Healthy snacks for diabetics? According to the American Diabetes association, it is just but a myth for diabetics to stick to a restrictive diet but rather, they just like every other person should maintain a diet rich in fiber, low in sugar, fat and salt.
Let’s face it everyone deserves a treat once in a while and a simple thing such as having a healthy snack in between meals can help elevate one’s moods and also keep their blood sugar levels under control.
Below are some tips for choosing the right kind of snack;
- Saturated fats- These should be avoided as they are notorious for increasing your chances of getting heart disease. They raise the levels of bad fats (LDL) in your bloodstream. Examples include but are not limited to; bacon, lard, cream, ghee and fatty cuts of beef and pork as well as processed meats such as salami and sausages.
- Fiber- Eat foods high in fiber as they can help control blood sugar. Fruits, vegetables, whole grains and beans are a good source of fiber.
- Carbohydrates- Carbs are converted into sugar for fast energy immediately ingested into the body. These can raise your blood sugar level fast and therefore, diabetics need to be very specific about the amount of carbs they are ingesting per day. Counting carbs is key in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels.
Still in need of ideas, here are my top 10 go to snacks for diabetics;
1. Low fat cheese-
Due to its high calorie and fat content, cheese is not an obvious choice for anyone with diabetes; however, the fact that it has very low carbs makes it a great go snack that can help in maintaining your blood sugar levels as well as weight. It is important to note that some types of cheese are lower in calories more than others. Cottage cheese is a good option but you should stick to a small serving. Their high salt content is also a reason why you should stick to a small serving. Here are some examples of low fat cheese from Amazon
These make for a great option due their low glycemic index and their rich in vitamins and minerals including but not limited to; vitamin B6, A, E and pantothenic acid. They also have anti-inflammatory as well as antioxidant properties making popcorn a good choice for a snack. Here are some examples from Amazon.
3. Whole Grains
Lillian Cheung, DSc, RD, a lecturer in nutrition at the Harvard School of Public Health summarizes the health benefits of whole grains in just one sentence; ‘You’re getting fiber, a healthy plant-based protein, vitamins, minerals, and a variety of phytochemicals that will improve your health.” Their high fiber content help keep you full for longer as well as help combat constipation by making bowel movements regular. Examples include; oats, brown rice, buckwheat and millet.
4. Organic Nuts
Organic nuts are rich in proteins, vitamins and minerals that are useful for people with diabetes. However, salted nuts should be avoided. Supporting cell growth and protecting organs that include the heart are some of the benefits of the unsaturated fats contained in organic nuts. The following are the best type of nuts for diabetics; walnuts, peanuts, pistachios, almonds and cashews.
Berries have great benefits that include lowering bad cholesterol and triglycerides and raise good cholesterol in the blood. Due to their low glycemic index blue berries are not likely to cause a spike in blood sugar level yet offering a treat for someone with a sweet tooth. According to Amy Campbell’s article posted on July 5th, 2016; Research shows that people with Type 2 diabetes who ate three servings of blueberries (and other low-glycemic-index fruits) had improvements in their HbA1c levels. Besides having a low glycemic index, blueberries are high in fiber, which may also help with blood sugar control.
Eggs- the beauty of eggs is that you can do so much with them; you can eat hard boiled eggs with a healthy dipping or make some egg muffins. Due to their high protein content, eggs slow digestion hence slowing absorption of glucose into the blood stream. It is however recommended that diabetics consume only egg whites due to the high levels of cholesterol in the yolk. Eggs are a delicious, nutrient packed and easy to prepare snack.
Yoghurt- Packed with healthy probiotics as well as providing a good balance between carbohydrates and proteins, yoghurt makes for a great snack option but it should be noted that opting for a reduced fat version or non-fat option of the same can be more beneficial as it helps keep the unhealthy fats also known as LDL on the low.
8. Protein bars
Protein bars– These increase satiety (feeling of being full) and reduce ghrelin therefore reducing the need to keep munching on snacks that may not necessary be the healthiest. By their ability to prevent over eating, protein bars can then help in stabilizing your blood sugar making them a better choice of snack for a diabetic.
Avocado- Apart from being absolutely delicious and creamy avocados are a good snack option for people with type 2 diabetes as they are very low in carbs, high in fiber and contain the healthy fats i.e HDL that help fight LDL (the unhealthy fats). Due to the high fiber content, they help keep you full for longer hence reducing the need to keep snacking on unhealthy food and snack choices.
Apples- despite the fact that they contain carbohydrates and sugars, apples don’t pose a health risk to people with type 1 or 2 diabetes says the American Diabetes Association. According to the medical news blog post- The USDA report that a medium apple contains around 4 g of dietary fiber, and this fiber may help slow the absorption of sugars in the body, which could help prevent spikes in sugar and insulin.
It is important to note that too much of anything is harmful for the human body and we should consume everything in moderation as it may have serious implications on one’s health.