Healthy Snacks for Diabetics
One of the things it can be hard to get used to after a diabetes diagnosis is the sanctioned order to snack. People often cut right back on treats throughout the day, but it is thought to be preferable for those with diabetes to eat small snacks often.
Now before you get too excited, this is not Carte Blanche to munch on family sized packs of chips or large candy bars in between meals. Think more about the small and healthy snacks you might offer a toddler.
I’ll offer some specific ideas later on. Meanwhile, let’s look at why it’s important for those with diabetes to build snacks into their daily routine.
The Importance of Snacking for Diabetics
Leaving it too long between meals or eating big meals with gaps of time in between can play havoc with blood glucose, sending your sugars on a veritable roller-coaster of highs and lows.
This can leave you feeling off-color, can do long-term damage to nerves and organs, and can potentially cause a life-threatening situation depending on your type of diabetes and medication.
Even if normally your blood sugars stay relatively stable, a change in routine like extreme heat or cold, stress, a time zone change or illness can cause unexpected downturns in blood glucose levels, so it’s useful to have some snack in hand just in case.
City dwellers will know too that traffic snarl-ups can be both unexpected and lengthy and we all know how unpredictable public transportation can be. I’ve been caught out a few times stuck on a Subway train waiting for signals to change in a hot tunnel and starting to feel a little dazed have been saved from collapsing by my usually somewhat battered emergency cereal bar.
Meeting going on much longer than expected? I’m confident everyone in the room would rather you pull out a small snack than deal with a medical emergency.
So snack we must. But what sorts of things are good for keeping blood sugars stable?
You are aiming for snacks of about 100 to 200 calories and/or 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates, depending on what plan your nutritionist or doctor has advised. Here are some suggestions for some more exciting, healthy and tasty snacks to suit both sweet and savory tastes.
8 Diabetic-Friendly Snacks Worth Trying
With a simple online search of "healthy diabetic snacks" to looking through a magazine at the grocery store, you can find inspiration anywhere for diabetic-friendly snacks. Below, you can find a list of healthy snacks you can add to your snack list.
Toasted Teacake With Banana and Maple Syrup
The Diabetes UK website has some fabulous ideas aimed at teenagers, but equally good for all ages. They suggest you try a toasted teacake topped with sliced banana and drizzled with just a touch of maple syrup, or pop your own corn and flavor with parmesan.
Sweet and Salty Popcorn
The current craze for “sweet and salty” popcorn is handy too. The pre-packed bags are usually low calorie and low fat, or you could try making your own for a cheap treat on movie night or to bag up in portions for smaller snacks.
Just make one batch of popcorn, and divide it into two bowls. Flavor one batch with a sprinkle of sugar or powdered sweetener and the other with just a pinch of salt then blend.
Also, another popcorn recipe from the Food Network suggests adding the grated zest of a lemon and cayenne pepper to home-popped popcorn to create tasty and diabetic-friendly spicy citrus popcorn. You could make it in advance and carry it in your bag for when hunger strikes.
Hummus/Tzatziki With Vegetables
How about hummus with veggies? This snack is calorie dense but packed with great nutrients. Everdayhealth.com suggests one-third of a cup with lots of crunchy veggies. If you don’t like hummus, try tzatziki instead!
If you are trying to avoid dairy-based carbs, try making my favorite mint and lemon dairy-free dip which my friends demand I bring along to every meetup!
I use a 500g pot of soy-based yogurt substitute and add either 1tbs of prepared mint sauce or a good handful of fresh mint, washed and finely chopped. Add the juice of half a lemon or the equivalent of bottled lemon juice and powdered sweetener to taste. Serve with plain tortilla chips or carrot sticks, scallions or celery.
This quick snack from the American Diabetes Association is perfect for cheese lovers. Make a cheese quesadilla with one six-inch corn or whole wheat tortilla with one ounce of shredded cheese and a quarter cup of salsa.