Living with diabetes is not easy. The healthy way to keep your blood glucose levels in check is by adopting a healthy diet and lifestyle. What you put in your body can have a profound impact on your overall health, diabetes, or no diabetes. When it comes to snacks for diabetics, healthy snacking is almost similar to those without diabetes (with just a few caveats).
Building a “snacking plan” that is rich in nutrients such as fiber, protein, healthy unsaturated fats, and a limited amount of sugar can not only help in your diabetes management but can also give you the energy that can help you enjoy your life to the fullest.
How To Carefully Choose the Right Foods for Some Snacking?
Sometimes you just need a little something in between meals that is easy to grab and go and will help keep your blood sugar levels stable and your stomach full. Choosing the right snacks can be a bit tricky for diabetics. People with diabetes are twice as likely to develop cardiovascular diseases, which makes it imperative for them to choose snacks that are low on salt (that is sodium) and saturated fats content.
You don’t necessarily have to drop some of your favorite snacks altogether. You just have to strategically plan out the treats that help keep your blood sugar levels stable throughout the day and still give you that boost of energy you’re missing.
Things to Remember when Snacking: Eat Smarter
When it comes to having snacks for diabetics, it is important to remember to:
- Eat small and moderate portions. Pay attention to your portion sizes and keep an eye out for the serving size as well. Here’s a guide on serving sizes to help you.
- Put your snacks on a separate plate. It is preferable that you don’t eat directly out of the box or bag.
- Try not to snack while watching TV, driving, or reading; this can encourage “mindless” snacking, and you could eat more than you had originally planned.
- Aim to eat no more than 30 grams of carbohydrate in a snack. Snacks can be a nutritious, filling way to fit in another serving of fruits or vegetables into your day!
- Pair a protein source with a small carbohydrate source for a snack; this helps keep blood sugar levels under control and keep you full until your next meal (e.g. Whole wheat crackers with peanut butter or low-fat cottage cheese with berries).
- Choose snacks with high fiber (Apple with some peanut butter, dried fruits, or nuts).
- If your meals are more than five hours apart, try to have a snack in between so you aren’t tempted to overeat at meals.
- Avoid processed food & sugary drinks (including some lattes).
A Healthy Snacking Plan to Get Rid of Those Cravings
The best snacks for diabetics are those that are high on fibers and proteins and low on fats, salts, and carbs. Stay away from processed and junk foods that have lots of sugar or salt such as potato chips, cookies, cheese puffs, etc. Contrary to popular belief, it does not completely get rid of your cravings, and it might leave you feeling good for a while but it does more harm than good.
Here’s a healthy snacking plan to help you with your cravings and some things to avoid as well.
Enjoy Snacks that have less than 5 g of Carbs
- 3 celery sticks topped with peanut butter
- 5 baby carrots
- 5 cherry tomatoes dipped in ranch
- 1 cup cucumber slices with hummus
- String cheese
- Hard-boiled egg
- 1 cup popcorn (no butter)
Snack in Moderation (15-30 g Carb)
- 1 small apple and 1 slice of low-fat cheese or 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- ½ cup plain Greek yogurt with ½ cup fresh mixed berries
- ¼ cup dried fruit mixed with nuts
- 1 piece of whole-wheat toast slathered with some mashed avocado
Avoid Anything that has more than 30 g of Carbs
- Mixed fruits that are canned in syrup
- Snacks high in fat like potato chips
- Sweetened yogurt
- Excess dried fruit
- French fries
- Granola bars with more than 30 grams of carbohydrate
Sweet Tooth: Craving Something Sweet?
Every once in a while, it is okay to have a sweet treat. It’s important to remember to follow portion sizes and eat in moderation. A sweet dessert is more satisfying if you don’t have it often!
Here are some good ideas for naturally low-sugar desserts that can be great snacks for diabetics:
- Frozen fruit bars (with no added sugar)
- ½ cup mixed berries topped with 2 TB Cool Whip
- Unsweetened applesauce
- One or two squares of dark chocolate
- ½ cup-sized scoop of frozen yogurt
- Sugar-free gelatin
- A few squares of graham crackers
Remember, even a healthy snack when overeaten, can negatively affect your blood sugar levels and can cause weight gain. The goal is to effectively manage your blood glucose levels by incorporating healthy snacking, with healthy portion sizes. Keep it small and stick to a schedule when it comes to snacking. Be it your everyday meals or just snacks, have a schedule. This will contribute to helping you keep your blood glucose levels steady throughout the day.
The good news is you don’t have to give up some of your favorite snacks altogether. You just need to find better and healthier ways to incorporate them into your diet. It’s just as important to recognize which treats you need to start incorporating into your diet and which treats you need to cut off from your diet. If you’re have trouble finding the best snacks or understanding portion sizes for snacks for diabetics, we recommend talking to your doctor or dietitian. They can better recommend which foods are best for your diet and which foods can better help you stabilize your blood glucose levels. Remember, you are what you eat! So, make good choices & eat healthy!