Everyone needs to snack now and then in between meals, but if you are living with diabetes you need to choose the healthier snacks. Healthy snacks don’t not just control blood sugar levels in diabetes, they on the other hand provide vitamins and minerals, healthy fats and boost your overall nutrition. They are very important as part of the overall eating plan when it comes to type-2 diabetes. They are a perfect way to keep your blood sugar in control in between the major meals of the day. The important rule in snacking when diabetic is to choose those snacks that won’t affect your blood sugar levels in a negative way. They must keep your blood sugars at steady level, prevent them from dropping too low and raising too high. The choice of snack is of importance as unhealthy snacks can bring all the undesirable effects, uncontrolled diabetes, weight gain, high blood pressure etc.
If you are diabetic you want to snack in a smart way. Choose a snack that will satisfy your hunger, and won’t raise your blood sugar level. Below are guidelines that may help you snack in the safest way.
Am I really hungry?
Don’t eat out of boredom or just to pass time .Before taking a snack, ask yourself if it’s really necessary or are you just passing time. Only take a snack when you are physically hungry.
Check you calories
Limit your calories to 200 or less. Ensure to test your sugar regularly to determine how it responds to different amount of calories as your body may be different from the other person with a similar condition.
Mind you timing
If you have diabetes, timing of meals is of great importance for blood sugar control. So is timing of snacks. Timing of your snack is dependent upon many factors, your blood sugar patterns, your medication, your exercise patterns and your overall lifestyle patterns. Talk to your doctor about your snack timings as there really is no one-size-fits –all as individuals are different. It is important to note that as a diabetic patient, you need to snack before bedtime to keep your blood sugar levels steady throughout the night. The same applies to before and after exercise.
Keep some level consistency in your snacking. It applies to the meals as well. Consistency will help to keep you blood sugar levels predictable.
What is considered healthy
Healthy snacks for diabetics should be high in protein, high in fiber, or a source of healthy fats and lower in carbohydrates. As a rule of thumb, most unprocessed foods are regarded as healthy snacks. These include fruits and vegetables, nuts, seed etc. Your body digests proteins slowly and this makes you fuller for longer. Fiber rich foods are digested slowly as well in the body. The end results are a slower rise in blood sugar levels.
Avoid starchy and sugary snacks and sugar-added beverages. They not only will increase your blood sugars quickly, but they also have negative effects on your body like weight gain and increase in blood pressure. Carbohydrates are digested quickly in your body with the resultant spikes in blood sugar levels.
High Protein Snacks
Protein is required by the body to build and repair tissues. What does this mean? It means they are not converted directly to sugar. High protein snacks are digested more slowly by the body and do not cause a sharp rise in the blood sugar levels after consumption. High protein snacks are especially ideal for diabetic patients and they also keep you full for hours. Below are some of the high protein snacks that may be quiet beneficial to people living with diabetes:
Yogurt is a great source of protein and calcium. It contains probiotics that improves the body’s ability to metabolize foods containing sugar. Combined with fruits such as berries or vegetables such as carrots or celery, it will control your blood sugar and make you feel full for longer periods. Greek yogurt is much thicker and creamier than plain yogurt, and has higher protein content. It is relatively unprocessed as compared to other types of yogurt and hence the healthier choice for you if you are diabetic.
These are easy to find. Just be sure to look for the protein bars that are low in sugar content.
Hard boiled eggs
Egg whites are very rich in proteins and are a very healthy and safe snack for you if you are diabetic. Egg yolk on the other hand contains healthy fats that will keep you feeling satisfied for longer periods. This is a snack that is quiet quick to prepare and can be eaten anytime of the day. You can spice them up a little to brighten the taste or make an egg salad.
Beef sticks have a high protein content and low carbohydrate content, making them a great snack for you if you are diabetic. They are very convenient, portable, suitable for long storage and ideal for consumption when travelling. However it is advisable to consume beef sticks in moderation as it has sodium which is not good for you if consumed in large quantities.
Almonds contain a combination of fiber, protein and healthy fats. They are an excellent choice for snacking as they stabilize your blood sugar levels. Almonds are very good for the heart as they reduce your cholesterol levels and may promote weight loss. It is important to note that almonds have high calories and hence a limited portion size is advised.
This is a great protein rich snack for people with diabetes. It can help people with type-2 diabetes to control both the weight and the blood sugar as it is low in carbs and high in proteins.
High Fiber Snacks
High fiber snacks are digested slowly in your body therefore encouraging slower rise in blood sugar levels and preventing spikes. As with high protein snacks, fiber snacks will make you feel fuller for longer. This is of importance to type-2 diabetes as it not only controls the blood sugar levels but it also manages you weight (Obesity is one of the significant risk factors for diabetes). Fiber in diet is associated with reduced risk of getting cardiovascular diseases and certain cancers.
Whole grain crackers
These are a great and healthy source of fiber. They also taste good. They can be eaten with cottage cheese for an even better taste. Whole grain crackers not only help lowering the blood sugar levels, but help with lowering the bad cholesterol as well.
Fruits such as apple and berries are a rich source of fiber, vitamins and minerals. Be sure to select fruits that are relatively low in sugar hence can be able to eat as much as you may want. Some fruits such as berries have antioxidants that may reduce inflammation.
Healthy smoothies are made by blending healthy fruits and vegetables like cucumber, spinach and berries. A healthy snack choice and tastes great.
Popcorns are a great snack for people with diabetes. It is a healthy whole grain snack with the benefits of added fiber and low calorie density. Avoid pre-packaged popcorn as it is full of sodium and trans-fat. Always air-pop your own corn and add flavors that you prefer.
Healthy Fat Snacks
Your body does not convert fat into glucose directly, just like proteins. The blood sugar rise after consuming healthy fats is more gradual and delayed than with carbohydrate meals. Healthy fats when consumed may help you feel fuller for longer as they are digested slowly.
Nuts are a great and delicious snack in diabetics. They provide healthy fats and are a rich source of proteins. All nuts are a great source of magnesium which has been proven to have beneficial effects on blood pressure.
Avocados have great fiber content and contain healthy fats which are greatly beneficial to your diabetes as they prevent blood sugar spikes. Avocados are high in calories; therefore stick to one half of the avocado or less.
Tuna contains healthy fats, proteins and no carbohydrates. It is therefore one of the healthiest snacks for you if you are diabetic. Mixing tuna with cottage cheese or avocado is an even healthier choice instead of using mayonnaise.
Snacking doesn’t have to be hard when you are diabetic. There are plenty of healthy and easy snacks to choose from. Remember you are at risk of many other diseases so choose snacks that are nutrient dense and healthy. Choose whole grain foods and unprocessed snacks as opposed to processed ones. Processed foods contain a lot of sodium and unhealthy fats. Refined carbohydrates may cause spikes in blood sugar. Aim for 200 calories or less, 15-30g of carbohydrates, at least 3g fiber and 4g of protein. Remember to always consult your doctor or dietician to determine with foods a good for you.
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