About Diabetes
Food & Diabetes
Medications & Diabetes
Current Issue
En Español
Recommended Websites
Your Guide to Diet and Diabetes
Recipes for Diabetes
Fiesta of Flavors: Traditional Hispanic Recipes for People with Diabetes

Karen Chapman Novakofski

Professor of Nutrition

Marilyn Csernus

Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness


December-January, 2017

[Open as PDF]

In This Issue

Diabetes - The Medical Perspective

If you are trying to manage your blood glucose, and you are not having good results, sometimes you need to think about what else may be influencing your blood glucose. For instance, an infection or a cold or flu can cause blood glucose levels to rise. Unfortunately, high blood glucose levels can also make healing time longer for infections, especially those like skin infections or bladder infections. Taking care of the infection will help lower your blood glucose levels.

Physical and emotional stress can also cause blood glucose levels to rise. Physical stress includes surgeries and injuries. Emotional stress can include depression and anxiety. Even positive stress can affect blood glucose. Things like weddings, vacations, or new grandchildren. If you are having surgery or have endured an injury, make sure your doctor knows you have diabetes. They may need to change your medication to better cover your blood glucose as you recover. If you are depressed or have high anxiety, talk to your health care provider about getting help. Think about activities that help lower your anxiety level.

Gastroparesis is a condition that sometimes occurs in those with diabetes. Gastroparesis is a slowing of the stomach's emptying because of nerve damage. Normally, nerves around the stomach make it contract and move the contents into the intestine. With gastroparesis, this slows down. With this slowing of gastric emptying, the food will be absorbed at different rates than normal. This can also cause blood glucose levels to be hard to manage. Symptoms of gastroparesis include getting full after eating small amounts. Some people will vomit after eating very much. Others may just feel very full and lose their appetite. Some people experience reflux, where the food comes back up the esophagus from the stomach. Some also have stomach pain.

Gastroparesis may come and go, or get better and then worse. Sometimes eating smaller meals and lower fat meals and snacks will help. High fiber foods are not recommended since they are not well digested and can stay in the stomach too long. There is medication to help control gastroparesis. Talk to your health care provider if you feel these symptoms describe you. Sometimes poor results with fingerstick blood glucose levels can result from the glucometer - the machine that tests the blood on the strip. Make sure you wash your hands well before the fingerstick. If you have no water available, alcohol or hand sanitizer will work. This is important because any food or juice that might be on your finger would also get into the finger's blood when you use the fingerstick. If you can't wash or use alcohol or sanitizer, use the second drop that comes out after wiping the first away with a clean tissue or cloth.

You should also test your meter once in a while with a control solution to make sure it is reading correctly. Be sure to check the expiration date on the control solution. Remember, once opened, the test solution is usually only good for 90 days. Make sure the strips you are using are not expired, and that they match your meter.

Last but not least, check any over-the-counter medications you may be taking. Pseudoephedrine, a decongestant for sinuses, can raise both blood glucose and blood pressure. Cough syrup can also cause these changes. Although not a medication, changing the amount of caffeinated beverages you drink can also cause changes in your blood glucose.

Diabetes and Food

Food choices, particularly carbohydrate foods directly affect blood glucose. Just as gastroparesis symptoms may be lessened with dietary changes, the same applies with other health concerns. During an illness or after surgery you might not be able to eat as usual. Good nutrition is important for recovery and for healing. This will happen faster if blood glucose levels stay within a safe range. It is important to maintain your typical carbohydrate intake to keep blood sugar stable. Sometimes this means depending on soups or liquids rather than solid foods.

Vanilla ice cream, applesauce, juice, yogurt, soup or mildly flavored foods can supply nourishment and carbohydrates until you are back to eating regularly.

Always follow your health care provider's advice concerning dietary modifications during illness or surgery.

Recipes to Try

More Than Potato Soup

6 - 1 cup servings


  • 2 teaspoons margarine
  • ⅔ cup water
  • 3 medium potatoes, peeled and sliced (3 cups)
  • 1 can (28-ounce) non-fat chicken broth
  • 1 small celery root
  • 2 small parsnips
  • 2 garlic cloves, chopped
  • Salt, to taste


  1. Melt margarine in large saucepan. Add all remaining ingredients except broth. Bring to a simmer and cook 15-20 minutes until most of the water has evaporated.
  2. Add the broth, bring to a simmer and cook until vegetables are tender.
  3. Mash with potato masher to desired consistency.
Nutrition Facts per serving
Calories 138
Fat 2 grams
Protein 4 grams
Calories from fat 18
Carbohydrate 28 grams
Cholesterol 0 mg
Fiber 4 grams
Sodium 345 mg

Chicken Stew

8 servings (1 piece chicken)


  • 8 chicken pieces
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 small garlic cloves, minced
  • 1 small onion, chopped
  • 1 ½ teaspoons salt
  • ½ teaspoon pepper
  • 3 medium tomatoes, chopped
  • 1 teaspoon parsley, chopped
  • ¼ cup celery, finely chopped
  • 2 medium potatoes, peeled and chopped
  • 2 small carrots, chopped
  • 2 bay leaves


  1. Remove the skin from the chicken and any extra fat. In a large skillet, combine chicken, water, garlic, onion, salt, pepper, tomatoes, and parsley. Tightly cover and cook over low heat for 25 minutes.
  2. Add celery, potatoes, carrots, and bay leaves and continue to cook for 15 more minutes or until chicken and vegetables are tender. Remove bay leaves before serving.
Nutrition Facts per serving
Calories 315
Fat 3 grams
Protein 55 grams
Calories from fat 27
Carbohydrate 13 grams
Cholesterol 137 mg
Fiber 2 grams
Sodium 605 mg

Sample Menu


Cheerios ¾ cup
Whole Wheat English Muffin ½
Soft tub margarine spread 2 teaspoons
Poached Egg 1
Vanilla Non-fat Greek Yogurt 6 ounces
Fresh raspberries 1 cup
Skim milk 1 cup
Nutrition Facts
Calories 510
Carbohydrates 66 Grams
Carbohydrate Choices 4.5


More Than Potato Soup* 1 cup
Baked Chicken Breast 4 ounces
Steamed Asparagus Spears 1 cup
Mixed Fruit Cup ½ cup
Vanilla Ice Cream ½ cup
Nutrition Facts
Calories 625
Carbohydrates 68 Grams
Carbohydrate Choices 4.5 Choices


Chicken Stew* 1 serving
Seasoned Green Beans* 1 serving
Sliced Pineapple ½ cup
Oatmeal Graham Bars* 1 serving
Skim milk 1 cup
Nutrition Facts
Calories 603
Carbohydrates 66 Grams
Carbohydrate Choices 4.5 Choices


Calories 1738
Carbohydrates 200 Grams
Carbohydrate Choices 13 ½ Choices

*Recipes from Recipes for Diabetes at extension.illinois.edu/diabetesrecipes/ or this newsletter

About Diabetes | Food & Diabetes | Medications & Diabetes | Current Issue | Archive | En Español

Download Diabetes Lifelines on the Apple App Store