Whether you are looking for diabetes-friendly recipe substitutions for yourself or for someone you know who has diabetes, the following substitution list will help you prepare delicious and healthy diabetic-friendly food. Enjoy!
Butter, Shortening, And Oil Replacements
When recipes call for butter or oil, the easiest way to make them diabetic-friendly is to replace half of the ingredients with unsweetened applesauce. Applesauce contains pectin, and it acts similarly to butter, shortening, and oil.
Whole Eggs Substituted With Egg Whites
Egg yolks are the part of the egg that contains cholesterol. By skipping the yolk, and using two egg whites to substitute each whole egg, you are getting the benefit of almost the same amount of protein without the fat and cholesterol while reducing your caloric intake. You can use the 2-to-1 equation for baking, cooking, and even making scrambled eggs.
Replacing Whole Eggs With Egg Substitute
Another good option to replace eggs is by using egg substitute. These products can be bought in the store and are usually located right near the egg cartons. They are made from egg whites, meaning they are cholesterol and fat-free. Egg substitute might be a good choice for scrambled eggs because it usually has a yellow color to it, making it similar in appearance to a whole egg.
Use Spaghetti Squash And Skip The Pasta
Spaghetti squash is a great lower-carb alternative to regular pasta. It’s simple to cook and satisfying to eat. You can bake it or you can boil it. This dish works well with or without sauce, so it’s a great way to experiment with dishes in the kitchen. It’s important to keep in mind that spaghetti squash doesn’t taste exactly like spaghetti and it has a little bit of a nutty flavor to it.
Instead Of Spaghetti, Try Zucchini Pasta
By substituting spaghetti with zucchini, you’re reducing carbs. Zucchini is such a versatile vegetable, that you can make almost any noodle with it. The benefit of using zucchini instead of spaghetti squash is that the zucchini pasta doesn’t have an overpowering taste and it seems to soak up the flavors of the dish.
Jam And Jelly Substitutes
We live in a great time where there’s such a variety of foods available at most supermarkets. If you need to use some jam or jelly, the best alternative to this is to buy sugar-free variations or reduced sugar brands. The great taste might fool you!
Cauliflower, a Substitute for Mashed Potatoes
One cup of mashed potatoes has about 37 grams of carbohydrates. A tasty substitution for this side dish is cauliflower. You can choose to mash only cauliflower, which will give you 5 grams of carbs and 2 grams of fiber per cup, compared to the steep 37 grams from mashed potatoes, or you can substitute half of the potatoes with cauliflower, giving you about 21 grams of carbs per cup.
Hash Browns Substituted With Summer Squash
Using summer squash (the yellow football-shaped squash), you’ll be able to enjoy a wonderful side dish with your breakfast, including a reduction of carbs since you won’t be using potatoes. You can grate the squash, mix it with some egg whites, and fry them up using some olive oil. The best part is that summer squash tastes just like potatoes when you turn them into hash browns.
Hash Browns Substituted With Cauliflower
A great way to reduce carbohydrates while enjoying hash browns with your breakfast is to substitute the potatoes with cauliflower. Using cauliflower is the most realistic alternative to potatoes because of their texture and flavor. They are grain free, low carb, and can take on the flavor of whatever topping or spices you choose.
Substitution For Any Type of Pasta, Whole Wheat Pasta
If you still want to eat pasta but want to add fiber to your diet for more glucose control, then a good substitute is whole wheat pasta because it has about three times the amount of fiber that regular pasta has. The texture of whole wheat pasta and the ability to make you feel full makes this a good alternative to even spaghetti squash.
Substituting Butter With Olive Oil
Butter is not a healthy diabetic choice because it contains a high amount of saturated fat. Plant-based oils are a healthy alternative because they contain monounsaturated fats which are good for you. If you’re baking, try to use a vegetable oil. And if you’re cooking stuff on the stove top, a vegetable oil spray should do the trick for your pans.
Greek Yogurt, A Sour Cream Substitute
If your recipe calls for sour cream, which contains a lot of saturated fat, a good alternative is to use fat-free or low fat plain Greek yogurt. It’s high in protein, low in carbs, and low in sugar. It’s thick consistency and sour taste is comparable to sour cream, so you’ll easily fill the void.
Skip the Bacon And Eat Prosciutto
Traditional bacon is high in calories and fat. A healthy alternative for a diabetic diet is to eat lean prosciutto or pancetta. By replacing bacon with one of these, you’ll be cutting the calorie content and fat content almost in half. Other substitutions include Canadian bacon, smoked turkey, or turkey bacon.
Substituting Flour With Coconut Flour
For a partial substitute for wheat flour, coconut flour is a great contender. It’s high in fiber and low in carbohydrates. If you use too much coconut flour, your cake or whatever you’re baking might taste bitter, so it’s a good idea to use about a half cup to avoid this.
Substituting Potato Chips With Popcorn
Potato chips are high in fat. They are oily, salty, and contain a lot of calories. A good substitution is popcorn. Popcorn is a healthy whole grain snack. It’s low in carbs and it contains some fiber. Not only is it healthier, but it will make you feel full and curb your cravings.
Homemade Salad Dressing To Substitute Store Brands
It’s really easy to make salad dressing at home. By doing so, you’ll be able to avoid the added sugar and sodium that store brands contain. It can be as easy as mixing some balsamic vinaigrette with olive oil. You can add lemon juice and herbs like basil, oregano, garlic powder, and pepper.
Replacing Ground Beef With Turkey
When it comes to calories, fat, and saturated fat, poultry is usually the winner in the meat department. The ideal candidate for ground beef substitution is 99% lean ground turkey. It’s best to avoid turkey that’s 85% lean because it sometimes contains a lot of calories and fat, since it may contain dark meat.
Cut The Soda Out of Your Diet With Sparkling Water
Soda beverages are empty calories laden with sugar. You can always opt for diet sodas, but a healthier alternative is sparkling water. It contains no calories or carbs, and you can find it in many flavors like lemon, lime, grapefruit, and even orange. One idea is getting plain sparkling water and adding your own wedge or lemon or orange for an all-natural alternative.
Eat Kale Chips Instead of Potato Chips
Kale offers anti-inflammatory and antioxidant benefits. You drizzle a little olive oil on the cut-up kale before you bake it. When they’re done, you’ll be enjoying healthy vegetable chips that crunch, while avoiding the high calories and carbs from traditional potato chips! This superfood is packed full of vitamin A, vitamin C, and over 50 flavonoids.
Tomatoes Can Double-Duty As Pizza Sauce
If you love pizza, try skipping the pizza sauce next time. Instead, why not try some sliced Roma tomatoes? By using sliced tomatoes, you’re cutting out all the sodium and sugar that you find in the jarred sauces, while still enjoying a great flavor. If you feel it’s not salty enough, then try adding various herbs.
Substituting All Purpose Flour With Whole Wheat Flour
By using whole wheat flour in your recipes, you’ll be adding more fiber to your diet. If the flavor throws you off, you can start by substituting about 1/4 of the flour with whole wheat flour. You can then try upping it to half, and then to 3/4, and finally using only whole wheat flour in your baking.
Substituting Ice Cream With Frozen Yogurt
It’s not easy finding a good fat-free and sugar-free ice cream. The sugar-free ice creams usually contain a high amount of saturated fat. If you’re craving some sweet and creamy ice cream, a good alternative for a diabetic diet is fat-free frozen yogurt. This frozen dessert keeps both calories and sugar low.
Heavy Cream Substituted With Evaporated Skim Milk
Some recipes call for heavy cream, but the problem is that heavy cream is not diabetic-friendly because the amount of fat and calories it contains. A good alternative is to use evaporated skim milk. It’s fat-free and healthy. Make sure it’s evaporated skim milk and not sweetened condensed milk, though.
Milk Substitution Ideas
If you’re a fan of milk, you can make it go the extra distance by drinking zero fat plain white skim milk. If you’re lactose intolerant, or if you want to reduce your sugar intake a little bit, you can substitute milk with a soy milk product. You can also try almond milk or rice milk, but make sure to check how much sugar there is per serving.
Substitute Mayonnaise With Greek Yogurt
Mayo has a lot of fat and calories. Whether you need to use it on a sandwich or if you’re mixing it with a can of tuna, then Greek yogurt is a good alternative spread. Plain Greek yogurt has the zesty taste of some mayo brands, and it’s creamy. For some added zing, try adding some lemon juice or Dijon mustard to the mix.
You Can Substitute Rice With Lentils
Lentils are high in fiber and protein. At the same time, they aren’t too calorie-dense. This is a good substitution for white rice because rice contains a high amount of carbohydrates. When compared to rice, lentils have a low glycemic index (GI), and they help regulate blood sugar and improve glycemic control.
Stevia, an Alternative to Sugar
Sugar and other natural sweeteners can elevate blood sugar levels. Are you craving something sweet? This is where Stevia comes to the rescue! Stevia is a zero calorie plant-based sweetener that’s been used around the world and it’s safe for diabetics. If you are thinking of baking some cookies, skip the sugar and grab some Stevia.
You Can Also Substitute Rice With Quinoa
Let’s face it — rice is full of carbs. Quinoa is a great alternative because it’s a whole grain food that promotes steady blood sugar levels since it has a low glycemic index. It’s packed with protein, vitamins, and minerals to add to your balanced diet. Quinoa is also easy to prepare.
Substitute Butter with Prunes
If you’re baking dark cakes or other dark baked goods, prune purée works just as well as butter. You’ll need to boil the prunes in a little water and then purée them before adding to your recipe. When compared to butter, these prunes are about half the calories and fat.
You Can Substitute Salt With Fresh Herbs
To avoid salt, you can use fresh herbs in your foods — like garlic, pepper, lemon zest, or other sodium-free herbs and spices. This will reduce your sodium intake and still leave you with delicious-tasting foods. For cooking, you can try using a sodium free salt alternative or a blend.
Use Low-Fat Cottage Cheese Instead of Sour Cream
This is a low-fat alternative to sour cream, and you use cottage cheese cup for cup when compared to sour cream. The best way to substitute sour cream is to get a cup of low-fat cottage cheese, 4 tbsp. of low-fat milk, and 2 tsp. of lemon juice. Blend it all up in a blender and you’re set!
Substitute Sugar and Creamer in Your Coffee With Cinnamon
By using cinnamon in your coffee instead of sugar and cream, you’ll be dramatically reducing your calories, carbs, and fat. Cinnamon offerss some major health benefits such as counteracting inflammation, supporting digestive health and strengthening the immune system. By adding this spice to your coffee, you’ll be enjoying a nice spiced cup of joe.
Sweet Potato Fries Instead of French Fries
The glycemic index of sweet potatoes is a lot lower than that of french fries. Sweet potatoes are packed full of good nutrients, providing a great source of vitamin A, fiber, and vitamin C. Cut your sweet potatoes into fries, drizzle them with olive oil, sprinkle them with salt and bake them in the oven until cooked, and you’ve got a healthier substitute for french fries.
Substitute Sugar with Unsweetened Applesauce
By substituting sugar with unsweetened applesauce, you’ll be saving on calories and reducing your sugar intake. Sugar is basically devoid of nutrients. Applesauce adds vitamins, minerals, and fiber that refined sugar alone doesn’t have. So the next time you’re baking something, try some applesauce and skip the sugar.
Substitute Frosting With Meringue
Frosting is thick, and it’s packed full of sugar. Meringue is lighter, fluffier, and it’s made by just using egg whites and a little sugar. You can use meringue on cakes instead of high-calorie frosting, and if you want to add a twist to your cake, you can use a torch to lightly char the meringue — which brings out a nice caramelized flavor.
Brown Rice Instead of White Rice
Brown rice is actually white rice that has not been stripped of its nutrients and refined. Fiber and magnesium, which have been shown to regulate blood sugar, are nutrients that are found in brown rice. White rice strips these nutrients out. You can find brown rice precooked, or you can make it yourself in a pot or rice cooker.
Swap Lettuce Leaves Instead of Tortilla Wraps
Lettuce is not the same as tortillas, but it’s a great substitute. Swapping out a tortilla wrap with lettuce pieces really cuts down on carbs. A few slices of lettuce should hold all of the fillings in place, and you’ll have a satisfying crunch with each bite that you take.
Substitute Croutons With Nuts
Croutons are often high in carbs, and they sometimes contain sodium and unhealthy fats. Nuts are a great substitution because you’ll be adding texture and flavor to your salad, and nuts are wonderful at controlling blood sugar levels. One note: nuts contain a lot of calories so it’s best to consume them sparingly.
Try Using Reduced-Fat Ricotta or Low-Fat Cottage Cheese
When a recipe calls for ricotta cheese, you can always go with a low-fat ricotta. If you’re looking for a good ricotta substitute, try low-fat cottage cheese. Cottage cheese can be used as a substitution for sour cream and many other ingredients, and it lasts longer when compared to ricotta, which perishes quickly.