If you’re trying to keep your blood sugar under control, the trick isn’t just about limiting the types of foods you eat. The order you eat them in may also be key, according to new findings published in the journal Diabetes Care that show chowing down on protein and vegetables before eating simple carbs can help people with type 2 diabetes keep their blood sugar and insulin levels down throughout the day, the Telegraph reports.

For the study, researchers at Weill Cornell Medical College in New York analyzed the blood sugar levels of 11 obese or overweight people with type 2 diabetes, a metabolic condition where the body does not make enough insulin, a hormone that helps regulate blood sugar levels.

Scientists asked each participant to fast for 12 hours overnight before eating a “typical” 628-calorie Western meal, including a skinless chicken breast, some buttered broccoli and a salad, as well as ciabatta bread and a glass of orange juice.

For the first week of the study, subjects were told to eat the bread and drink the juice first, before eating the protein and veggies 15 minutes later. A week later, they ate the same meal in reverse order. During both phases of the study, researchers measured blood sugar levels of each participant before they ate, as well as 30, 60 and 120 minutes after the meal.

Results showed that blood sugar levels were lower at each 30-minute interval during the week that the group ate the chicken and vegetables first when compared with the week they began their meal with the bread and beverage.

Besides uncovering a neat trick for eating healthy with type 2 diabetes, study authors said the research “also shows that highly desired foods (think baked goods and sweet drinks) can be a part of a diet if we sneak them in there.”

Want to try out the experiment for yourself? Click here for our guide to diabetes-friendly eating.