Healthy swaps for managing diabetes

Healthy swaps for managing diabetes

Diabetic and you love certain foods that are better avoided for a better glucose record? Or even more, diabetic and you just love carbs? Ok no big deal, you can still enjoy your favorite meals while controlling your sugar levels. 

We can imagine the sudden urge to make a major diet or lifestyle change to get healthy once and for all, especially once recently diagnosed with a health disorder. Feelings like this may arise around the new year, when weight loss or diet resolutions are made. Or, perhaps after a doctor’s appointment where unexpected news of elevated cholesterol or blood sugar may cause worry and stress around where to start from, how to manage the medical case, and how to let go of your favorite foods! We’ll help you over here to create balance between your food preferences and your medical case the easier way. It is not so hard to make healthier changes if you learn it the right way. Keep in mind that two main reasons behind failing at making healthy lifestyle changes are: making too many changes at one where you get overwhelmed, and choosing changes that are too hard to make or goals that are too hard to reach (unpractical and unrealistic).

Making small changes to the foods that are already in our diets, or swaps, can help those who often “abandon ship” stick longer to healthy habits until these become part of their lives, not only temporary changes. Small changes and baby steps throughout our daily lives can add up and make a big difference.

Let us make it sound easier for you: teaching you to manage your diabetes looks much like guiding someone to follow a healthy lifestyle in general; i.e. healthier food options, balanced variety of food groups, and maintaining an active level!

Let’s put things into words:

1-      Use more unsaturated fats like olive oil, nuts, seeds whenever possible instead of saturated ones like butter or margarine.

2-      Consume more whole grains (brown rice,..) or whole grain foods (whole grain pasta, oat or bran bread) instead of refined carbs (white rice, white bread or pasta..), they have higher fiber content which helps at regulating your blood sugar levels.

3-      Flavored sparkling water and infused water are great flavored swaps for soda (soft drinks) to reduce intake of sugar.

4-      Choose dark chocolate instead of milk chocolate. Dark chocolate is lower in sugar and higher in beneficial antioxidants.

5-      If you are not vegetarian, choose the majority of your animal proteins from white meat, these are less fatty than red meats. Whenever possible, get your protein needs from plant based proteins more frequently than animal based ones, no need to shift to a vegetarian or vegan diet, but try to sneak in more plant proteins (legumes, beans,..).

6-      Consume low fat dairies, like white cheeses more than yellow ones. This will reduce your saturated fat intake. Foods higher in saturated fat can lead to higher blood cholesterol.

7-      Take the stairs instead of the elevator or park further out in parking lots for a bit of cardiovascular exercise spread throughout the day.

8-      Try to squeeze in some light snacks based on veggies (carrot sticks, beetroot chips, …) and fruits in moderation, rather than sweets or carb-based or fatty snacks like pretzels, fried nuts, potato chips, ..

9-      Eat the parts of meat/chicken lower in saturated fats, like skinless chicken breast instead of thighs or other processed meats (hot dogs, nuggets..)

10-   Oatmeals are a great alternative for processed cereal bowls!

Reduce your salt intake to better control your blood pressure: reduce processed and canned foods, use more herbs, spices and homemade condiments rather than salt and ready sauces and dressings, the latter contain high sodium

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