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Pasta & Rice Swaps That Won't Spike Your Blood Sugar

I grew up eating pasta, my mom made the best homemade marinara sauce, and I loved dipping garlic bread in the sauce... I was a happy kid. This was my reality; we were always outside, riding bikes, playing basketball and counting carbs was something I didn't have to worry about yet.

After my diagnosis at 14 yrs. old, I continued to eat bread at every meal, and I now look back at how little I understood about food or what carbohydrates were all about.

So, when I got a bit older married and had my daughter, and started cooking more, it was time to pay attention. I saw how processed breads, pasta and white rice was affecting my insulin needs and gut health.

Knew I'd keep suffering, if I didn't figure it out.

Life with diabetes has enough rules, so when you find healthier swaps for pasta and rice, that you love and won't spike blood sugar, it's time to get excited. Women are busy and time in the kitchen needs to be easy and without obstacles to eat smart with diabetes.

Choosing the right foods, especially carbohydrates, we must first understand the different types and portion size will affect how blood sugar responds. Fortunately, there are many options to choose from, making eating smart with healthier pasta and rice swaps to manage diabetes and avoiding blood sugar spikes easier.

Important to first understand the different types of carbohydrates and how they impact blood sugar, then decide on the pasta and rice swaps you can choose to better predict how your blood sugar responds.

Simple Carbs vs. Complex Carbs

Carbohydrates are made up of different types of sugars, starches, and fiber. Simple carbohydrates are carbohydrates that consist of one or two types of sugars: monosaccharides and disaccharides and they tend to be packaged processed foods. They release energy and cause a quick and temporary rise in blood sugar and insulin levels.

Examples of simple carbs include:

  • honey, syrup, and nectar

  • fruit and fruit juice

  • milk and milk products

  • soda and sweetened drinks

  • candy

  • table sugar

  • artificial sweeteners

  • cereals

  • cakes and pastries

  • processed grains such as white flour

White rice and some types of pasta's are considered simple and lack fiber, this combination will enter the body and increase blood sugar more quickly.

Complex carbohydrates refer to carbs that contain three or more sugars. These sugars are known as oligosaccharides and polysaccharides and are bonded together in a complex chemical structure.

The body digests complex carbohydrates more slowly than simple carbohydrates, causing a more gradual rise in blood sugar. Complex carbohydrates can make you feel fuller for longer and avoid blood sugar spike after a meal. When a complex carbohydrate is combined with healthy fat and quality source of protein you create a balanced meal.

Advertising tells us that whole wheat pasta is a healthier option than white pasta, but both contain similar amounts of protein, fiber and carbohydrate per serving. Resulting a similar blood sugar response.

For example, a 1-cup serving of whole wheat spaghetti provides approximately 7 grams of protein and 37 grams of carbohydrates, while 1 cup of white pasta provides approximately 8 grams of protein and 43 grams of carbohydrates. Both whole wheat and white pasta are processed and are not the best options if blood sugar control is your goal.

Complex carbohydrates contain fiber and consist of whole foods, both starchy and non-starchy vegetables fall into this category and typically have a gentler effect on blood sugar.

Complex carbs include starchy and non-starchy vegetables, below are examples: *Download free recipes containing complex carbs.

Starchy Vegetables: Higher in carbohydrates and increase blood sugar.

  • Acorn and butternut squash

  • Beets

  • Breadfruit

  • Cassava

  • Corn

  • Green peas

  • Hominy

  • Parsnips

  • Plantains

  • Potatoes

  • Taro

  • Yams

Non-Starchy Vegetables: Naturally lower in calories and carbohydrates

  • Artichokes and artichoke hearts

  • Asparagus

  • Brussels sprouts

  • Broccoli

  • Cabbage (green, Bok choy, Chinese, red)

  • Celery

  • Chicory

  • Chayote

  • Cucumbers

  • Dandelion greens

  • Leeks

  • Okra

  • Peppers (all green types)

  • Scallions

  • Zucchini

Lettuces and greens in the non-starchy category include:

  • Arugula

  • Chicory

  • Collard greens

  • Endive

  • Escarole

  • Iceberg lettuce

  • Kale

  • Leaf lettuce

  • Mustard greens

  • Radicchio

  • Romaine lettuce

  • Spinach

  • Swiss chard

  • Turnip greens

  • Watercress

Pasta & Rice Swaps That Won't Spike Blood Sugar

The quality of ingredients and how food is made tells the full story, and how your body will respond.

Complex carbohydrates when combined with a source of quality protein and healthy fat, makes for a balanced meal and easier to avoid a blood sugar spike.

Here's examples of delicious pasta and rice options containing fiber and protein to swap out for the typical simple carbohydrates:

Pasta Swaps:

  • Bean pasta (i.e., black bean, edamame, legume, chickpea, mung bean, lentil)

  • Spaghetti Squash

  • Shirataki miracle noodles

  • Zucchini noodles (how to make without a spiralizer)

Rice Swaps:

Carbohydrates have the most impact on your blood sugar, so make a plan to pick what types of complex carbohydrate you will swap out, to replace the simple carbs, pasta and rice.

When you eat healthier options of real whole food, it sure can make life with diabetes so much easier...avoiding a blood sugar spike sure helps too.


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