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Healthy Alternatives to Your Favorite Foods

Craving fast food? Have a sweet tooth? We talked to Elizabeth Staum, M.S., R.D., L.D.N., Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center, to find healthy alternatives to your favorite foods. As always, it's important to keep in mind portion sizes of these healthier alternatives, and make sure that the calories per serving fit with the meal plan you're following.

When you want something sweet...

Instead of cake, cookies, or ice cream, try:

  • Sugar-free jello or hard candies (but always read the Nutrition Label on every food for serving size information)
  • Sugar-free hot cocoa
  • Fruit with cool whip
  • Lower fat cookies like ginger snaps, vanilla wafers, graham crackers, animal crackers (again, observe serving size)
  • No sugar added pudding or fudgsicles
  • Eating very small portions of your favorite treat

When you want something salty and crunchy...

Instead of potato chips or tortilla chips, try:

  • Low-sodium pretzels
  • Air-popped popcorn
  • Baked chips or baked tortilla chips
  • Cut raw veggies with low fat dip, salsa, or low fat cream cheese
  • Pickles

When you want something to drink...

Instead of soda or fruit punch, try:

  • Diet soda
  • Crystal light or other sugar-free beverages
  • Seltzer with just an ounce or two of fruit juice
  • Water with lemon juice

When you want fast food...

Instead of hamburgers or hotdogs, try:

  • Grilled or broiled chicken sandwiches
  • 1 slice of thin crust veggie pizza
  •  Low fat sub sandwiches 

When you want "comfort food"...

Instead of high-fat, high-carb choices, try:

  • Macaroni and cheese cooked with fat-free evaporated milk, low fat cheese, and egg substitute
  • Mashed potatoes made with trans-fat free margarine and fat-free milk, or replace part of the potato with pureed cauliflower
  • Meatloaf made with ground turkey and egg substitute
  • Beef stew made with round cut beef, fewer potatoes, and more non-starchy vegetables like carrots, onions, green beans, and spinach

To learn more about Nutrition Education at Joslin Diabetes Center, or to make an appointment with a dietitian, please click here.

Page last updated: November 07, 2019