Snacking is actually an important part of everyone’s diet, but it is especially important for people with diabetes. If you are going any longer than 3 hours between meals, your sugar levels may fall too low. It’s a good idea to have a small light snack between meals whenever you feel hungry or your sugar drops. You just need to be careful what you’re snacking on and of course, don’t have anything too sweet. Here are a few of the top snacks for diabetics.
Air popped popcorn with just a little bit of melted butter, salt or seasoning is a great choice. Air popped popcorn is a low fat, low calorie snack that satisfies the cravings for a crunchy salty snack. You can even pop the popcorn in a pan with a little oil the old fashioned way! Heat just a bit of oil in your pan, add a small amount of kernels, cover with a tight fitting lit and keep the pan moving over a medium heat until the popping slows down to just a few pops. Be very careful not to burn it. Popcorn is an excellent source of dietary fiber. Stay away from the microwave popcorn packages, though, as they are very high in fat and contain unnecessary chemicals and preservatives.
Apples, pears, peaches, bananas, berries, the list is endless. Fruit contains natural sugars, so it is a good choice when your sugar is low, but be careful to only eat one serving. Just because the sugar is natural doesn’t mean it is safe for diabetics in large quantities. Fruit is an excellent source of fiber and many vitamins and antioxidants, so it is an important part of any diet, diabetic or otherwise.
Whole grain crackers or toast with peanut or almond butter
Whole grains are an important part of your diet. They can lower cholesterol and glucose levels, while providing complex crabs and fiber. Again, keep the portion size small – this is a snack, not a meal. One slice of toast or 2 to 4 crackers is plenty. Add a teaspoon of peanut or almond butter to each cracker, or a tablespoon to one slice of toast for added protein and fiber.
Choose the low-fat variety and add a few berries or fruit slices to make a tasty snack full of calcium, protein and vitamins. Cottage cheese is a filling and satisfying snack that is nutritious and low in sugar and fat. You can also use cottage cheese as a tasty veggie dip. Try it plain or add cayenne pepper, lemon pepper, cumin, dill, basil or your favorite spice to it.
Yogurt with live cultures is very good for digestion and is high in calcium. It is also an excellent choice for people who have trouble digesting milk. You’ll see many varieties that contain pro-biotics and pre-biotics and other cultures. These are a good choice, but you should avoid the sweetened ones and opt for a plain yogurt. You can add your own berries, fruit, granola and a bit of honey for a really nutritious low calorie snack.
Cut up veggies such as broccoli, carrots, bell peppers, celery, cucumbers and cherry tomatoes make a really good snack. Dip them in a bit of your favorite salad dressing, tzatziki sauce, cottage cheese or hummus or just eat them plain.
Hard boiled eggs make a great snack, especially with just a tiny sprinkle of salt and pepper – and they are great on the go too. An egg cooked any way is a good idea as it is a great source of protein and will keep you full longer.
one to two ounces of any cheese that you like paired with sliced apples, grapes or a couple of olives is the perfect afternoon snack. Cheddar, gouda, havarti, Swiss or mozzarella are good choices. The protein in the cheese will keep you full and the natural sugar in the fruit is just enough to balance out your blood sugar level if it’s a bit low. Keep the fruit portion size small – half an apple or ¼ cup of grapes is plenty.
Diabetic snacks don’t have to be boring and bland. As long as you avoid high-sugar foods and eat only small portions, you can make just about any kind of snack you want. Aim for whole grains, low crab, low fat, low sugar and high fiber foods. For added flavor, experiment with different spices – they add enormous flavor, with zero sugar or fat. Try to pair a crab with a protein to keep you fuller longer. Try different combinations to find your favorite snacks.