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Karen Chapman Novakofski

Professor of Nutrition

Marilyn Csernus

Extension Educator, Nutrition and Wellness


June-July 2018

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

Diabetes and Depression

Healthcare professionals are aware that people with diabetes are more likely to become depressed.

Diabetes care can have unpredictable outcomes at times. Diabetes distress comes from dealing with the weight of diabetes. The worries, fears, and concerns that come with managing a progressive, chronic disease is called as diabetes distress.

Depression is a more serious mental health problem. Symptoms of depression can last from a couple of weeks to months.


Common Depression Symptoms


Excessive sadness, guilt, feelings of worthlessness

Sleeping too little or too much

Loss of interest in usual activities

Change in appetite

Weight loss or weight gain

Finding it very hard to make decisions or concentrate



Feelings of suicide

Any of these symptoms should be discussed with your healthcare professional. Even if you are not sure if you are depressed, they are trained to help with symptoms of depression. Your doctor or diabetes educator can ask with a few simple questions to evaluate your level of depression.

Because diabetes and depression negatively affect each other, they must both be treated. As one improves, the other will likely also improve.

Depression is very treatable. Work with your doctor to find out what type of treatment is available.

Common depression treatments include:

Talk therapy

Cognitive behavioral therapy

Motivational interviewing

Other forms of psychotherapy




Diabetes support groups can also be helpful with depression. A support group can serve as a form of talk therapy. One of the main benefits of going to a diabetes support group is sharing the challenges and triumphs of diabetes with people who can relate. 

Diabetes and Food


Depression may increase or decrease appetite. Either way, blood glucose may be negatively affected. Reach out to your support system and ask for help. Allow others to help with food preparation or grocery shopping. Keep meals and snacks simple until you are feeling better. If your appetite is poor, try eating smaller, more frequent meals. Just be mindful of your total carbohydrate intake. Another option may be pre-prepared meals.

Remember that if you are taking insulin or other medications with the potential to cause hypoglycemia, you must eat, or risk having your blood glucose drop too low.

The following are quick and easy options for days when cooking is too much of a struggle:

Sandwich with two slices of bread

(~ 30 grams of carbohydrate)

1 cup of soup made with water

(~ 15 grams of carbohydrate)

1 small piece of fresh fruit

(~15 grams carbohydrate)

4 ounces of fruit juice

(~ 15 grams of carbohydrate)

½ cup of canned fruit packed in own juice or water

(~15 grams of carbohydrate)

6 ounces of non-fat Greek yogurt

(~ 15 grams of carbohydrate)

1 cup non-fat milk

(~12 grams of carbohydrate)

¾ cup of unsweetened ready-to-eat cereal

(~ 15 grams of carbohydrate)

6 saltine-type crackers

(~15 grams of carbohydrate)

Recipes to Try

Italian Turkey Casserole

10 servings per recipe


    1 pound ground turkey
    1 tablespoon minced garlic
    1 package frozen broccoli, cauliflower, and carrots mix    
    1 can Italian tomato sauce 
    ¼ cup shredded Parmesan and Romano cheese
    2 cups dry macaroni


  1. Heat oven to 350ºF.
  2. Brown ground turkey in a skillet.
  3. Rinse frozen vegetables under warm water to thaw.
  4. Cook macaroni according to package directions.
  5. Combine turkey, vegetables, macaroni, minced garlic, and tomato sauce in a 2 quart baking dish.
  6. Top with cheese.
  7. Cover and bake for 30 minutes.
Nutrition Facts per serving
Calories 200
Fat 6 grams
Protein 13 grams
Calories from fat 54
Carbohydrate 22 grams
Cholesterol 39 mg
Fiber  3 grams
Sodium 407 mg
This and other recipes available at http://urbanext.illinois.edu/diabetesrecipes/intro.cfm

Red Apple Spinach Salad

6 servings per recipe


    1 pound fresh spinach, trimmed and cleaned
    1 unpeeled red apple
    3 slices bacon, fried crisp, crumbled
    ¼ cup frozen unsweetened orange juice concentrate, thawed
    ¼ cup light mayonnaise


  1. Dice apple.
  2. Mix orange juice and mayonnaise.
  3. Mix apple and spinach.
  4. Pour dressing over salad and top with crumbled bacon.
Nutrition Facts per serving
Calories 98
Fat 6 grams
Protein 3 grams
Calories from fat 54
Carbohydrate 10 grams
Cholesterol 7 mg
Fiber 7 gram
Sodium 212 mg
This and other recipes available at http://urbanext.illinois.edu/diabetesrecipes/intro.cfm

Sample Menu


Amount/ Portion

Scrambled egg

1 egg

Whole wheat English muffin


Peanut butter

2 tablespoon

Cubed watermelon

1 ¼ cups

Skim milk

1 cup

562 Calories; 57 grams of carbohydrates; 4 Carb choices



Red Apple Spinach Salad

1 serving

Tuna salad sandwich


Pecan crusted broccoli

1 serving

Skim milk

1 cup

628 Calories;  60 grams Carbohydrates; 4 Carb Choices



Italian Turkey Casserole

1 serving

Leafy green salad with garbanzo beans

1 serving

Sliced peaches

½ cup

Whole wheat roll

1 small

Soft tub margarine

1 teaspoon

Skim milk

1 cup

617 Calories; 70 grams Carbohydrates; 4.5 Carbohydrate Choices


Total: 1807 Calories,  187 grams Carbohydrates, 12.5 Carb Choices


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

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