Food Swaps For People with Diabetes
Yumhee Park | Sept 3, 2014 Oct 27, 2016
Reviewed by Robert Hurd, MD on Aug 26, 2017
If you or a loved one has diabetes, you know that living with a strict diet can sometimes bring cravings you can’t seem to control. And that can lead to binge eating. But here are some healthy alternatives for the next time the cravings hit.
Instead of sweets try fruit
Sweet tooth struggle is real. It’s tempting to grab a chocolate bar when you need a pick-me-up, but that’s not doing the body any good. Instead, try some fruit, such as berries and peaches, with some lightly sweetened almond milk. That’s a much better alternative that will satisfy your craving and also give you some energy. If you must have chocolate occasionally, make it dark chocolate–it’s heart healthy!
Instead of frying, try baking
While comfort food may provide warmth to the soul, the long-term effects on your body outweigh the instant gratification. Avoid frying food and bake instead. Not only is it less effort in the kitchen, but baking foods often requires little oil or butter, resulting in a healthier meal. The next time you want some fried chicken, try seasoning chicken legs and stick them in the oven for a healthy dinner that will be ready in an hour.
Instead of white, try whole wheat
Carbs and bread in particular have gotten such a bad rap these days that folks are ditching them altogether. But whole wheat bread, rice, and pasta are good alternatives that help you feel full longer. It’s important, of course, to enjoy these options in moderation, but there is no need to nix them from your diet if bread, rice, and pasta are staples you enjoy.
Instead of butter, try avocado
Did you know those butter substitutes that are supposedly healthy without compromising taste can contain a lot of trans fats? Instead of using fake butter alternatives, try the super fruit, avocado. Avocado can be used instead of butter in all sorts of recipes. The next time you get questioned about the secret ingredient in your brownies, rest assured that your avocado secret is safe with us.
Instead of a bag of potato chips, try veggie versions
We all have those days where we sit in front of the TV and mind-numbingly eat a bag of chips. Next thing you know, somebody has eaten the whole bag! (Hint: somebody = you) Instead of wasting money on chips that neither keep you full nor give you the nutrition you need, bake some kale chips or sweet potato wedges. Combine these healthy alternatives with a movie marathon and treat yourself.
Instead of salad dressing, try fresh citrus
Many salad dressings are loaded with fat, sodium and sugar, and you’re likely using a couple of tablespoons, which can skyrocket your calorie count (just for the dressing) upwards to the 250-300 range. Instead, try swapping salad dressing with a fresh squeeze of lemon or lime juice. Now you’re talking little to no fat, sodium or calories and can really call your salad “healthy.”
Instead of crackers, try raw veggies
We all experience that midday snack attack, so instead of reaching for crackers and cheese, reach for raw veggies - like carrots or celery - and use those as dippers into your favorite hummus or salsa.
Instead of soda, try a sparkling water
A 12-ounce can of soda has 40 grams of carbs, which are all from sugar, and diet sodas aren’t great for you, either. Instead, try one of the many naturally-flavored sparkling waters on the market.
Instead of white rice, try brown
White rice has a higher glycemic index than brown rice, which means it raises your blood glucose level much faster. Also, because white rice is refined, it’s stripped of all the good stuff, including importannt minerals, lignans, phytoestrogens, and phytic acid, many of which may be protective factors against diabetes.
Instead of cereal, try oatmeal
Oatmeal can help regulate blood sugar, thanks to the high fiber and low glycemic index, and it can also help regulate digestion. However, with processed cereals, you’re basically eating rapidly digested sugar mixed with bran and germ. Also, beware of pre-packaged oatmeals, as some are sugar-laden and will cancel out your good effort.