As a person with diabetes, I have to pay close attention to what I eat and how it affects my body. Doing this has taught me a few substitutions for some common sources of excess sugar and excess calories. I have discovered these healthy food swaps by experimenting with different ingredients, and looking for the healthiest and tastiest combinations. So, here are 15 healthy food swaps I've learned as a diabetic. 

1. Homemade Iced Tea instead of Juice

sweet, cocktail, tea, lemon, iced tea, juice, lemonade, ice
Claire Waggoner

Instead of buying juice or teas with tons of added sugar, I like to make my own by steeping a large pot of my favorite tea, bottling it up, and putting it in the fridge as a handy to-go drink. If you want more variety, try out different tea flavors, or add fruit for a little extra punch. 

2. Flavored Seltzer instead of Soda

coffee, ice, alcohol, tea, beer
Mackenzie Patel

Avoid the excess sugar in soda and get the same bubbly effect by drinking flavored seltzer instead. If you want something a little more sweet, try adding freshly-cut citrus or frozen berries.

3. Frozen Fruit instead of Frozen Treats

sweet, berry, blueberry
Jocelyn Hsu

Instead of a frozen treat laden with sugar, pop some berries in the freezer and munch on them for dessert. Frozen berries have the sweetness of popsicles or ice cream, while still giving you that frozen fix. 

4. Greek Yogurt & Mustard instead of Salad Dressing

sweet, dairy product
Lauryn Lahr

If you're looking for creamy salad dressing or veggie dip, but want a little less sugar, try using mustard and unsweetened Greek yogurt as a base. Then, add in any spices to liven up the dressing. My go-to is Greek yogurt, old-fashioned mustard, Dijon mustard, salt, pepper, and oregano.

5. Almond Milk instead of Skim Milk

milk, tea, water
Alex Frank

Although you won't get the same protein hit, using unsweetened almond milk instead of skim milk may help if you want a milk alternative that is lower in sugar. Some store-bought almond milks can be high in added sugars, so make sure you get the unsweetened kind. If you have some time, making your own almond milk can be the best, and most fun, option. 

#Spoon Tip: Use almond milk in your scrambled eggs for a super creamy texture. 

6. Sliced Vegetables instead of Chips

stir-fry, tomato, broccoli, carrot, onion, pepper, vegetable
Christin Urso

Oven roasted or raw vegetables are a great alternative to chips. Veggies are a crunchy snack like potato chips, but they're a much healthier choice. You can even roast your own kale chips if you like a lot of crunch. 

7. Spaghetti Squash instead of Pasta

sweet, cheese, vegetable
Lora Maghen

Spaghetti squash has a similar consistency to pasta noodles, but with less sugar, making it a great alternative. If you have a spiralizer, other vegetables like butternut squash also work as a pasta noodle replacement. 

8. Cinnamon instead of Sugar

sweet, blueberry, cereal, milk, oatmeal
Emily Hu

If you're trying to quit putting sugar in your morning coffee or oatmeal, try adding a little bit of cinnamon instead. Cinnamon has a sweet taste and is known to help with blood sugar control. 

9. Seeds & Nuts instead of Crunchy Salad Toppers

walnut, apricot pits, almond, meat, nut
Kendra Valkema

Many crunchy salad toppings like pita chips and crunchy noodles are not the healthiest choices. If you're looking for something crunchy, but want something a little healthier, consider going for sunflower seeds or chopped almonds that provide an added dose of protein.

10. Cauliflower instead of Rice 

vegetable, salt, risotto, cereal, rice
Kristine Mahan

If you want to cut back on your rice intake, try making cauliflower rice by steaming cauliflower for 6-8 minutes, and then chopping it in a food processor until it starts to look like rice. This option is a great side dish to any meal, not to mention delicious. 

11. Cacao Nibs/Powder instead of Sprinkles

chocolate, cocoa powder, cocoa
Jocelyn Hsu

Instead of using sprinkles, which can be high in added sugar, add cacao nibs or cocoa powder to your desserts for a lower sugar alternative.

12. Powdered Nut Butter instead of Regular Nut Butter

apples and peanut butter, almond butter, Nut butter, apple slice, peanut, peanut butter
Julia Gilman

Even though calories aren't a bad thing, it can be easy to overdo it when it comes to high-calorie foods like nut butters. If you often find yourself overdoing it on the nut butters, powdered nut butter is an incredibly versatile and lower calorie substitute, and it tastes just as good as the regular stuff. 

13. Nutritional Yeast instead of Cheese

wheat, kettle corn, cereal, salt, corn, popcorn
Sarah Silbiger

Again, it can be easy to overdo it when it comes to higher fat foods. Nutritional yeast offers the cheesy flavor I often crave while being lower in fat than actual cheese. Nutritional yeast can also be used in many foods, but my favorites are sprinkled on top of popcorn or pasta.

14. Mushrooms or Lettuce instead of Bread

meat, chicken, vegetable, salad, lettuce
Jackie Kuczynski

From burgers to tacos, you can't go wrong with swapping bread out for lettuce or mushrooms. This cuts down on some sugar and also gives you an extra serving of vegetables.

15. Spices & Olive Oil instead of Butter

rosemary, oil, tea, herb, olive oil
Jessica Kelly

Use olive oil instead of butter every now and then if you want to eat healthier fats. I like to add steak spices, paprika, or oregano for a flavorful punch. 

I use some of these healthy food swaps on a regular basis to help manage my diabetes, but substituting one food for another healthier one is something that anyone can do. Whether it's for health reasons or not, you can continue to experiment and discover new food swaps of your own even. You never know, you could surprise yourself and prefer these healthier alternatives.