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Karen Chapman Novakofski

Professor of Nutrition

Marilyn Csernus

Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness


February/March 2015

[Open as PDF]

In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

March is National Nutrition Month and this year's theme is Bite into a Healthy Lifestyle. Who better to guide you to healthy food choices than a registered dietitian? There is no shortage of nutrition information and advice these days, whether on social media, in magazines or even from well-meaning friends and family. Unfortunately, this information may not be appropriate or safe. Diabetes meal planning should be individualized and never seen as "one size fits all." A registered dietitian's advice is backed by evidenced based science, not by nutrition folklore, myths or popular science.

A registered dietitian is a nutrition expert who has the qualifications to help you understand how different foods affect blood glucose levels, and guide you on a path towards a healthy lifestyle. Your dietitian is part of your health care team. Your doctor can refer you to a registered dietitian at your local hospital. Don't be shy about asking to see a dietitian. Medicare and most insurance companies cover diabetes self- management counseling with a registered dietitian. It is especially important to see a registered dietitian when newly diagnosed with diabetes. Most people feel very overwhelmed during this time and a registered dietitian can help dispel a lot of misinformation and lessen the anxiety over this new diagnosis. It's important to follow-up with your dietitian any time you are having difficulty staying on track or meeting your glucose target goals. The journey of diabetes management has many ups and downs and a registered dietitian is a great ally and source of credible individualized nutrition advice along the way. To find a registered dietitian in your area visit the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics website at http://www.eatright.org/find-an-expert

What can you expect from your visit with a registered dietitian? Prior to your visit your dietitian will have reviewed your medical history, medications, glucose, AIC, cholesterol and other relevant lab results. Just like at the doctor's office the dietitian will measure your height and weight and likely ask about any history of weight gain or loss. Expect to do most of the talking during your first visit. Your dietitian needs to learn about your usual habits in order to help you identify areas of change that can lead to better diabetes management.


Diabetes and Food

Diabetes self-management requires decision making skills. Many of these decisions revolve around food choices. Although you may not think so at first, your dietitian is not doing you any favors by handing over a set menu to follow. The dietitian's job is to guide you in making healthier food choices. This includes understanding portion sizes, timing of meals and snacks, and how eating the proper amount and type of carbohydrate, protein and fat affects glucose, cholesterol and blood pressure levels.

Be ready to discuss the following during your visit with a dietitian:

  1. Usual meal-time and snacking habits. Do you have flexibility in your meal schedule or eat on more of a set schedule? Do you eat breakfast? If you snack what are your "go to" snack choices?
  2. A typical day's food recall. What did you eat yesterday? This will help your dietitian get a snapshot of your eating habits.
  3. Food likes and dislikes. What good does it do to hear you need to drink skim milk if you have a strong dislike for milk?
  4. Who does the cooking? It's important for the dietitian to understand family size and meal-time habits.
  5. Beverage choices and habits? How often do you drink sweetened beverages?
  6. Cooking methods. How do you typically prepare foods? Are you deep frying foods or more likely to use the oven or grill?
  7. Dining out or eating at home? This will give your dietitian a better understanding of how often you are preparing food at home and how often and where you are dining out.
  8. Review you weight status. Are you overweight or obese? How is this affecting your diabetes?

All of this information will help your dietitian guide you in setting goals that are realistic and achievable. A dietitian's job is not to lay down a set of food rules or hand over a weeks printed menu. Managing diabetes requires you to make many decisions every day. A dietitian will teach you appropriate diabetes self-management skills whether it be identifying and choosing healthy sources of carbohydrates, determining carbohydrate needs or carbohydrate counting. Your health care team, including your dietitian, is always there for support and regular follow-up to make sure you are staying on track.


Recipes to Try

Italian Chicken

Cauliflower Potato Soup Ingredients

6 (4-ounces each) skinless, boneless chicken breasts
3 tablespoons flour
1 tablespoon olive oil
2 tablespoons onion, minced
½ teaspoon minced garlic
1 cup tomato sauce
½ teaspoon rosemary
¼ teaspoon pepper
½ teaspoon basil
½ teaspoon oregano

  1. Wash chicken pieces, pat dry. On a sheet of waxed paper, dredge chicken in flour.
  2. In a 10-inch nonstick skillet, heat oil over medium heat until hot. Add chicken and cook 2-5 minutes on each side, turning occasionally until lightly browned on all sides.
  3. Using tongs, remove chicken from skillet. Set aside.
  4. In same skillet, sauté onion and garlic until softened. Add tomato sauce and seasonings. Using wooden spoon, stir well.
  5. Cook, stirring frequently, until liquid is reduced by half (about 3 or 4 minutes).
  6. Return chicken to skillet. Cook until sauce thickens and chicken is heated through.
Nutrition Facts per serving; (6 servings per recipe)
36 grams
6 grams
1 gram
Calories from fat
6 grams
96 mg
331 mg



Green Beans with Feta

Pineapple Whipped Salad Ingredients

1 pound fresh green beans
½ cup feta cheese crumbles with basil and dried tomatoes

  1. Wash green beans and trim ends.
  2. Steam for 6 minutes.
  3. Place in serving bowl and toss with feta crumbles.
Nutrition Facts per serving; (6 servings per recipe)
4 grams
6 grams
2.6 gram
Calories from fat
4 grams
10 mg
321 mg

This and other recipes available at


Menu Suggestions

Breakfast Amount/Portion
Asparagus Frittata 1 serving
Whole wheat English muffin 1 muffin
Soft tub margarine 2 teaspoons
Fresh orange 1 small
Skim milk 1 cup
592 Calories; 60 grams Carbohydrates; 4 Carbohydrate Choices
Tangy tuna salad 1 serving
Whole wheat bread 2 slices
Cut raw vegetables 1 cup
Low fat Ranch salad dressing 1 tablespoon
Purple grapes 16 grapes
Skim milk 1 cup
535 Calories; 62.5 grams Carbohydrates; 4 Carbohydrate Choices
Italian chicken 1 serving
Whole grain pasta 1 cup
Green beans with feta 1 cup
Non-fat Greek yogurt 6 ounces
Skim milk 1 cup
714 Calories; 72 grams Carbohydrates; 5 Carbohydrate Choices
Total: 1841 Calories, 194.5 grams Carbohydrates, 13 Carbohydrate Choices

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