Healthy Food Alternatives for People Living with Diabetes
Living with diabetes means making smart choices about the foods you eat. Some foods can spike your blood sugar, while others can help keep it steady. Making simple swaps in your meals can make a big difference in managing your diabetes. Here are some easy substitutions you can try.
Brown Rice Instead of White Rice
Choose brown rice over white rice. Brown rice has more fiber and nutrients, which can help control blood sugar levels. It doesn’t raise blood sugar as quickly as white rice does. Other good grain options are quinoa and barley.
Whole Grain Bread Instead Of White Bread
Whole grains have more fiber and are digested more slowly, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar. They also provide more nutrients. Look for bread that has at least 3g of fiber per slice.
Pick Fresh Fruits Over Fruit Juices
Fresh fruits contain fiber, which slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. Fruit juices often have added sugars and lack fiber, causing quicker spikes in blood sugar levels.
Baked or Grilled Foods Over Fried Ones
Baked or grilled options have less unhealthy fats, which can be better for managing diabetes. They also retain more nutrients.
Nuts and Seeds Instead of Chips
Nuts and seeds contain healthy fats and protein, and they have a lower impact on blood sugar levels compared to chips. Plus, they provide essential nutrients.
Plain Greek Yogurt over Flavored Yogurt
Flavored yogurts often have added sugars, while plain Greek yogurt is lower in sugar and higher in protein – which keeps you fuller longer. You can also add fresh fruits for natural sweetness. If you don’t like Greek Yogurt, another good choice is light yogurt without added sugar.
Snack on Vegetables Instead of Processed Snacks
Veggies like carrots, cucumbers, or bell peppers are low in calories and carbs, making them great for managing blood sugar levels. They’re also packed with vitamins and minerals. Add a low calorie dip such as light ranch dressing or non fat Greek Yogurt.
Use Olive Oil Instead Of Butter
Olive oil is a healthier fat and can help control cholesterol levels. It contains antioxidants and anti-inflammatory properties that are good for heart health.
Season Your Meals With Herbs and Spices Instead of Salt
Herbs and spices can add flavor without extra sodium. They also offer health benefits and can help manage blood pressure.
Water Instead of Sugary Drinks
Drink water instead of sugary drinks. Water is essential and doesn’t contain added sugars that can affect blood sugar levels. Try adding a slice of lemon, orange or cucumber for flavor. Staying hydrated is important for overall health.
Choose Protein Rich Snacks Instead of Low Protein Snacks
This can help satisfy your hunger and promote a better blood sugar response. Good examples are a small apple with 1 string cheese, a small banana with 20 pistachios, peanuts or almonds, or 6 whole grain crackers with a tablespoon of peanut butter.
Making these simple swaps can improve your diet and help manage diabetes. Remember, small changes can lead to big improvements in your health. Always talk to your doctor or a dietitian before making significant changes to your diet to ensure they’re right for you.
Author: Chandra Matthews, RDN, CDCES. | CCS Health
This site is for educational purposes only. Talk to your doctor or healthcare provider before making any decisions about your health.