Trying to avoid a snack attack? Diabetics deserve simple, quick snacks that won’t spike blood sugar. Don't worry, we’ve got your back!
Snack foods are usually highly processed. This means they often contain far too many calories, unhealthy fat, sugars, and sodium. These foods also tend to have little to no nutritional value.
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.
Snacking is not evil, and does not have to negatively affect blood sugar. A snack’s purpose is to prevent excessive hunger and to give the body an energy boost. Believe it or not, snacks can help to regulate blood sugar. The key is to choose the right foods!
Nuts are an excellent source of healthy fats, packing a seriously positive punch to your health. Research has shown that by eating a diet rich in good fats, you can reduce your risk of obesity, heart disease, diabetes, and high cholesterol. In other words, go nuts!
Almonds, walnuts, macadamia, pecan and pistachio are all healthy little jewels of deliciousness. Cashews are quite tasty as well, however, consume them in moderation because they do have a higher carbohydrate content. Be sure to pair them with foods that contain fats and protein – like a cheese stick!
Containing both protein and good fats, cheese is another fantastic snack choice for diabetics. Cheeses come in seemingly endless textural varieties: hard, soft, semi-soft, etc. The most commonly consumed hard cheeses are cheddar and Parmigiano-Reggiano. Soft cheeses like mozzarella and brie are decadently delicious, as well. (Just be sure to choose full-fat cheeses in order to avoid added sugars.)
Cool, creamy hummus with raw veggies is a delicious and nutritious snack option, as well. While hummus does contain carbohydrates, they are complex and are absorbed more slowly into the blood stream. In this case, hummus contains protein and healthy fats as well, further impeding the absorption of its carb content.
Or dip your veggies into avocado dip for an extra heart-healthy boost! Avocados are a great source of fiber. This makes the avocado an excellent blood sugar stabilizer! Because of their glorious fat content, avocados are high in calories, so enjoy your avocado in 1-ounce servings, which is about 2 to 3 slices or about 1/4 of a small avocado.
When it comes to nutrition, not many foods can beat the egg. (No pun intended.) Packed with protein, healthy fats, vitamins and minerals with an average of only 78 calories per egg. Fry an egg in butter for a hot filling snack. Or boil a dozen on Sunday and keep them in your fridge for instant grab and go snacking!
How about something a little sweet? Greek yogurt is thicker and creamier than traditional yogurt. Greek yogurt differs from traditional yogurt in that it goes through a process to remove the whey. As a result of this process, Greek yogurt contains 40 percent less sugar and more than double the amount of protein found in traditional yogurt.
The best yogurt option is plain, full-fat Greek yogurt. Be sure to always choose the full-fat version. If not, you are guaranteed to consume added sugar! For flavor and sweetness, top with fresh berries or a small swirl of raw honey.
Speaking of fresh berries, blueberries make for another diabetic-friendly snack choice. They are a great source of vitamins and soluble fiber. Studies have found that glucose levels reduce over time when blueberries are included in one’s diet.
Craving something salty? Popcorn is low-glycemic. Therefore, making it a great snack option for diabetics. Make sure you air-pop your popcorn fresh; no preservative-filled bags from the supermarket allowed! Drizzle with olive oil (or indulge with a bit of truffle oil), add some dried herbs, or simply sprinkle with salt and pepper. Three cups of air-popped popcorn contains more than 3 grams of fiber, while being cholesterol-free, and low in calories.
In conclusion, snacking is an important part of the diabetic diet. By choosing the right snack foods, we can keep blood sugar stable (and avoid becoming ‘hangry') at the same time! Happy snacking!