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6 Low-Carb Food Makeovers

By Amy Capetta
WebMD Feature

You watch what you eat because of your diabetes, and you know some of your favorite comfort foods can be a problem. You don't have to give them up if you know how to change them.

“Many of my clients are reluctant to part with their highly processed favorites because they don’t think their cravings can be satisfied with healthy food,” says Cheryl Forberg, RD, chef and nutritionist for NBC's The Biggest Loser. “But it’s a misconception that simple, nutritious foods can’t be absolutely bursting with flavor!”

Start using these carb-slashing cooking tips today.

1. Pizza (288 calories, 33 grams of carbs per slice)

Swap the thick crust for a mushroom cap (22 calories, 4.3 grams of carbs).

Building your pizza on a mushroom is a simple way to cut the carbs and calories. When you eat mushrooms, you also get nutrients like potassium, which can help lower blood pressure, and niacin, a B vitamin that helps your body change carbs into fuel for energy.

“Plus, mushrooms have a meaty texture and rich flavor,” Forberg says.

2. Potato chips (230 calories, 23 grams of carbs per 2-ounce serving)

Swap chips for slices of jicama (45 calories, 10 grams of carbs per 1-cup serving).

“Jicama is a sweet, edible root that makes a delicious impostor for your favorite dip,” Forberg says.

Note the difference in serving size.

“One cup of jicama slices also contains 6 grams of fiber (which helps lower cholesterol levels and improves blood glucose control) and nearly 40% of your daily vitamin C,” Forberg says.

3. Spaghetti (One cup has 176 calories and 39 grams of carbs.)

Swap the white noodles for spaghetti squash (42 calories, 10 grams of carbs per 1-cup serving).

You'll get a mildly nutty, sweet flavor and nutrients such as vitamin A and potassium, says Dawn Sherr, RD, associate director of the American Association of Diabetes Educators.

Want actual pasta? Choose one that's made from whole-grain flour.

At 174 calories and 37 grams of carbs per 1-cup serving, that's pretty similar to pasta made from white flour. But there's a difference.

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If the level is below 70 or you are experiencing symptoms such as shaking, sweating or difficulty thinking, you will need to raise the number immediately. A quick solution is to eat a few pieces of hard candy or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey. Recheck your numbers again in 15 minutes to see if the number has gone up. If not, repeat the steps above or call your doctor.

People who experience hypoglycemia several times in a week should call their health care provider. It's important to monitor your levels each day so you can make sure your numbers are within the range. If you are pregnant always consult with your health care provider.

Congratulations on taking steps to manage your health.

However, it's important to continue to track your numbers so that you can make lifestyle changes if needed. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

Your level is high if this reading was taken before eating. Aim for 70-130 before meals and less than 180 two hours after meals.

Even if your number is high, it's not too late for you to take control of your health and lower your blood sugar.

One of the first steps is to monitor your levels each day. If you are pregnant always consult with your physician.

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