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Give Your Carbs a Healthy Makeover - Part I

This year, use your winter hibernation for a healthy carbohydrate makeover! Carbohydrates are not only the foundation for a nutritious diet but are also the body’s primary energy source for your muscles and essential tissues such as the kidneys, liver, brain, and heart.

Tips for reducing carbs with type 2 diabetes

Everyone – yes, even people with diabetes – needs adequate carbohydrate consumption to fuel the body. So, let carbs shine; just eat the right kind! Incorporate mealtime balance strategies that promote health, glycemic control, and long-lasting energy, starting at breakfast.

Breakfast healthy carb makeover

It is time to reinvent how people across the world approach carbohydrates, starting with the first meal of the day! Use the information below to compare a highly refined version of this morning favorite with a healthier, whole-grain, less-processed alternative. Keep in mind you may not need a lower amount of carbohydrates, just a less refined type.

Refined carb meal

  • Stack of 2 pancakes made with white flour (30g)
  • 2 tbsp of maple syrup (15g)
  • ¾ cup blueberries (15g)
  • 1 cup coffee with ½ tsp sugar (2.5g) and 1/3 cup whole milk (6g)

Healthy carb makeover meal

  • 1 slice of whole-wheat toast (15g)
  • ¼ a medium-size avocado (0g)
  • 1 egg any style (0g)
  • ¾ cup blueberries (15g)
  • 1¼ cup whole strawberries (15g)
  • 1 cup coffee with ½ cup fat-free milk (6g), no sugar (0g)

Carb info: refined carb meal = 68.6g; healthy carb makeover meal = 51g

Tip: Build a new healthy habit and start your day with 2 cups of water. Take action by leaving a glass on your nightstand, so it’s handy when you wake up. Water should always come before coffee. Getting adequate water can also help you avoid mistaking thirst for hunger! Maximize fluid absorption with sips, not chugs, throughout the day.

Mid-morning snack healthy carb makeover

Avoid being a hangry housemate or officemate by incorporating healthy snacks when needed. Swap out refined carbohydrate ingredients for fiber-filled alternatives. High-fiber snacks help you to stay full between meals, aid in blood glucose control, and help prevent osteoarthritis. Not to mention that carbs packed with fiber add a burst of color, vitamins, and phytonutrients.

Refined carb snack

  • 12 butter-type crackers (30g)
  • 2 tbsp hummus (15g)
  • 3 cups popcorn with butter (15g)

Healthy carb makeover snack

  • 1 cup raw carrots (5g)
  • 2 tbsp hummus (15g)
  • 2 cups popcorn with 1 tsp olive oil + 1 tbsp parmesan cheese and Italian herbs (10g)
  • low-fat string cheese (mozzarella) (0g)

Carb info: refined carb snack = 60g; healthy carb makeover snack= 30g

Tip: Don’t forget to incorporate fiber-packed carbohydrates into your snack plan. Popcorn is a healthy whole grain that is satisfying. The number of carbs required may need to change from day to day, depending on your schedule. Revolve the number of carbohydrates consumed around your energy needs or physically demanding activities. Remember, always keep a snack on hand in the event of low blood sugar levels.

Small changes are key

The trick to any lifestyle improvement is to start with small adjustments that accumulate into big changes. Take control of your blood glucose levels one bite at a time. For healthy lunch and dinner substitutions, stay tuned for Part 2 of the Carbohydrate Makeover series.

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