People with diabetes are often advised to grab a snack when they feel hungry or when their blood sugars get low. The right snacks can boost your energy and help prevent blood sugar fluctuations. Discover the best snacks to nosh on when you have diabetes.
- Snacking can help people with diabetes ward off fluctuating blood sugar levels but you can also get too much of a good thing. Recent research revealed excessive snacking can make it harder to reach your blood glucose or weight goals. Trying snacking on healthy foods to avoid out-of-control eating at mealtimes. A piece of fruit or a few raw carrots can be helpful.
- Snacks should be no more than one serving of a carbohydrate or 15 grams. Reach for vegetables, fruits, whole grains, low fat dairy or nuts. Nuts are high in calories so limit your intake to a small portion each day.
- Reach for something during your scheduled snack times rather than snacking throughout the day which can lead to overeating, too many calories and elevated blood sugars. If you are concerned about low blood sugars talk to your doctor about revamping your diabetes self-management plan. Ongoing lows could mean your medications need to be adjusted by your physician. Never change medications on your own.
- Be aware of how carbohydrates affect your blood sugar level and overall well-being. Carbohydrates are turned into glucose faster than fat or protein. Processed foods such as white bread, pasta and rice as well as packaged sweet cereals are higher in carbohydrates. Consider swapping these snacks out for whole-grain versions.
- Try to assess approximately how many calories you are consuming each day. Keep a food journal to record when you eat and how much you eat. Three meals and three snacks each day may be too much food so check with a registered dietitian or certified diabetes educator. A smart choice is a salad with no-calorie dressing to ward off hunger without adding on extra calories. Drink plenty of water prior to your meal.
- Portion control is an essential element to smart snacking for people with diabetes. Small dips in blood sugar can be managed with a small, low-carb snack. Large drops may mean consuming a faster-acting amount of carbohydrates including glucose tablets or a glass of fruit juice. Try to choose low carb snacks that are high in protein or fiber to avoid spikes in your blood sugar. A snack should have 100 calories. Healthy choices include fruit, a cup of unseasoned popcorn, a glass of low fat milk or a handful of almonds. Snacks with protein, carbohydrates and fiber are satisfying. Small portions can help eliminate hunger pangs.
- Always have healthy snacks on-hand to avoid the temptation of high calorie/high fat foods. Keep sugar-free candy at work, in your car and in your handbag to help you stay away from sugary foods. Bring a vegetable platter to parties so you know there is a suitable snack for you to eat. Choose fruit for dessert rather than rich gooey cakes, cookies and candies. Sip on water or unsweetened tea and avoid alcohol and soft drinks.
- Be aware of your grazing habits. Take a small portion rather than sitting with a bag of chips. Stay away from salty snacks which may raise your blood pressure. Snacking throughout the day can be dangerous and send your blood sugars up. Be aware of your choices.
Savvy snacking can help ward off hunger pangs and reduce blood sugar fluctuations. However, too much of a good thing can pack on the pounds and cause your blood sugar to soar. Opt for healthy snacks that are high in fiber and protein with one serving of a carbohydrate.