If you have diabetes or prediabetes, you probably already know that managing your blood sugar levels is essential to keeping your condition under control.
Your doctor may have advised you to “eat fewer carbs” or to “watch your sugar intake.”
But those suggestions may not be beneficial on their own.
When you only fixate on restrictions and what you can’t eat, it can make eating—and staying healthy—feel like a punishment. And when your diet makes you feel deprived and frustrated, you’ll probably not stick with it for very long.
A better approach may be to make simple substitutions that are more healthful for your blood sugar levels.
Here are six swaps that can help you do just that:
Sourdough Bread Instead of White Bread
White bread is made with refined flour, stripped of most of its nutrients. The refining process also makes the carbohydrates in white bread more easily and quickly absorbed by your body, resulting in a spike in your blood sugar levels.
Sourdough bread, on the other hand, is made with fermented dough, which appears to slow down the absorption of carbohydrates and help regulate your blood sugar levels.
By swapping out white bread (or even whole-grain bread) and choosing sourdough instead, you are much less likely to experience a blood sugar spike.
Oatmeal Instead of Sugary Cereal
Many breakfast cereals are made with refined grains and added sugars, which can cause your blood sugar levels to skyrocket.
Oatmeal is a whole grain that is packed with fiber, which can help regulate your blood sugar levels by slowing down digestion. Although whole grains still contain carbohydrates, they tend to have a lower glycemic index—meaning they don’t cause nearly as big of a spike in blood sugar levels.
Brown Rice Instead of White Rice
White rice is another grain that has been stripped of its nutrients and fiber during the refining process.
Brown rice, on the other hand, is a whole grain that contains all of the grain’s natural nutrients and fiber.
The extra fiber in brown rice helps to prevent blood sugar spikes. And the additional nutrients and antioxidants in brown rice may help protect your body from diabetes-related tissue damage.
Nuts Instead of Chips
When you’re in the mood for a quick snack, reaching for a bag of chips or some other processed food can be tempting. But those salty, greasy snacks will not do your blood sugar levels any favors.
Nuts like almonds, peanuts, and pistachios are a much better choice for a snack. They are packed with protein, healthy fats, fiber, and other nutrients to help regulate your blood sugar levels.
Plus, nuts are a satisfying snack that will help keep you full and prevent overeating.
Berries Instead of Candy
Next time you’re craving something sweet, satisfy your sweet tooth with fresh fruit or berries instead of candy or sugary snacks.
Berries like strawberries, raspberries, and blueberries are packed with antioxidants and fiber. And even though they contain sugar, the natural sugars in berries are less likely to cause a blood sugar spike than the added sugars in candy and other processed foods.
Tea Instead of Soda
Soda is one of the worst drinks you can consume if you tend to have high blood sugar. Not only is soda loaded with sugar, but it also contains high fructose corn syrup.
High fructose corn syrup is a type of sugar that is particularly harmful to your blood sugar levels. It is quickly absorbed by your body and can cause your blood sugar to spike intensely.
Tea, on the other hand, is a much better choice for your blood sugar levels, as well as your overall health. There are many different types of tea to choose from, and they all may benefit people with high blood pressure.
However, select a tea you can enjoy without adding sugar. Similarly, making the tea yourself is usually better than pre-made teas, as you can be sure to avoid adding any unwanted sugars.