Protein is one of the three macronutrients that make up the foods we eat—the other two are carbohydrate and fat. Protein, carbohydrate, and fat are essential nutrients, meaning they each play a vital role in the human body. Protein’s job is to make and repair our body’s cells, which is important for growth, muscle-building, and skin-healing.
You want a deep-dish pizza—your blood glucose (blood sugar) says, “Hard pass.” Here’s how you can still have your favorite foods while living with diabetes without compromising your wellness goals
How Food Impacts Blood Glucose LevelsPop quiz: If you have diabetes, did you know that there are no foods that are off-limits? There aren’t. Everything has its place in a balanced eating plan, even if you’re living with diabetes. That said, eating more of some foods and less of others can make managing your blood glucose (blood sugar) a lot easier—something that’s important for feeling good now and staying healthy for years to come.
Reaching the target range for your blood glucose levels is the best way to avoid diabetes complications and helps you feel better too. Talk to members of your health care team or a registered dietitian nutritionist about which foods to eat and how much of them you should eat to manage your blood glucose. Generally speaking, to keep blood glucose steady, try eating more foods that have fiber, protein, or healthy fats (which slow the release of glucose into the bloodstream) and fewer foods made of simple carbs (like sweets and sweet drinks), which cause glucose to spike.
Swaps for Your Favorite FoodsWith that in mind, we’ve rounded up some simple swaps that will let you enjoy your favorite foods without major changes to your blood glucose (blood sugar).
1. Breakfast cereals with added sugar
Try: Whole-grain toaster waffle topped with nut butter and cacao nibs
This swap has all the flavors you love while healthy fats and high-fiber cacao nibs help stabilize blood glucose.
Try: Low-carb wrap topped with tomato sauce and shredded cheese
Spread your favorite toppings on a low-carb wrap and heat it up in a non-stick skillet or air fryer to mimic that charred crust taste.
Try: Flavored sparkling water
Reach for a can of sugar- and calorie-free flavored seltzer or drop fruit pieces like pineapple chunks or strawberry slices into plain sparkling water.
Try: Chickpea or lentil pasta
Dried pastas made with chickpea or lentil flour contain more fiber and protein, meaning they’re a nutrient-dense choice for people living with diabetes.
7. Chips and queso
Try: Veggies and a vegan queso
To satisfy that salty-meets-gooey craving, whip up this vegan queso made with tofu and nutritional yeast and dip in non-starchy veggies such as bell peppers or radishes.
8. Ice cream
Try: “Nice” cream
“Nice” cream is made by whirling frozen bananas in a food processor, which gives them the texture of frozen yogurt. Plus, you can add the healthy topping of your choice, such as fruit, nuts, or sugar-free coconut shavings. To get started, try this Peppermint Chocolate Nice Cream.
Pistachios provide a trifecta of protein, fiber, and healthy fats. Research also shows that when eaten as part of a weight-loss diet, pistachios decrease one’s consumption of sweets.
Find the BalanceRemember: You don’t have to deny yourself your favorite pepperoni pizza or a scoop of mint chocolate chip ice cream all the time, but trying swaps like the ones above can help satisfy your cravings while keeping your blood glucose (blood sugar) in check—for better well-being now and over the long run.
WeightWatchers is committed to supporting people living with diabetes and will donate $1 from every membership purchased via the promotional link to the American Diabetes Association®. Learn more about WeightWatchers’ Diabetes-Tailored Plan.