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5 Simple Food Swaps to Help Prevent Diabetes

5 Simple Food Swaps to Help Prevent Diabetes

For many people, the idea of completely overhauling their diet can be a daunting one. What are the first steps to take? What are the best substitutions for their usual snack foods or sweets? Will cooking suddenly become a complicated chore?

If your doctor has recently tasked you with cleaning up your diet, or if you simply want to make some big changes in your kitchen and in your life, read on!

5 Simple Food Swaps to Help Prevent Diabetes, sparkling water

A Collard Green Wrap Instead of White Flour Bread

A white tortilla wrap has at least 10x the amount of carbohydrates than a collard green wrap! Collard greens also are abundant in Vitamins A, C and E – three vitamins often lacking in diabetic subjects.

To make collard green wraps, bring 5 cups of water to a simmer. Cut the stem at the base and trim the spine of the collard off each of the middle leaves.

Set a large bowl with two dozen ice cubes and water aside. Place the leaves one at a time in the simmering water for 30 seconds. Carefully, with a pair of tongs, remove the leaves from the hot water and place each of them into the ice bath for at least 10 seconds. Take the leaf and pat dry with a paper towel.

If you aren’t in the mood to give your collard greens a bath, consider looking for it at restaurants. Restaurants such as Bareburger have followed the health trend and offer collard green wraps in lieu
of bread!

Water Instead of Diet Soda

In the Yale Journal of Biology and Medicine, a study looked at how artificial sweeteners work in the brain and body. Since artificial sweeteners are sweet but don’t provide a caloric input,
they do not completely satisfy the brain and body’s desire for the sweet food, which means they encourage sugar cravings and sugar dependence.

This can cause you to actually look for real sugar in the form of candy and sweets later in the day. Skip the diet soda and opt for water instead. You can flavor the water with cucumbers, mint and
lemon for a refreshing drink or if you are seeking the bubbles, consider carbonated water.

5 Simple Food Swaps to Help Prevent Diabetes, granola

Whole Grains Instead of Refined Cereals

Studies have shown that consuming whole grains instead of refined cereals can help in the prevention of both diabetes and cardiovascular disease. Whole grains have soluble fiber that helps lower blood sugar levels and bad cholesterol (LDL) by slowing the absorption of sugar and binding bad cholesterol for excretion.

Recommended whole grains without added sugars include rolled oats, faro, and barley.

Many people complain of not having enough time in the morning to eat breakfast – but this recipe is so simple, you can make it in no time:

Warm 3⁄4 cup of oatmeal with 1⁄2 cup organic milk or
almond milk in the microwave for two minutes. Add 2 tablespoons chia seeds, 1 teaspoon all natural almond butter or peanut butter, and 1 cup berries . Mix and enjoy!

Broccoli Rice or Cauliflower Rice Instead of White Rice

Not only do broccoli rice and cauliflower rice each have more than 5x the amount of vitamins, minerals, fiber and nutrients than refined white rice — they contain 150 less calories and 39gm less carbohydrates than white rice!

White rice will cause a high spike in your blood sugar levels and will leave you hungry 10-15 minutes later. Choosing a filling and nutrient-dense substitute, such as broccoli and/or cauliflower
rice, keeps your blood sugar levels at bay given its high fiber, low carbohydrate content.

It also will help with weight control given the decrease in calorie consumption.

You can easily prepare broccoli and cauliflower by pulverizing a large head of cauliflower or broccoli in a food processor until a minced texture is achieved. Then quickly sauté with 1 tablespoon of avocado oil, and 1 medium chopped onion and spices (I love paprika, turmeric, cumin, garlic and black pepper). Or you can skip step 1 and buy pulverized cauliflower or broccoli in stores (such as Trader Joes and Whole Foods), either in the fresh or frozen aisles.

15 Almonds instead of 10 Pretzels

Almonds are a great source of magnesium, which plays a key role in assisting with proper blood sugar uptake and regulation in the body.

A meta-analysis (a method of systematically combining studies to develop a conclusion that has greater statistical power) involving 536,318 participants detected a significant association between high magnesium intake and lower risk of type 2 diabetes.

Michelle Routhenstein

Michelle Routhenstein is the Owner and President of Entirely Nourished, a nutrition counseling private practice based in New York City. As a Registered Dietitian and Nutritionist, Certified Diabetes Educator and Certified Dietitian Nutritionist, Michelle’s passion is in empowering others to take control of their health to prevent both the occurrence as well as complications of chronic diseases, utilizing evidence based medicine. She specializes in personalized lifestyle medicine for life long results.

Michelle has extensive experience counseling patients in weight management (weight loss, gain and maintenance), diabetes (prediabetes, type 1, type 2, and gestational), cardiovascular disease (high cholesterol, high blood pressure, congestive heart failure), kidney disease (all stages and dialysis), and family nutrition (pregnancy, infants, and children). Michelle additionally provides virtual consultations to non-local customers. To learn more, visit her website at, or find her on Instagram and LinkedIn.