Working out at least 150 minutes over the course of a week is an important part of any diabetes self-management plan along with choosing great snacks after your exercise. These simple lifestyle habits can help people maintain better blood glucose control. Discover the best post workout diabetes snacks.
- The first step is to consult your health care team about what type of exercise is best and whether you should have a snack after working out. A pre or post workout snack is often recommended for people who take certain types of (70/30 or 75/25 mixed) insulin or diabetes medication. Snacks are important for people who work out at a high intensity or for a longer period of time. For example, if your blood glucose is less than 100 mg/dl before working out, it might be recommend to have a pre-workout snack with carbohydrates, such as a piece of fresh fruit or two or three whole grain crackers. You should always carry glucose tablets to the gym or when you are doing any aerobic activity in case of an emergency.
- The duration and length of your workout might also dictate the type of snacks you need. The intensity of the workout is also a consideration. Short, low-impact workouts may not require a snack afterward. For those who are advised to have a post workout snack, it usually includes 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate and 7 grams of protein. Also check with your doctor about whether your insulin dosage should be decreased after exercising based on your blood sugars. Never decrease your insulin or medications without asking your doctor first.
- It is also important to stay hydrated while you exercise. There is never a need for sugary sport drinks or regular soda, unless your blood sugar plummets. Again, sugar tablets are a better choice for weight control and ability to not over treat hypoglycemia. Water with a slice of lemon or lime is a healthy way to stay hydrated while you workout and after your workout ends. Thirst is a late indicator and you should be drinking the entire time. Depending on your electrolytes, you may consider a low calorie sport drink which contains potassium. Most people never need added sodium which is contained in sport drinks. Store-made fruit smoothies should not be an option due to the high calories and carbohydrate content which will send blood sugars sky high.
- Consider what you eat before you exercise. Try to eat a regular meal more than 2 hours prior to working out to ensure you have enough time to digest the food. A good example is a serving of lean chicken, meat or fish with a small helping of brown rice or whole grain pasta plus green vegetables and fresh fruit. Drink fluids, such as 8 ounces of water, every hour before working out. If you have a snack before exercising, choose something light, such as a handful of berries or 1/2 a banana.
- Beneficial sources of protein after working out include low fat milk or yogurt. Natural nut butter on a whole grain cracker or a hard-cooked egg on a Wasa cracker is a good choice. A small apple with a wedge of cheese is a complete snack after a workout. If you feel the urge for a sweet treat, consider a small piece of sugar-free dessert to relieve your sweet tooth cravings but include the carbohydrate and protein to replenish your energy.
- Work with your diabetes team to create a diabetes management plan that is based on the medication you take, your exercise and food plan including snacks. A diabetes educator or dietitian that specializes in diabetes should be part of your team. You may also want to work with a personal trainer to help you determine the ideal exercise routine for you.
The right post workout snacks with diabetes can help keep your blood sugar in check and provide fuel for the rest of your day. Work with your health care team to choose the ideal exercise, diet and snacking plan. Making good choices can help you manage your blood sugar and feel your best every day.