If you have diabetes, you likely already know that snacking is an important part of your meal plan. Having regular and consistent snacks and meals can help keep your blood sugar levels even. In addition, smart snacking can help:
- Curb hunger between meals
- Provide opportunities for nutritious foods other than from your three main meals
- Provide a source of glucose before and after exercise
- Prevent nocturnal hypoglycemia in some people
What to choose
Healthy snack choices should include foods that provide all three major nutrients - carbs, proteins, and fats.
Wholesome sources of carbohydrates with high fiber also contain multiple vitamins and minerals. These foods take longer to digest than processed carbs, which helps keep your blood sugars on an even keel. Good sources include fruits, vegetables, beans or legumes, and whole grains such as oats, sweet potatoes, whole-wheat crackers, and breads.
Lean proteins provide a feeling of fullness and are good for keeping blood sugars from dipping between meals. Good sources include turkey, chicken, lean beef and pork, fish, low-fat cheese, cottage cheese, yogurt, low-fat milk, tofu, and beans.
Healthy fats in small amounts lend a feeling of fullness and provide much-needed omega 3 and 9 fats, important for good heart health. Good sources include avocado, nuts and seeds (which also have protein), olives, and olive and canola oil.
A healthy snack can be something you grab on the go or a well-planned mini meal. Either way, keeping your kitchen stocked with nutritious options will help you stay on track.
Try to combine a small amount of carbohydrates with either a lean protein choice or a healthy fat. The actual amounts you should have may vary depending on your overall calorie and carb needs. You'll be able to determine those needs by working with your diabetes care team.
Here are some ideas to get you started with healthy snacking:
- 1/2 cup of plain and 1/2 cup of fruited yogurt, topped with 1 tablespoon of ground flaxseed or sunflower seeds
- 1 slice of whole-wheat bread spread with mustard and topped with 2 ounces of turkey, sliced tomato, and a large piece of lettuce
- 1/2 cup of high-fiber, low-sugar breakfast cereal (at least 4 grams of fiber per serving) with 1 cup of skim milk
- 1/2 cup of cottage cheese mixed with 1 cup of berries
- 1/2 cup of pinto beans mixed with 2 to 3 tablespoons of salsa and 1 tablespoon of low-fat shredded cheese
- 2 ounces of turkey wrapped in a large Romaine lettuce leaf spread with 1/2 tablespoon of low-fat mayonnaise
- 1 medium banana spread with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
- 1 large brown rice cake spread with 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter
- One small sweet potato with a dollop of plain yogurt and cinnamon
- 1 cup of low-sodium split pea, lentil, or other bean soup
- One hard-boiled egg or 1 ounce of cheese and a couple of whole grain crackers
- 1/2 avocado, pit removed, sprinkled with lemon and a dash of salt
- 1/4 cup of nuts and 1 piece of fruit
- 1 cup of raw veggies and 1/4 cup of hummus for dipping
- 1 piece of fruit and a glass of 1 percent milk
Important tips to remember
- Snacks should not be as large as meals. Keep portions in perspective.
- Don't forget to count the carbs into your overall meal plan.
- Plan your snacks. Avoid mindless snacking in front of the TV or while reading or driving.
- Stock up on healthy options so you always have good choices at your fingertips.
- Don't graze. Constantly taking in carbohydrates and extra calories can result in consistently high blood sugar and possible weight gain.
What about a bedtime snack?
A bedtime snack may be recommended to prevent low blood sugar while you sleep buy priligy. Check with your doctor to see if a bedtime snack is appropriate for you. Some experts recommend a snack at night only if your blood sugar is lower than 126 mg/dl before bedtime.
A general rule of thumb is 15 to 30 grams of carbs and about an ounce (7 grams) of protein for a good bedtime snack. For example, try a glass of skim milk, a large apple or hard-boiled egg, and 3 to 4 crackers.