One of the most important factors in diabetes management is food. You have to have some sort of idea how much sugar and carbs a certain food contains before you eat it because it could spike your blood sugar. Food is probably the only aspect in your life that affects your blood sugar that you can control. Here are some healthier alternatives to some of our favorites.
- Instead of mashed potatoes, try mashed cauliflower. Potatoes are full of starch and calories, they also have a high glycemic index. Cauliflower has a glycemic index of 15 putting it low on the blood-sugar-spike scale. If you use fresh cauliflower instead of frozen, you will have better results. You can still use frozen cauliflower, but it might be a little runnier than you’d want it to be.
- Instead of rice, make quinoa. Quinoa is a relative to spinach and beets, therefore it has the nutritional value akin to leafy vegetables. Quinoa also has high levels of minerals, fiber, and it is a complete protein with all 9 essential amino acids.
- Instead of buns or bread, use iceberg lettuce leaves. An average hamburger bun has about 20-25g of carbs, whereas iceberg lettuce is full of Vitamins A, C, and K, potassium, folate, and 19 amino acids, making it much more beneficial than a piece of bread. Iceberg lettuce is also low in calories, nutrient dense, and a good source of fiber.
- Instead of drinking sugary beverages, drink fruit-infused water. Fruit-infused water is low in sugar and calories, more hydrating, and very refreshing. It also helps to spruce up your daily water intake if you ever get tired of drinking just water all the time. I will do a post later of different combinations of infused water with some added benefits.
- Instead of using wheat flour, use almond flour. I’ll admit right out, almond flour is expensive. In my town at least, it’s cheaper to get almond flour in bulk than buy it packaged at the store. But here are the benefits, almond flour is much more nutritious, can reduce your LDL “bad” cholesterol, and improve insulin resistance. It’s also lower in carbs, higher in healthy fats and fiber, has a lower glycemic index and is gluten-free. My suggestion is to learn more about how almond flour is used before you bake with it, you won’t get the same results as wheat flour.
- Instead of using a large plate for food, use a smaller plate. Using a smaller plate helps with portion control and being able to control your portion sizes is very important. It can give the illusion of more food on a smaller plate tricking your brain into thinking you’re eating a lot of food. Another tip, slow down when you’re eating and enjoy your food. Make sure to thoroughly chew your food before slowing, it’ll make you feel fuller faster.
- Instead of eating cookies, candies, and chips, eat berries, nuts, seeds, and veggies. Cookies, candies, and chips are full of empty calories and carbs, whereas your healthier option has healthy carbs and proteins that will help keep your blood sugar spikes low.
- Instead of having little to no veggies on your plate, make sure more veggies make up half of your plate. Fill half your plate with veggies, 1/4 with protein and 1/4 with 100% whole grains to get a well-balanced meal. This will help you feel full and keeps your blood sugar more even.
- Instead of eating white potatoes, eat sweet potatoes. Frying white potatoes is high in unhealthy fats and oils, white potatoes are already full of carbs and have a high glycemic index. Sweet potatoes can be roasted or baked with olive oil and be a healthier option. Sweet potatoes also have a lower glycemic index and lower in calories and carbs.
- Instead of microwave popcorn, try stove-top popcorn. Microwave popcorn is high in trans fats, almost 5g. Stove-top popcorn may take a little longer, but it’s much healthier. It has less calories and it doesn’t come already pre-buttered, you can add however much you want to your popcorn. Also it’s cheaper than the organic microwave popcorn brands, they may be healthier altogether, but who wants to pay $6 per bag? That’s theater popcorn pricing!
Hopefully, all of these food swap options can give you some ideas for a healthier diet and hopefully it gets you out in to the internet or books to find even more swaps you can make! There are many other options out there, just do your research and consult your dietician to make your diet healthier and diabetic-friendly.
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