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Healthy replacement foods for diabetics

healthy replacements for diabetics

We all know the kind of food we should be eating… Plenty of fresh vegetables, healthy fats, protein and limited carbs. That’s the ideal diabetic diet. But sometimes our diets are so far from the ideal that it’s hard to know where to start.

Diabetic diet replacements

It can help to ease into a healthy diabetic diet slowly so that it becomes sustainable: part of a new lifestyle rather than a diet that can be picked up and put down. One way of doing this is to look at the foods we’re eating that we know are wrong for us, and instead of cutting them out completely (which is sometimes too difficult), replace them with healthier options. We asked Leanne Kiezer, the dietitian at Pick n Pay, to give us some healthy replacement ideas. Here’s what she said:

Instead of thisTry this
Cordials and cold drinksSugar-free cordials and cold drinks.  Water with sliced berries or lemon for flavour.
Jams and marmaladeTry low sugar or sugar-free alternatives.
GranolaSwiss muesli or granola with no added honey or sugar.
Fruit juiceFruit juice, diluted with sparkling water.
Fruit, canned in syrupFruit, canned in natural juice. Fresh fruit. Stewed dried fruit.
DessertsChoose a fruit sorbet rather than ice cream. Grilled nectarines make a healthy dessert. Homemade dessert recipes can be made with far less sugar. Share a dessert if you are out.
Flavoured milkUse less powder when making milky drinks at home. Look for sugar-free alternatives. Use cocoa, fat-free milk and sweetener for a delicious hot chocolate.
Sweetened yoghurtPlain, low-fat yoghurt with added fruit or fruit puree.
Energy bars and granola bars  Dried fruit bars with no added sugar. Homemade trail mix. Low-sugar digestive biscuits. High-fibre crackers with peanut butter.
RusksLow-sugar rusks.
MuffinsHomemade muffins with added banana, raisins or apple puree and less sugar in the recipe.
White breadWholewheat or seed bread
White pasta or riceWholewheat pasta or brown rice
Plain maize mealMaize meal with lentils, or samp and beans
High-energy, low-fibre snacksHomemade popcorn
Mash or potatoes without skinPotatoes with skin, baby potatoes or sweet potato
Breakfast cereal without fibreHigh-fibre breakfast cereal

Do you have any other foods you’d like to replace with something healthier? Let us know!

Photo by Wouter Meijering on Unsplash

Published inAsk the Dietician


  1. Shireen Shireen

    I am struggling with potatoes,

    • Do you mean they spike your blood sugar? Me too 🙁

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