You should be eating healthy regardless of whether you have diabetes or not. We’ll talk about why healthy snacking for diabetes is important. Even when you’re snacking, you want to be sure you’re eating right because food raises your blood sugar. It’s that simple. There are many other factors responsible for raising your blood sugar such as certain forms of exercise, some medications, and of course stress.
Why is it Important for Diabetics to Have Healthy Snacks?
So, protein, fat, and carbohydrates are the principal nutrients found in the food we eat. When you eat, your body turns carbs into glucose (sugar) very rapidly which in turn will raise your blood sugar. Potatoes, breads, pastas, rice and cereals are the foods you will find with carbohydrates.
There are fruits that have carbs as well. And some vegetables may have them. Carrots happens to be one of them. It’s been documented that fat and protein have effects on your sugar as well but they won’t change your blood sugar levels that fast.
So because you’re a diabetic, you’ll need to have some carbohydrate snacks throughout the day. Even more so if you’re type 1 diabetic. So like anything else when it comes to your health, you have to discuss this with your physician. He or she may want you to have a snack at special times each day and especially at bedtime.
You also don’t want your blood sugar getting too low, which could happen at night. It’s never good to have hyperglycemia or hypoglycemia. The best case scenario is controlled blood sugar levels. So we will get an idea of what you can have for a healthy snack when you have diabetes.
So what Defines a Healthy Snack?
Your dietitian or physician gives you the okay to have snacks, which should be on the smaller side. Your snacks should be followed along with the four basic food groups. Carbohydrate in your snacks are key here because they will make a difference in controlling your glucose levels.
You want to get your snacks on the smaller size. The rule of thumb here is to aim for about fifteen grams of carbohydrates. Two small cookies, one medium sized apple, one half of a banana, and one half a cup of canned fruit (no sugar) are a few examples.
It’s important to know that by having diabetes, it doesn’t mean that eating snacks is over. It’s not. What you must know is what a particular snack does to your blood sugar. That is the key factor here. So you certainly don’t want snacks raising your blood sugar or making you gain weight. Your blood sugar levels get changed the least amount when the snacks you choose have no carbohydrates. And of course the healthiest snacks are very low in the calorie department.
With everything else when it comes to eating healthy, learn to read the labels. I can’t stress this enough. I read every label of whatever food I am buying so I know the facts. Make it a habit and don’t ignore the numbers listed. It will just be something that you will automatically do everyday.
The rule of thumb here is choose wisely when it comes to snacks with carbohydrates. The correct ones are fruits and vegetables, whole grains such as whole wheat, barley, oats, and legumes. Stay away from anything with sugar including white rice and white flour products.
How to Plan Ahead for your Snacks
It’s a very smart idea to plan your snacks ahead by making them and bringing them with you. If you’re running around or just plain out and busy, you don’t want to be grabbing the wrong kind of snack simply because it’s there.
By having something such as a small bag of crackers, some nuts (watch the amount because of the calories), or a granola or protein bar with you, you’ll be snacking healthy without having to worry about what your unknown snack will be. Again if you’re bringing a protein bar or something similar, make sure you’ve read the label before you bought it.
Skipping meals is always a bad idea. If you start snacking for no reason, then you’ll be stuck with emotional eating and that’s not good for you. And plan not to have the same snack everyday at the same time. This will become boring to you and you’re more likely to hit the unhealthy snack vending machine. So do a change up often and you won’t be bored with the same snack.
So how are your meals planned each day? Is there a set amount of hours in between? Diabetics should not go without eating more than five hours. And some of you may have between four and five hours between your main meals. If this is the case, you may not need to snack. Snacking can really be beneficial to your blood glucose levels as long as you choose the right snacks and follow what you learn here.
Snacks will generally be mid morning, mid afternoon, and evening after dinner. Maybe you want to plan your snacks into your daily meals and this can eliminate snacking. So if you’re shooting for 2,000 calories a day, you can divide it up the best way that will work for you.
You can have three main meals, or three main meals and three snacks, three main meals and two snacks, or maybe three main meals and one snack. It’s your call. Try and see what works best for you. Remember, don’t go over your caloric intake of 2,000 calories or whatever you set for your particular instance.
Let’s talk about snacking before bedtime. Do not eat if it’s two hours to your bedtime or less. For some diabetics it is better to not snack at all after dinner or about 7 p.m. Different foods affect people in different ways. You’ll just have to experiment for yourself to see what the best solution is. And of course you want to monitor your blood sugar frequently. Discuss everything with your physician too.
Top 10 Other Snacks in the Video Below
Healthy Snacks for Diabetics
- Baked cinnamon apple chips. These are great if you find just having apples gets boring.
- Chocolate cocoa kale chips. So if you like to sweeten up your taste of kale a bit, these are a great choice.
- Peanut butter. It’s got protein and has a sweet taste but low in carbohydrates. Not too much because two tablespoons contains 188 calories. I love peanut butter as a snack.
- Popcorn. This is one of the best snacks for you. It’s tasty and almost any kind will do including homemade.
- Yogurt. It’s very healthy for you and you can have low fat yogurt or greek yogurt which provides probiotics and aids in digestion.
- Nuts. Nuts are high in protein, high in fiber, and essential fatty acids. Bag some nuts and take with you, but remember they can be high in calories so make sure it’s not a large portion unless you’re bagging it for more than one snack.
- Unsweetened apple sauce. You can have this with a tablespoon of almonds if you like.
- Trail mix. Trail mix is another nut combination snack which could include unsalted nuts and raisins.
- One cup of cantaloupe with one half a cup of lowfat cottage cheese.
- Low-fat granola or protein bar
- One cup of strawberries. (I love strawberries and blueberries)
- One cup of blueberries.
- One slice of whole grain bread with a quarter of a cup of tuna (in water, not oil), and you can add one teaspoon of light mayonnaise. (This is one of my favorites)
- Pickles and olives are great snacks because they have almost no effect on your blood sugar.
- Avocados are one of the healthiest foods you can eat period. Have these any way you wish.
- Celery is not my particular favorite but it helps curb your appetite while also lowering your blood pressure.
- Cucumber slices, one cup of tomatoes, ten grapes, and throw the celery in too. I like the red grapes but that’s my choice.
- One ounce of cheese with a couple of whole grain crackers.
- Apples. One small apple makes the perfect snack and is extremely healthy, especially with pectin in the skin.
- Carrot sticks are healthy for you, so let’s help those eyes!
- Cottage cheese
- Tomato and mozzarella salad. Tomatoes are very good for you.
- One half of a sandwich, one slice of bread with lunch meat and one ounce of cheese
- One small orange. Great source of vitamin C.
- A small pear. Less than half a pound is good.
- Five graham crackers. You can add one tablespoon of peanut butter if you like.
Use Your Head and You can Enjoy Snacks
Sometimes snacking can be a mind game. You stomach tells you one thing and your brain tells you something different. Planning your snacks is important and everyone is different.
There are many snacks that you can have that will help you. Just find the ones that you LIKE first and go with them.
They make pre-packaged snacks. This can be another way to go. But the important thing here is that your snacks taste good, satisfy you, and are healthy for you all at the same time.
And there are many to choose from. I’ll admit that some of them I don’t like so I would not choose them. But from everything listed here, there are plenty of choices for me that would suffice.
Healthy Snacking for Diabetics can be treats and be healthy at the same time. Snacking as a kid is not the same as snacking when you have diabetes or trying to stay healthy. The days of chocolate bars, candy, cookies, and ice cream are over. These are the healthy snacks for diabetes.
Listen, if I can do it, you can too. The consequences are not worth it. But snacking can always be an issue when trying to lose weight and with diabetes as well.