cholesterol by decreasing your intake of fatty meats, fried foods, sour cream, butter, lard, foods with palm or coconut oil, whole milk and whole milk dairy products.
  • Eat more skinless poultry, fish, plant-based protein and lean beef and pork.
  • Albacore tuna, halibut, mackerel, salmon, trout, sardines, flaxseed, English walnuts, canola, soybean, flaxseed and walnut oils are good sources of heart healthy omega-3 fatty acids.
  • Avoid foods with trans fats such as baked goods, crackers, candies, fried foods, solid shortenings, stick margarine, some tub margarines, coffee creamers, snack foods, and other foods made with partially hydrogenated oils.
  • Substitute healthier unsaturated fats for less healthy saturated fats. Choose liquid oils such as olive, canola and peanut oil instead of solid fats for cooking and baking. Select trans fat- free soft tub margarines. Nuts and seeds are healthy sources of fat.
  • Fill half of your plate with non-starchy vegetables. Eat whole fruit or fruit packed in its own juice within your carbohydrate choices.
  • Reduce sodium intake by cutting back on processed foods.


Recipes to Try

Easy Chicken Bundle

Easy Chicken BundleIngredients

(4-ounce) boneless chicken breast, skin removed
½ cup sliced carrots
½ cup broccoli
1 small onion sliced, ¼ inch thick
Pepper, to taste
2 tablespoons water
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 450°
  2. Spray 12x18 inch sheet of heavy-duty aluminum foil with non-stick cooking spray.
  3. Place chicken breast and vegetables on lower half of foil. Season with pepper (optional). Add water.
  4. Fold upper half of foil over food, meeting bottom edges of foil. Seal edges together making a tight ½ inch fold. Fold again. Repeat on sides. Place on cookie sheet and bake 20-25 minutes.
Nutrition Facts per serving; (1 serving per recipe)
1 gram
18 grams
1 gram
Calories from fat
0 grams
0 mg
3 mg



Apple Berry Crisp

Apple Berry CrispIngredients

1 large apple
¾ cup fresh or frozen unsweetened blueberries
4 packets Equal
¼ teaspoon cinnamon
¼ cup uncooked oats
¼ cup flour
1 tablespoon brown sugar
1 tablespoon chopped pecans
1½ tablespoons low-fat (not non-fat) margarine
Cooking spray

  1. Preheat oven to 350°.
  2. Coat inside of 1-quart heat-proof baking dish with cooking spray.
  3. Peel and slice apple into dish. Add fresh or frozen blueberries and toss lightly.
  4. Combine cinnamon and sweeteners in mixing bowl. Sprinkle over fruit.
  5. In same mixing bowl combine oats, flour, brown sugar, and pecans. Add margarine and mix with fork until crumbly. Sprinkle over fruit in baking dish.
  6. Bake for 20 minutes or just until fruit juices bubble up on sides and in the middle of the dish.
Nutrition Facts per serving; (4 servings per recipe)
3 grams
28 grams
4 grams
Calories from fat
4 grams
0 mg
30 mg

This and other recipes available at


Menu Suggestions

Breakfast Amount/Portion
Asparagus Frittata 1 serving
Whole wheat toast 1 slice (15 grams carbohydrate)
Soft tub margarine 1 teaspoon
Grapes 17 small
Skim Milk 2 cups (6 grams carbohydrate)
523 Calories; 48 grams Carbohydrates; 3 Carbohydrate Choices
Tangy Tuna Salad 1 serving
Whole wheat crackers 6 crackers
Tossed salad 1 cup (5 grams carbohydrate)
Olive oil vinaigrette salad dressing 1 tablespoon
Non-fat vanilla Greek yogurt
5 ounces
Blueberries ¾ cup
Roasted almonds 1 ounce
Skim milk 1 cup
690 Calories; 67 grams Carbohydrates; 4 Carbohydrate Choices
Italian Turkey Casserole 1 cup
Seasoned green beans ½ cup
Chopped vegetable salad 1 cup
Balsamic vinaigrette 2 teaspoons
Carrot cake 1 serving
Skim milk 1 cup
623 Calories; 72 grams Carbohydrates; 5 Carbohydrate Choices
Total: 1836 Calories, 187 grams Carbohydrates, 12 Carbohydrate Choices

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