New web site full of flavors

Tuesday, March 6, 2007

URBANA - Diabetics have a way to add variety and flavor to their diets and still keep carbohydrates at an appropritate level thanks to a new University of Illinois Extension Web site. "Fiesta of Flavors" ( was developed by Karen Chapman-Novakofski, an Extension nutrition specialist.

"Traditional Hispanic foods offer a wide variety of choices that can fit nicely in a meal plan for someone with diabetes," she said. "Some challenges exist with popular Hispanic foods, however."

Many of these foods are high in both fat and carbohydrates, she explained. Reducing fat can be done in a number of ways, including using less oil or fat in preparation, using lean meats or using less cheese.

"This can usually be accomplished without compromising flavor," she said.

Even though some Hispanic foods tend to be high in carbohydrates, it is important not to eliminate these foods, but rather to try and eat these in moderate amounts.

"Traditional Hispanic high-carbohydrate foods such as corn and flour tortillas, beans, hominy, rice, and potatoes are good sources of fiber and other nutrients," she noted. "These types of foods can be a healthful part of the daily diet when eaten in moderation."

The "Fiesta of Flavors" Web site features a search function that allows users to view foods in categories such as main dishes, side dishes, and desserts. Information is provided on calories and carbohydrate units in each.

"This allows users to determine how the dish impacts their diabetic diet requirements," she said. "New recipes will continue to be added to the Web site and will be designated by 'new' next to the recipe name."


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