Snack the Smart Way to Help Keep Your Blood Sugar in Check
If you have type 2 diabetes, smart snacking can be an important part of your healthy eating plan. Hunger can lead to dips and spikes in blood sugar that can cause dizziness, irritability, and weakness — and it can increase your risk for a host of other diabetes-related problems as well. One of the best ways to avoid the roller coaster? Eat nutritious snacks at regular intervals throughout the day, even if you're on the go.
New types of insulin are better at matching the insulin your body needs at specific times, which has made snacking to prevent a blood sugar drop less necessary for some. But whether you still have to snack to keep your blood sugar levels steady, or just plain want to snack, it’s necessary to make healthy choices. That means that simple carbohydrates, which are digested quickly and turned into sugar that elevates your blood glucose levels, should be avoided.
But there are other ways to satisfy those mid-afternoon or mid-morning cravings than a trip to the vending machine. It might take a little more advance preparation and a little more slicing and dicing than it does to rip open a bag of potato chips. But the snacks shown here, suggested by Erin Palinski-Wade, RD, CDE, an Everyday Health contributor, are quick, simple, made with ingredients that are either easily portable or easily kept in an office kitchen, and finished with dashes of flavor from ingredients you probably already have on hand, like lime, olive oil, and cinnamon. And when you control your ingredients, which you can’t do when you’re reaching for a processed food, it’s easier to control your condition, which can be empowering when you’re trying to manage this disease.
So what makes a high-quality, high-satisfaction snack? “Combining protein and healthy fats with complex carbohydrates is a great way to give your snacks staying power,” says Palinski-Wade. And it can keep you from wanting more of a bad thing, which is what can happen when you’re snacking on empty calories. Aim for small bites, she adds, that won’t spike blood glucose, like a healthy fat or a lean protein. Or choose a food that combines both fat and protein. Nuts, nut butters, Greek yogurt, and low-fat cheeses, which are featured in several of the snacks Palinski-Wade offers here, provide both.
Read on to find your best — and tastiest — bets.
Pistachios Pack Protein and Monounsaturated Fats
Pistachios contain a powerful punch of protein as well as a mixture of healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which can help reduce your cholesterol levels and cut your risk of complications from diabetes. A 1 ounce (oz) portion (or about 50 pistachio nuts without the shell) equals about 160 calories.
Sliced Avocado and Lime Serves Up Heart-Healthy Fats With Zing
Another one of Palinski-Wade's favorite go-to snacks is an avocado. Not only is this superfood (it's actually a fruit) one of the best sources of heart-healthy monounsaturated fats around, it's also a time-saving snack that's easy to slice and go. Try topping your slices with a squeeze of lime juice and a bit of sea salt for extra flavor. It's important to remember that avocados are calorie-dense, so be aware of proper portion size. A half-cup portion is a manageable 120 calories and will keep you feeling full until your next meal.
Hummus and Bell Peppers Keep You Satiated
“A good rule of thumb is to keep carbohydrates per snack to 15 to 30 grams, and to have them come from complex carbs versus simple carbs,” says Palinski-Wade. Because they're slowly digested, high-quality complex carbs help ward off hunger and keep your blood sugar on an even keel, especially when combined with protein and fat. “Make sure to choose slow-digested options, such as vegetables and hummus, to prevent additional blood-sugar spikes.” One for 1 last update 03 Jul 2020 sliced bell pepper and ¼ cup of hummus sets you back about 120 calories.“A good rule of thumb is to keep carbohydrates per snack to 15 to 30 grams, and to have them come from complex carbs versus simple carbs,” says Palinski-Wade. Because they're slowly digested, high-quality complex carbs help ward off hunger and keep your blood sugar on an even keel, especially when combined with protein and fat. “Make sure to choose slow-digested options, such as vegetables and hummus, to prevent additional blood-sugar spikes.” One sliced bell pepper and ¼ cup of hummus sets you back about 120 calories.
Whole Grain Toast and Peanut Butter Ward Off Hunger Pangs
reverses diabetes type 2 on insulin (🔴 natural home remedies for) | reverses diabetes type 2 ankle swellinghow to reverses diabetes type 2 for For around 280 calories, a slice of whole-grain bread with 1½ to 2 tablespoons of peanut butter (which contains healthy monounsaturated fats and appetite-satisfying protein) is another snack that will ward off hunger for hours, says Palinski-Wade. Look for a brand of peanut butter with little to no added sugar; and be sure to measure out each serving to keep calories in check. To cut more carbs, choose celery sticks instead of bread.
Shrimp Cocktail Is a Perfect Protein-Filled Appetizer
High in protein and low in unhealthy saturated fat, fresh shrimp is an easy win for snacking to stabilize your blood sugar. Each piece of shrimp equals about 4 to 6 calories depending on size. “A small amount of cocktail sauce — 1 tablespoon or so — is fine,” says Palinski-Wade. “Or you could enjoy it with fresh salsa or chopped tomatoes,” she adds. Shrimp cocktail is a great pick if you're dining at a restaurant and want a healthy appetizer that won't spike your blood sugar and send it crashing later.
Fresh Mozzarella and Tomatoes Are a Classic, Tasty Combo
“Fresh mozzarella and tomato is another good choice,” says Palinski-Wade. Go easy on the cheese, which is high in saturated fat, and be sure to choose part-skim or even fat-free mozzarella. Skip the dressing and opt for a drizzle of heart-healthy olive oil or balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper for flavor; a the 1 last update 03 Jul 2020 1 cup serving is equal to about a 180-calorie snack.“Fresh mozzarella and tomato is another good choice,” says Palinski-Wade. Go easy on the cheese, which is high in saturated fat, and be sure to choose part-skim or even fat-free mozzarella. Skip the dressing and opt for a drizzle of heart-healthy olive oil or balsamic vinegar and a dash of salt and pepper for flavor; a 1 cup serving is equal to about a 180-calorie snack.
Oatmeal With Berries Isn't Just for Breakfast
Who says oatmeal is just for breakfast? A ½ cup of plain, unflavored oatmeal prepared with water and topped with ¼ cup of blueberries, strawberries, or raspberries is a tasty treat to fill you up and keep blood sugar levels stable. While quick-cook oats are higher on the glycemic index, steel-cut (aka Irish) oats are a better choice for people with diabetes.
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A Whole Grain Waffle With Yogurt and Cinnamon Is an Easy Treat
This delicious pick is plenty filling and easy to grab on the go. Try toasting a whole-grain waffle and topping with a dollop of protein-rich nonfat plain yogurt — Greek yogurt contains more protein and fewer carbohydrates — and a dusting of cinnamon for a quick 150 calorie snack. Or spread on some almond butter for a dose of healthy fats. A tablespoon contains about 100 calories.