5 Easy (And Tasty!) Food Swaps For Diabetics

By on October 14, 2015

This is a guest post from Dr. Shinde, owner and physician at Aayu Clinics Lakeview Immediate Care.

diabetes food swapsType 1 diabetes often develops before adulthood, but Type 2 diabetes usually manifests itself later in life, once the patient has long been set in his/her own eating and lifestyle habits. This can make bad habits really hard to let go. Holidays can become overwhelming as you try to keep track of your carbohydrate intake and deftly avoid making direct eye contact with the dessert table. But diabetes doesn’t have to put a damper on your diet. Start slowly replacing unhealthy snacks with these healthier morsels, which help lower your blood sugar, and promote health without getting in the way of what you love to eat.

1. Fork it
Burgers are a big part of barbecue season, and a popular item on most restaurant menus, but the buns are loaded with refined sugars. If you eat a burger, wrap it in a large slice of romaine lettuce, or opt for low-carb buns and bread. You can also avoid carb overload by simply using a fork and a knife to eat hamburgers and hot dogs. Decrease fat and cholesterol consumption while you’re at it by subbing a vegan or vegetarian alternative for the meat.

2. Try baking instead of frying
If french fries are your favorite go-to snack, you don’t need to give up hope just because you’re restricting carb and fat content. Baked sweet potato fries are a tasty alternative, especially when drizzled with olive oil and sprinkled with cinnamon, a spice that’s been shown to decrease blood glucose.

3. Brown is better
White bread is considered almost as harmful as sugar because it’s made from refined grains that have been stripped of much of their nutritional content. Instead of slowly absorbing into the bloodstream, these starches take no time at all to process, so their impact on blood sugar is fast and extreme. Reach for brown rice and whole grain breads instead. Their high-fiber content will further improve how your body metabolizes sugars.

4. Ditch the chips
That greasy handful of potato chips can seem really tempting at the end of a tough workday, but it’s loaded with carbs and fats, which can wreak havoc on a diabetic’s glucose readings. What should you do if you’re craving something salty and crunchy, but relatively healthy? Grab a handful of raw almonds or walnuts to satisfy your chomping reflex, or chop some bell peppers or cucumbers, and dip them in fat-free hummus. The dip — made of chickpeas — can be found in a variety of flavors, and is packed with sugar-regulating protein.

5. How sweet it is
The worst time for a diabetic patient is that moment at dinner when a server asks you if you’d like to order dessert. Most diabetics have no other option than to drool over the dessert menu, or to compensate for their sugar intake by taking a large amount of insulin. Birthdays can be especially tempting, with all the cake and ice cream on hand. As an alternative to ice cream, you can freeze fat-free cool whip. Serve it with fresh strawberries or blueberries for additional flavor.

Whether you’ve had diabetes for a long time, or are newly diagnosed, you can keep your blood sugar regulated by swapping your food with these tasty alternatives. After a while, you’ll get the hang of it and put your own spin on recipes. These changes can do a lot to boost everyday health, and they may also help reverse Type 2 diabetes — if combined with a regular exercise regimen. Patients can also help fend off diabetes-related complications that range from heart disease and kidney failure, to an increased risk of stroke.

About the author:
Dr. Abhijit Shinde, owner and physician at Aayu Clinics Lakeview Immediate Care, has a long history of experience in primary care, urgent care, and ER. He is a graduate of the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences. Aayu Clinics, immediate care clinic in Chicago, is invested in every patient’s health, staying open 365 days a year to help patients when they need it.