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  Healthy eating can seem like a chore when managing a diabetes diet. The good news is you don’t have to give up your favorite foods – knowing which healthy alternatives are available can make being on a diabetes-friendly diet a lot easier. Learning about the foods that have the greatest impact on your blood sugar levels, cholesterol levels and blood pressure levels will help you make better grocery shopping decisions and will help build better habits for a healthier, happier lifestyle. As always, it’s important to keep serving sizes in mind to make sure an appropriate number of calories are being consumed as part of your meal plan. Eat More Whole Grains Instead of Refined Grains Refined grains have been modified to remove one or more of their three key parts (bran, germ, or endosperm). During the refining process, texture and longevity of the grain improves, but the grain is often stripped of its dietary fiber, iron, and B vitamins. Common examples of refined grain products include white rice, pasta, white bread, and white flour. Whole grains retain all their vitamins and minerals and are high in fiber – high-fiber diets slow the digestion process and the absorption of nutrients which helps keep blood sugar levels stable.

Swap out:

•  White rice with brown rice or quinoa

•  White pasta with whole-grain pasta or lentil pasta

•  White bread with whole-grain bread

•  Rolled oats with steel-cut oats

Eat More Vegetables Instead of More Carbs Lower your carbohydrate intake by consuming more vegetables, berries, nuts, and seeds. These low carb, high fiber options can effectively help manage your blood sugar levels and keep you feeling full longer. Choose less starchy vegetables such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots, and zucchini instead of corns, peas, and potatoes. Dark leafy greens such as kale or spinach can provide more antioxidants and a boost of protein as well. Swap out convenient snacks like cookies and candies with protein-rich trail mix or an apple paired with nut butter.

Swap out:

•  White pasta with zucchini spirals or spaghetti squash noodles

•  Mashed potatoes with mashed cauliflower

•  Potato chips with string cheese and cherry tomatoes

•  Cookies with trail mix (pumpkin seeds, dried berries, and almonds)

    Use More Spices Instead of Salt Salt may not directly impact blood glucose levels, but too much sodium can raise your blood pressure and increase your risk of cardiovascular disease. Reduce your sodium intake by using less salt in recipes and by experimenting with different spices to boost your dish’s flavor. Salt substitutes may be a good option for some but may present complications for those who also follow a kidney diet since salt substitutes can be high in potassium. Check nutrition labels of pre-made spice mixes, sauces, and condiments to make sure you’re not consuming any additional salt. (Above photo by Tijana Drndarski on Unsplash)

Swap out salt with:

•  Spices like cinnamon, cumin, paprika, turmeric, and chili powder

•  Fresh or dried garlic

•  Fresh or dried herbs like sage, thyme, rosemary, and basil

•  Freshly squeezed lemon or lime juice

Healthy and Balanced Eating to Manage Your Diabetes Eating a healthy and balanced diet can help manage your diabetes and reduce the risk of further complications, including:

•  Heart disease

•  Kidney disease

•  Eye damage

•  Nerve damage

Help control your blood sugar levels and reduce inflammation by swapping out unhealthy and processed foods for nutrient-rich, high protein options given in the lists above. Making healthier lifestyle options can even increase your energy levels and help you maintain or lose weight. By guest writer Jenny Hart Related posts: Diabetic Friendly Recipes and Tips for Creating Healthy Balanced Meals Ten Diabetic Diet, Recipe and Lifestyle Ideas to Share with Friends  Other Diabetic Friendly Recipes   Remember you can save all your favorite recipes, or the ones you need for particular diet-friendly options for friends and family, right here on Dish Dish in your own online digital recipe box and cookbook for easy meal planning and grocery shopping! Keep Favorite Recipes in Free Online Cookbook with Grocery List


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