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Karen Chapman Novakofski

Professor of Nutrition

Marilyn Csernus

Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness


August-September 2018

[Open as PDF]

In This Issue
  • Diabetes - the Medical Perspective
  • Diabetes and Food
  • Recipes to Try
  • Menu Suggestions


Vaccines and Diabetes

Cold and flu season is upon us.  Unfortunately, sometimes a cold or flu can progress to pneumonia. Pneumonia is an infection in the lungs that can make it difficult to breath. Anyone can develop pneumonia, but people with diabetes are at a greater risk from pneumonia. Higher blood glucose levels make it harder for white blood cells to fight infections. The immune system is our body’s defense to fight illness. Infants and young children’s immune system is not totally developed and our immune system slows down as we age.

The risk of developing diabetes and other chronic illnesses increase with two good pneumonia vaccines available in the United States.

  • Prevnar 13® vaccine protects against 13 pneumococcal bacteria
  • Pneumovax 23® vaccine protects against 23 pneumococcal bacteria

Other vaccines that are recommended for individuals with diabetes:

  • Annual flu vaccine
  • Hepatitis B vaccine
  • Tdap vaccine (tetanus, diphtheria, pertussis)
  • Zoster vaccine (shingles).

Only your healthcare provider can determine which vaccines may be appropriate for you and when they should be given.

Diabetes and Food

Eating a variety of healthy foods helps strengthen your immune system and keep your blood glucose levels well managed.

The best way to manage diabetes is to understand your individual nutrition needs. One size does not fit all just because you have diabetes. It is wise to meet with a registered age. Seniors with diabetes or other chronic illnesses are at greater risk for pneumonia. Smokers, people with heart disease, chronic lung disease, and anyone receiving treatment for cancer or has had an organ transplant are also at a greater risk for pneumonia.

The pneumonia bacteria can be spread through person-to-person contact such as hugging, kissing, or being coughed on. Symptoms of pneumonia include a cough producing yellow, gray or blood streaked mucus, fever, chest pain, and chills. Anyone living in close quarters like a school dormitory or nursing home increases risk of spreading the pneumonia bacteria.

Keeping your blood glucose well managed is another important step in fighting infections. 

The Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports that deaths related to pneumonia are dropping. This is because there are dietitian and certified diabetes educator to develop a diabetes eating plan specific to your needs. This is especially important when first diagnosed with diabetes, but also important for reinforcement and updating your eating plan as your needs change.

Your age and activity level will determine your calorie needs. Carbohydrate intake increases blood glucose levels. For better glucose management carbohydrate intake needs to be monitored. This will help determine how much you can eat at meals and snacks and still manage your blood glucose.

Healthier carbohydrates are vegetables, fruits, and whole grains. Less healthy carbohydrates are sweetened beverages, candy, desserts, and highly processed foods and foods with added sugar and fats.

A diabetes educator can help you determine your carbohydrate needs. If your blood glucose is 180 mg/dl or higher two hours after a meal it may show that you are eating too much carbohydrate at the past meal, or you need to have your diabetes medication adjusted. 

Recipes to Try

Asian Chicken Breast

6 servings per recipe


  • 6 boneless chicken breast
  • ¼ cup olive oil
  • 2 tablespoons reduced sodium soy sauce
  • 2 garlic cloves, crushed
  • 1 tablespoon minced ginger
  • 1 ½ tablespoon country Dijon mustard
  • ¼ teaspoon salt
  • ¼ teaspoon freshly ground black pepper


  1. Place chicken breast in a plastic storage bag and pound lightly with the flat side of a meat mallet.
  2. Combine olive oil, soy sauce, garlic, ginger, mustard, salt, and pepper.
  3. Brush chicken breast with marinate mixture.
  4. Refrigerate at least for 2 hours.
  5. Grill on medium-high for about 12 minutes on each side or until internal temperature of 165 ° Fahrenheit.
Nutrition Facts per serving
Calories 182
Fat 10 grams
Protein 20 grams
Calories from fat 90
Carbohydrate 2 grams
Cholesterol 48 mg
Fiber  0 grams
Sodium 476 mg
This and other recipes available at http://urbanext.illinois.edu/diabetesrecipes/intro.cfm

Beef Barley Soup

7 servings per recipe


  • 2 teaspoons canola oil
  • 1 pound boneless beef round steak, cubed
  • 2 carrots, sliced
  • ½ cup onion, chopped
  • 1 cup fresh mushrooms, sliced
  • 1 cup celery, chopped
  • 48 ounces of reduced sodium beef broth
  • 14 ounces petite cut diced tomatoes, no added salt
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 bay leaves
  • ½ cup uncooked barley
  • 1 cup frozen peas


  1. Cook beef on medium heat in a Dutch oven for 5 minutes or until browned, stirring frequently.
  2. Remove beef and set aside. Sauté onions, celery, mushrooms, and carrots until tender but crisp, about 5 minutes.
  3. Add beef, broth, bay leaves, and tomatoes and bring to a boil. Cover and reduce heat to simmer.
  4. Continue simmering 1 hour. Add barley and frozen peas and bring back to a boil. Reduce heat to simmer and continue cooking 30 minutes, or until barley is tender.
  5. Discard bay leaves.
Nutrition Facts per serving
Calories 228
Fat 3 grams
Protein 24 grams
Calories from fat 33
Carbohydrate 22 grams
Cholesterol 61 mg
Fiber 5 gram
Sodium 533 mg
This and other recipes available at http://urbanext.illinois.edu/diabetesrecipes/intro.cfm

Sample Menu


Amount/ Portion

Whole wheat toast

2 slices

Veggie omelet

2 eggs

Soft tub margarine

2 teaspoons


1 small

Skim milk

1 cup

601 Calories; 62 Grams Carbohydrates; 4 Carb choices



Beef Barley Soup

1 serving

Whole wheat crackers


Peanut butter

1 tablespoons

Green salad

1 cup

Herb vinaigrette salad dressing

2 tablespoons

Skim milk

1 cup

591 Calories;  68 Grams Carbohydrates; 4 ½  Carb Choices



Italian baked cod

1 serving

Roasted broccoli

1 cup

Brown rice

2/3 cup



Skim milk

1 cup

548 Calories; 71 Grams Carbohydrates; 4 ½  Carbohydrate Choices


Total: 1740 Calories,  201 Grams Carbohydrates, 13 Carb Choices


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

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