5 Food Swaps to Make Diabetes Diets Bearable

You don’t have to give up your favorite foods—they just need a bit of reworking.


Diabetes diets are often considered restrictive and frustrating as they may require you to cut out the fatty, sugary, fried foods you love and crave so much. Although it is true that you must pay closer attention to your diet and give your body higher-quality foods, you don’t have to abandon your preferences entirely. Instead, make simple, flavorful swaps for your favorite foods.

Swap This for That

While there is certainly a difference in taste between these swaps, the difference in health is astronomical, and the quality of your swaps are far higher. With some patience and devotion to your body’s wellness, you may even begin to prefer the healthy alternative.

#1. Milk chocolate for Dark chocolate

Milk chocolate is typically made with a large cocktail of added sugars, flavors, and preservatives to create the light, milky flavor most people associate with chocolate. Instead of reaching for a Hershey’s bar next time you feel the urge to throw back some chocolate, break off a few bars of dark chocolate. Dark chocolate  contains healthy vitamins and minerals, contains fewer additives and has a rich, tangy taste.

#2. Sugary Granola for Cacoa Nibs

Need a crunch in your yogurt to make it palatable? Although granola brands itself as a health food, most granola has plenty of hidden sugars and additives, making it far more similar to a sugar cereal than a genuine source of nutrients. Thankfully, cacao nibs are not only healthy and delicious, but they provide a delightful crunch not quite like granola. As a bonus, nibs tend to retain their crunch instead of becoming soggy.

#3. Soda for Sparkling Water

If you simply cannot give up your favorite sparkling beverage, swap your soda for some sparkling water and a dash of fruit juice such as lemon or orange. Although it will not give you the same sugary high as soda, it will quench your thirst and give you a dash of something sweet.

#4. Potato Chips for Kale Chips

Potato chips are not only extremely unhealthy—they’re difficult to only eat a few of. Instead, make some kale chips at home and eat those instead! The beauty of kale chips is that they are easy to season to your liking and provide a satisfying crunch. Experiment with different oil and spice combinations, such as avocado oil and garlic, coconut oil and nutmeg, or olive oil and an Italian herb blend.

#5. Gummy Bears for Protein Gummy Snacks

Commercial gummy candy is filled with sugar, corn syrup, artificial colors, and preservatives. You can make gummy snacks at home using honey or maple syrup to sweeten, fruit or vegetables to color, and bovine gelatin to create a gummy effect. Although these will still need to be eaten in moderation due to their sugar content, they will provide protein and vitamins not found in commercial candy.

Altering your diet to fit your diagnosis can be difficult but is certainly not impossible and does not have to mean giving up all of the foods you love. With some creativity and reconditioning of your taste buds, you can enjoy healthy versions of your old standby comfort foods.


Joslin Diabetes Center. Accessed 6/2/17.

Corrina Horne-Castro is a freelance writer, as well as a yoga instructor, wife, and mother, with a passion for helping others achieve optimal health and wellness.