People need to understand that their diet doesn’t necessarily need to be bland or boring. A couple of strategic food trends had led to enormous benefits, such as better control over blood glucose and weight loss.
If you want to eat fries and steak, but know that this food choice is not the best for your health don’t get discouraged. You can still enjoy your craving just as long as you make a healthy swap that would be more appropriate for type 2 diabetes.
Healthy Food Swaps
The goal of healthy food swaps is to lower overall calories, cholesterol, fat, and salt. Following the basics of a healthy diet can really help us have better control over our blood glucose levels.
Also, it can help in better weight management and is of enormous importance for the better management of blood glucose readings. As a matter of fact, even a small weight loss of 5 to 10 % can improve insulin sensitivity and the production of insulin.
Moreover, a healthy weight is good for the heart, and the health of the heart is a vital concern for all people.
But don’t be scared food swapping is not boring. In fact, thanks to this we will explore new tastes and have more variety when it comes to our meals.
This can be of great importance since it can serve as a motivation to continue making healthy choices.
22 Healthy and Tasty Food Swaps All People Need to Know About
1. Replace Meat with Fish
Red meat comes with many saturated fats and calories, and that can lead to inflammation, which is not something that we like. On the other hand, fish is abundant in omega-3 fatty acids.
These acids can improve the health of our hearts. By choosing a 3-ounce tuna steak and not a beefsteak, we will save three g of saturated fat and fifty-five calories.
2. Replace a Salad Dressing with Fresh Citrus Squeeze
Yes, a big green salad is always a great and healthy choice. But what can ruin the salad? Well, dressing.
People might use from 3 to 4 tablespoons of a salad dressing which has from 220 to 260 calories, from 440 to 535 mg of sodium, and from 16 to 25 g of fat.
We can replace any salad dressing with a much healthier choice which is the squeeze of fresh lemon juice. There is no fat, and there are almost no calories or salt, which is exceptionally beneficial.
3. Replace French Fries with Baked Sweet Potato
Remember one thing baked food always beats fried food regarding healthy recipes. If you want to eat potatoes replace the regular ones with sweet potatoes.
Sweet potatoes have a lower GI, i.e., glycemic index in comparison to white potatoes. This means that they will have less influence on our blood glucose levels.
By replacing a small serving of French fries with baked sweet potato, we will save up to 12 g of fat.
4. Replace Butter with Mashed Avocado
Some baked goods use significant amounts of added butter which is a source of excess calories and saturated fat.
By replacing 2 tablespoons of butter with mashed avocado, we can save around 14 g of saturated fat and approximately 154 calories. Another alternative is to replace half of the butter with mashed avocado.
5. Replace Sour Cream and Mayo with Low-fat Greek Yogurt and Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
Did you know that purred cottage cheese has a consistency and texture which can be used as a replacement for sour cream and mayonnaise in many recipes?
Moreover, we can replace low-fat cottage cheese with full-fat ricotta cheese in equal amounts with a small difference in taste, but with enormous savings when it comes to calories and fat.
Also, Greek yogurt is an amazing substitute for sour cream. These dairy swaps can help lower the overall calorie and fat content of our meals. However, at the same time, the food swap can help in boosting the content of calcium.
6. Use Apple Sauce, Pureed Fruit, or Mashed Banana Instead of White Sugar
As you know, added sugar might spike blood sugar levels. Instead of white sugar, try using pureed fruit like ripe dates and bananas which can work well in baked goods.
7. Use Herbs Instead of Salt
Using dried or fresh spices and herbs can really make a difference in the taste of food without adding sodium, calories, and fat. Use cumin, marjoram, paprika, parsley, basil, thyme, or whatever herb or spice you like.
But if you want to use garlic or onion, make sure to use only fresh chopped garlic on onions since the powdered versions might have added salt.
8. Use Brown Rice Instead of White Rice
This might seem like a small swap, but it makes a lot of difference, especially for those who have diabetes. Yes, there is almost no difference when it comes to the number of carb grams, but there is a significant nutritional benefit.
Brown rice offers twice the selenium, zinc, and fiber, 4 times the choline and potassium and 6 times the vitamin B3, and around 10 times the magnesium.
9. Replace Chips and Dip with Pistachio Nuts
De-shelling one handful of pistachios for a snack takes more effort and time. This is in comparison to a handful of chips and dip.
This is why people will most likely eat less. Also, the shells give an excellent visual cue of how many pistachios people have eaten, and that view might make them stop. Last but not least, pistachios are rich in healthy fat, fiber, and protein.
10. For Baking Replace Baking Chocolate with Cocoa Powder
For chocolate-filled recipes, we can replace one ounce of baked chocolate with 3 tbsp. of cocoa powder. This swap will save us on calories and fat. The great thing about this, we will still have that chocolatey flavor.
11. Replace the Cheese Platter with the Shrimp Platter
The best way to fill up on lean protein without raising blood sugar levels before the main meal is to choose the shrimp platter instead of the cheese platter.
12. Use Lettuce Cups Instead of Taco Shells
We can still enjoy your tacos, but by replacing the taco shells with lettuce cups, we can save 19 grams of carbs from consuming 3 tacos. We can use iceberg or romaine lettuce as fajitas or lettuce caps.
13. Use Nut Crusting Instead of Breading
Packaged bread crumbs or breading is processed food that is packed with carbs. One serving contains 22 to 24 grams of carbs. But that is not all; they contain a lot of other unnecessary ingredients.
We can easily replace breading with nut crusting. We can make a tasty crushed nut mix and nut-crumb our dish, fish or chicken. By doing this, we will instantly cut the carbs.
14. Replace Crisps with Kale Chips
Everyone loves munching. However, even if we have this habit, we can still make healthy choices. We can replace the chips filled with carbs with crispy kale chips which is low in carbs and rich in mineral and vitamin.
Make the kale chips quickly, and you can keep them for a couple of weeks in an airtight container.
15. Replace Wheat Crackers with Flax
Bear in mind that barley, rye, and wheat are all foods that are high in carbs. Although whole grains are probably a better option, many people seem to have a problem with them.
Therefore, these people can opt for flax meal, known by the name flaxseed or golden flax flour which is abundant in fiber and comes with 0 carbs.
16. Use Blueberries Instead of Banana
Yes, the bananas are great as a to-go snack. However, in terms of keeping blood glucose under control, there is a better option and that is blueberries.
For example, banana rings of medium size have 24 grams of net carbs, while on the other hand, blueberries have more than 10 grams per half-cup.
17. Replace Cereals with Eggs
Cereals are fast a to-go option in the morning, but eggs are certainly a better option. Instead of cereal, got for egg-filled breakfast.
18. Use Zucchini Noodles Instead of Spaghetti
Most people love pasta. Pasta is considered to be great comfort food, but sadly it is abundant in carbs. Believe it or not, but per half-cup serving the pasta contains from 18 to 22 grams of carbs.
But the issue is that people often overeat pasta. That means that people eat more than 60 grams of carbs in one big bowl of pasta. A better option here is the zucchini noodles.
19. Opt for Thin Pizza Crust Instead of Regular Pizza Crust
The next time you make or order pizza make sure to have a thin crust. Why is this important? This seemingly simple swap can actually save you half of the carbs for consuming a regular pizza crust.
20. Instead of Macaroni Salad Opt for Spinach and Vinegar Salad
By doing this swap, we can save fifty g of carbs per serving. In case you love the macaroni salad make sure to opt for a healthier version that will have less fat, calories, and carbs.
21. Choose Grilled Chicken Breast Instead of Breaded Chicken Breast
Always choose the grilled chicken breast instead of the breaded one since that can save you calories and carbs. In case it is the taste you crave, try low-calorie and low-carb marinades or rubs which can serve as amazing flavor boosters.
22. Choose Spaghetti Squash Instead of Spaghetti
The spaghetti is heavy in carbs. On the other hand, spaghetti squash is abundant with nutrients and vitamins such as B vitamins, omega- 3 fatty acids, and vitamin C.
These creative and simple swaps can hugely benefit blood glucose levels and overall health. But that is not all; we’ll have a lot of new options and tastes in our food now.
All we need to do is try it, and enjoy the taste and the benefits. Bon appetit.