A good diet plan plays an important role in managing diabetes and controlling blood sugar levels. And a diet plan isn’t just about meals, it’s about snacks, too.
People with diabetes cannot afford to go without eating anything for long hours. They need to eat small snacks from time to time to prevent their blood sugar level from going too high or too low.
Snacks do not always mean foods that are high in sugar or added fats. In fact, there are many healthy as well as tasty snacks that diabetics can enjoy. Snacks can be a great way to keep your blood glucose levels stable – if you choose snacks that are high in protein, low in carbohydrates, low in calories and full of nutrition.
Such healthy snacks can help curb hunger, while giving you a nutritious energy boost. But keep in mind that portion size, even for snacks, is also key to managing your blood glucose level and avoiding weight gain.
Here are 10 tasty and healthy diabetes-friendly snack ideas.
Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, is a very healthy snack for diabetic people. This protein-packed, low-carbohydrate snack is a good source of calcium and contains very few calories.
It also has the goodness of probiotics that promote digestion by adjusting the natural balance of bacteria in your gut. Some other nutrients in it include B vitamins, folic acid, potassium, phosphorous and zinc.
Greek yogurt also tastes good and can be eaten in different ways.
You can eat 1 cup of plain Greek yogurt, or top ½ cup of plain yogurt with strawberries, blackberries, blueberries, raisins or some nuts for a tasty snack.
Celery is quite underrated, but it is one of the best diabetes-friendly snacks that you can enjoy any time. Being high in fiber and water content, celery fills you up quickly and is incredibly low in calories as well as carbohydrates, fat and cholesterol.
It also has the goodness of other nutrients like vitamins A, C, K and some B vitamins as well as calcium, magnesium, phosphorus, folate and potassium.
Celery is the perfect food to chew on as a healthy midmorning or midafternoon snack. You can also fill it with peanut butter or cottage cheese, or dip it in guacamole or homemade hummus.
An apple a day is good for people who have diabetes.
This low-calorie snack is rich in soluble fiber, which can keep you surprisingly full for a long time. Also, the fiber slows down the digestion and absorption of fructose that is present in apples.
You also get the benefit of vitamin C, phytonutrients, iron, potassium, phosphorous and calcium that are found in apples.
Plus, an apple can help satisfy your sweet tooth without sending your blood sugar soaring.
It is easy to take a whole apple to work with you to eat between meals. For added flavor, slice the apple and spread a little peanut butter on the slices, or sprinkle some cinnamon powder on it to make it even tastier.
4. Homemade Trail Mix
Store-bought trail mix can be unhealthy, but if you make your own, it can be a healthy snack option.
Trail mix is a handy, portable and non-perishable snack that you can put in an airtight container and carry with you. Having a container of trail mix with you means whenever you need to eat something, just open the lid and have some.
In a homemade trail mix, you can use several of the recommended foods for a healthy diabetes diet, including grains, nuts and fruit.
Here is a simple and easy homemade trail mix recipe:
In a bowl, combine 1 cup of roasted peanuts, 1 cup of roasted almonds, 1 cup of roasted pumpkin seeds, 2 ounces of dark chocolate chips, 2 ounces of unsweetened grated coconut and ½ cup of raisins or currants. Mix it well and your trail mix is ready.
Eat 1 to 2 tablespoons of it whenever you are hungry.
5. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a protein powerhouse and contains all the essential amino acids. This means it will digest slowly and help you stay full longer.
Low in calories and carbohydrates, cottage cheese also contains calcium, vitamin A, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, selenium and zinc.
While cottage cheese is tasty, it can be incorporated into your diet in different ways.
You can enjoy about 1 cup of cottage cheese by sprinkling some herbs or a little salt on it. You can also eat ½ cup of cottage cheese with a small wedge of water-based fruit, such as cantaloupe or cucumber.
6. Air-Popped Popcorn
Air-popped popcorn is a great snack option for people who have diabetes. It can keep you feeling full without adding lots of extra calories.
Air-popped popcorn is a good source of fiber and also contains small amounts of vitamins and minerals, such as magnesium, potassium, vitamin A, phosphorus, zinc, manganese, iron and copper.
In addition, air-popped popcorn has a very low glycemic index compared to traditional snack foods.
You can keep a small bag of air-popped popcorn in your car or office, and enjoy this light snack whenever you feel hungry.
Olives of all varieties make a perfect snack option for diabetic people.
The healthy fatty acids in olives help a lot in controlling blood sugar levels. When it comes to diabetes, monounsaturated fats are the best type of fat to eat, as these fats have an ability to lower blood glucose, increase insulin sensitivity, lower cholesterol, reduce risk of heart disease and just improve your overall health.
Other important nutrients in olives include copper, iron, fiber and vitamin E.
Take a handful of olives, chew them slowly and thoroughly, and your hunger pangs will soon be entirely satisfied.
8. Whole-Grain Crackers
Whole-grain crackers are easy to carry with you in your car or backpack, and they make a healthy snack for diabetics.
Whole-grain crackers are rich in fiber that helps keep you feeling full between meals. When buying whole-grain crackers, make sure that they are made of whole-wheat flour or another whole grain, such as rye or quinoa.
You can enjoy a few whole-grain crackers to satisfy your hunger pangs, or for a more nutritionally complete snack, munch on whole-grain crackers paired with low-fat string cheese or some baby carrots or apple slices.
9. Black Bean Salad
If you are feeling quite hungry before your mealtime, a small salad makes a healthy snack option. A good option for diabetic people is black bean salad with plenty of green vegetables.
This type of salad offers the benefits of both fiber and protein, and helps curb your hunger pangs for several hours. Fiber can also help lower cholesterol.
Put ½ cup of boiled black beans in a bowl. Add ½ cup of chopped fresh tomatoes, ½ cup of chopped cucumber, ½ cup of cubed avocado and a handful of salad leaves. Stir in 2 teaspoons of fresh lemon juice, a little salt and freshly ground black pepper for added flavor.
Eat ½ cup of this tasty salad whenever you feel hungry between meals.
If you are at home and suddenly feeling hungry, a small smoothie is all that you need. Smoothies are very nutritious and can fit into the list of diabetes-friendly snacks. However, make sure you do not add too many sugar-laden fruits in your smoothie.
To make a smoothie, use fresh fruits, vegetables and yogurt so that you get a good dose of protein and fiber. Here are two recipes for smoothies:
- Put 1 cup of blueberries, ¼ cup of spinach leaves, ½ cup of low-fat Greek yogurt and ½ cup of water in a blender. Blend thoroughly and your smoothie is ready.
- Put a small banana, ½ cup of low-fat yogurt and ½ cup of frozen berries in a blender and blend the ingredients well. For a protein boost, add a dash of flaxseed or chia seed powder to the smoothie.