Diabetes Diet #16: Better Living Through Sandwiches

Diabetes Recipes:

French Style Tuna Sandwich
Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwich
Italian Hero
The Chock Full of Nuts Sandwich

Food Medication Exercise Attitude

Years ago, living with diabetes was like living in a cocoon. Choices were few and even a moderately free lifestyle was not an option. Life went from diagnosis to rudimentary instructions on the diet exchange list to demonstrations on how to inject an orange with insulin, if Type 1 was your destiny, or a prescription for Orinase or Diabinese if your fate was Type 2. Life was a tightly closed bag of rules, order, and timing that few questioned. Most people with diabetes were forced to live a life in the cocoon of timed meals and medication.

But time drifted, and as we floated in suspension, taking our daily shot of NPH or pills and adhering to a standard “diabetic diet”, every once in a while a flash of hope, a beacon, appeared for us to latch onto. First Testape, then Clinitest, new generation pills, disposable syringes, shorter needles, the food pyramid, the exercise factor. Some discoveries were cataloged and packed into the elusive diabetes museum archives. A few became incorporated into our daily regimen and we settled back to the same old, same old, spinning our lives in the cocoon.

Hold on! There has been an explosion! Fireworks are crackling! It is the 2002 world of diabetes. Our lifestyles are different, freer, much improved. We are enjoying the real fruits of scientific and technological discoveries and better education. We place a test strip into that little powerhouse meter we all carry in our pockets and purses, to get vital information in seconds. We wear pumps on belt loops that contain new improved insulin analogs, digest concerts of pills that play a more effective role in managing Type 2 diabetes. We carry sleek insulin cartridge pens. We try a GlucoWatch or CGMS for fine-tuning dosages. A few have even had beta-cell+kidney transplants and dispensed with needles altogether. Yes, we have embraced the broad stroke of technology as our friend. We have also witnessed a few veils of suspicious smoke and mirrors and dubious panaceas.

As a collective personality, the diabetes community is feeling more flexible, excited and hopeful for the near future. We are better equipped to manage the daily grind of diabetes. We have more choices. We can try them, use them, ignore them or discard them. It’s up to you to break through that old cocoon and jump on the new train. It’s your time to soar!!!

While pondering new ways to reach out and expand, how about a nice sandwich. One of the useful management realities that many have adopted as a good way to regulate medication, diet, and exercise is Carb Counting. We have spoken about this in the Cyber Kitchen column before. So, give yourself a little test. Try the sandwiches on the recipe page and balance them with insulin (or pills) and exercise.

Remember the daily mantra: Food, Medication, Exercise, Attitude

May your 2002 be filled with good health, great food, abundant magic and advances in diabetes care.

Diabetes Recipes
French Style Tuna Sandwich
(makes 2 sandwiches)
2 sandwich-sized round whole wheat rolls
1 t. extra virgin olive oil
½ red onion, finely chopped
1 roasted pepper, sliced
1 tasty ripe tomato, sliced
1 6 oz. can water-packed tuna, well drained
2 anchovies, patted dry and chopped
4 black olives, pitted and chopped
1 T. red wine or Balsamic vinegar
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Slice 2 rolls horizontally. If they are very dense with dough, scoop out.
  2. Drizzle olive oil on bottom slices. Divide ingredients in half and add as listed.
  3. Top with 2nd half of roll and picture yourself sitting at Paris cafe enjoying this tasty Pan Bagnat.

Nutrition Information: Serving Size: 1 Sandwich, Calories: 260, Carbs: 30 grams, Fat:  6 grams, Protein: 18 grams, Fat: 6 grams

Tarragon Chicken Salad Sandwich
(makes 2 sandwiches)
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts (total wt. of about 8 oz.), grilled
or poached cooled and cut into small slices
1 rib celery, thinly sliced
3 scallions, sliced
1 small zucchini, coarsely chopped
3 T. each fresh parsley and tarragon, chopped
2 T. each low-fat sour cream and mayo
1 t. Dijon mustard
1 t. fresh lemon juice and grated zest
salt and freshly ground pepper to taste
4 slices whole-grain bread
2 leaves Boston lettuce

  1. Combine chicken, vegetables, and herbs. Add sour cream, mayo, Dijon, and seasonings. Mix well.
  2. Spread mixture on 2 slices bread (I like to toast them). Top with lettuce and remaining bread.

Nutrition Information: Serving Size: 1 Sandwich, Calories: 340, Carbs: 40 grams, Fat: 6 grams, Protein: 35 grams, Fiber: 5 grams

Italian Hero
(makes 2 sandwiches)
1 club roll of choice (semolina, wheat, rustic)
1 oz prosciutto or very thinly sliced ham
1 oz very thinly sliced turkey breast
1 oz thinly sliced fresh mozzarella
1 oz thinly sliced Italian provolone
marinate for 10 minutes: ½ small diced red onion, 1 chopped roasted red pepper, 1 diced plum tomato, 1 t. extra virgin olive oil, 1 t. balsamic vinegar, salt and freshly ground pepper to taste

  1. Slice roll horizontally. Spoon half the marinade on the bottom.
  2. Layer meat and cheese. Top with remaining marinade and roll
  3. Slice vertically to make 2 sandwiches. This filling and versatile sandwich is good to eat immediately or pack up for later.

Nutrition Information: Serving Size: 1 Sandwich, Calories: 330, Carbs:  40 grams, Fat: 8 grams, Protein: 18 grams, Fiber: 5 grams

The Chock Full of Nuts Sandwich
(makes 2 sandwiches)
4 slices raisin bread
4 oz low fat cream cheese
1 / 4 cup toasted, coarsely chopped walnuts
1 cup watercress leaves

  1. Spread cheese on bottom 2 slices bread.
  2. Scatter evenly with nuts and cream cheese. Top with remaining bread.
  3. Slice each sandwich in half on the diagonal and savor this old-time sandwich that was served for many years at the Chock Full of Nuts counter store across the street from Macy’s Herald Square in NYC to nourish hungry shoppers. It’s a classic.

Nutrition Information: Serving Size: 1 Sandwich, Calories: 406, Carbs: 31grams, Fat: 25 grams, Protein: 12grams

Note, pay attention to insulin dose for this sandwich combo that contains more fat