Everyone loves snack foods! They’re convenient, inexpensive, and everything our food cravings are made of.
However, these foods are usually highly processed, and often contain far too many calories, unhealthy fat, sugars, and sodium. These foods also tend to have little to no nutritional value, vitamins, minerals, or fiber.
This combination is especially dangerous for diabetics as it causes food to be digested more quickly. Without good fats and fiber to slow the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream, sugar levels can skyrocket and blood pressure can increase.
Frequent snacking, especially on foods that lack any nutrition, can increase body weight, blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure, and risk for heart attack or stroke.
That bowl of candies on your desk at work is probably enjoyed far more often by you than by anyone who visits your office. Those doughnuts or that birthday cake in the break-room doesn’t do you any favors, either. When foods are visible and easily available, you are more likely to indulge.
A snack’s purpose is to prevent excessive hunger, give the body an energy boost, and help to regulate blood sugar. It’s important to listen to your body; when it needs a little boost, you’ll know.
How often to snack will vary based on the individual. For example, some people are ravenous first thing in the morning, and after eating a large breakfast may not need a snack before lunch. Others may eat something small when they wake up, and need a little boost mid-morning.
It’s important to choose a snack that will give you the energy you need without spiking your blood sugar.
Combine protein, fats, and carbohydrates to get the most out of your snacks.
“Protein and fats create a feeling of satiety and will prevent energy slumps caused by blood sugar crashes,” nutritionist Fiona Tuck added.
So which snacks are a good representation of this combination?
Trade in that whole banana for a bowl of berries and Greek yogurt. Or apple slices over cottage cheese with a sprinkle of cinnamon. (When it comes to yogurt and cottage cheese, be sure to choose the full-fat versions to increase the good fats and decrease the sugar.)
It’s hard to give up your afternoon coffee, but try a small smoothie instead. This is a snack idea you can make at home ahead of time. Just toss some berries, Greek yogurt, ice, and a touch of honey into your blender. Then, pour into a cup and stow in the freezer at work until snack time.
Everybody craves a bag of salty potato chips around 2:30 in the afternoon, am I right? Well as delicious as they may be, (and easily obtained from the vending machine down the hall), they will do your body no favors.
Instead of those potato chips, try air-popped popcorn or a few kale chips. If a kale chip isn’t your thing, how about this recipe for pepperoni chips!
Some thinly sliced veggies accompanied by a nice hummus or pesto dip won’t weigh you down as the afternoon drags on. You can dip pretty much anything into this cool and creamy avocado dip.
Edamame may sound like an exotic treat, but these little babies are a great snack that’s full of protein. Edamame are soy beans, usually steamed or boiled. Imagine a pea inside of its pod. Edamame is the same thing-you eat the beans inside the pod.
An easy grab-on-the-go snack is string cheese with a handful of nuts. Choose full-fat string cheese and some pistachios, cashews, or almonds. Or mix them together for variety.
For even more ideas, check out this link to Diabetic Kitchen’s Quick Snack Ideas for Diabetics. With recipes for spiced nuts, guacamole dip, berries in cream, and mini-egg bakes, this page makes smart snacking easy!