Diabetes is a life-altering condition requiring a drastic change in one’s standard of living. For some, it is an upsetting and worrisome situation but correct acquaintance and awareness can relieve you of any unnecessary burden. The primary fret of a diabetic patient gyrate around queries like; what kind of food needs to be in and what should be out of their menu? How frequent should be the meals? Are snacks allowed in a diabetic menu? What kind of snacks is healthy?
Diabetes management is a complex play between meal plans and anti-diabetic medicines. Majority of times, the situation can be catered for with efficient meal plans along with physical activity. The meals of a diabetic patient are organized and designed in such a manner to satisfy the taste buds and maintain appropriate blood sugar levels too. According to the health experts, a diabetic patient should take five to six frequent but small meals in a twenty-four hour period, two of them should be snacks and an evening dessert.
“For someone with diabetes, it is important to eat a fiber-filled and nutrient-rich snack to curb the appetite before the next meal”, says Angela Ginn-Meadow, a registered dietitian and a spokesperson for the American Dietetic Association. “If you need a pick-me-up between meals, a snack with 15-20 grams of carbohydrate is often the answer”, she adds.
Here are some snack ideas for a diabetic patient to curb uninvited hunger or manage slight delays in meal consumption. The key to snacking is making a choice among nutrient dense, low-carb, high fiber, protein enriched food items that contain healthy fats. The principle would remain the same; keeping the blood sugar levels steady and avoiding insulin spikes.
1. Apples with peanut butter
Peanut butter and apple combination deliver a hefty amount of vitamins as well as minerals, vitamin, C, E, magnesium, and manganese in addition to fiber. If you do not like apples, replace them with crunchy pears or a banana, the combination would never go wrong with an addition of one or two walnuts.
2. Boiled eggs
Hard-boiled eggs can be consumed on their own or incorporated in a fresh vegetable salad if you have more time on your hands. Easy to cook with no fuss, a single hardboiled egg serves 6 grams of proteins and delivers a filling effect, thus avoiding a rise in blood sugar levels. Boiled eggs can become boring after a while too, so patch them up with a healthy topping as Mexican salsa or guacamole for a zesty tinge.
3. Yogurt with fruits
Yogurt and fruit should be a diabetic’s all time favorite. Yogurt contains a heavy load of probiotics that aid in digestion and high protein content that helps to keep the blood sugars at optimal. Greek yogurt is particularly high in proteins. Incorporating fruits as berries add essential fiber and complex sugars, which not only affect the blood sugars minimally but also deliver a rich content of anti-oxidants especially fruits like berries. Yogurt and fruit parfait is a delight, sprinkle with little sunflower seeds and you are good to go.
4. Seeds and nuts
Seeds and nuts are an unparalleled snack specifically for diabetics. A couple of almonds, walnuts, sunflower seeds, a fig or two, or a mix of nuts are convenient to carry anywhere and they satisfy your urge for a munch while reading a book or watching your favorite TV show. Almonds are a particularly good source of vitamins and minerals, fiber, proteins and good fats. With an ability to lower the insulin and cholesterol levels, almonds are a great aid in managing weight issues for a diabetic patient.
Avocados are an example of healthy fat among the plant source. Slightly high in calories, they are a good source of fiber. Make a dip out of it to go with baked tortillas and enjoy chatter with your friend. As they are high in calories, a quarter or half a serving should do fine for a dip.
6. Roasted chickpeas
With 15 grams of proteins and 13 grams of fiber per cup (164 grams), chickpeas have an amazing ability to check the blood sugar levels. They deliver a sense of filling effect and curb unwanted hunger cravings. Roast them with a bit of olive oil and your favorite low salt seasoning for a better crunch and flavor.
7. Black beans salad
Salads should be a priority for a diabetic patient and an example of it is black bean salad. Simply toss cooked black beans with half a tomato, cucumber, onions with a dash of chili powder and some lemon juice for a tantalizing experience. A very good source of fiber and proteins, they help stimulate an insulin curve instead of a spike in the body. In addition, black beans keep the bad cholesterol levels low if taken regularly.
8. Beef sticks
Do not have time to make a salad or a sandwich, grab a few beef sticks. A traditional example of high proteins and low carb food item, they deliver a 6 gram of protein per ounce. Beef sticks made out of grass-fed beef are enriched with Omega-3 fatty acids, which stabilize the blood sugar levels. Being a processed food they are high in salts, so individuals with a high blood pressure complaint should consume them in moderation.
Hummus is an extension of the benefits of chickpeas. The advantage with hummus is that it can be incorporated in many healthy recipes; use it with pita bread, Graham crackers, baked tortillas, crunchy vegetables or make a wrap with whole grain chapatti, hummus delivers a fair source of iron, fiber, and proteins. It provides 3 grams of proteins per tablespoon, thereby maintaining the blood sugar levels. For bread-lovers, it is a satisfying deal.
10. Turkey roll up
Another good alternative to bread, turkey slices filled with your choice of vegetables, cheese and a bit of salsa may replace a meal. Delivering 5 grams of proteins per wrap, these turkey roll-ups are low carbohydrate that can also be used as appetizers if you are serving a meal to your friends.
11. Cottage cheese
Another snack idea that can cater for both sweet-toothed people or savory lovers, cottage cheese delivers 13 grams of proteins and only 4 grams of carbohydrates per 112 grams, about a half-a cup. You can make your own cottage cheese at home; the advantage would be that you could infuse it with different herbs or seasonings of your choice. You like to add a bit of sweetness to it, add few
Black currants or raisins and enjoy it guilt free.
12. Crackers and cheese
Cheese and crackers can be enjoyed as a snack that will not let your blood sugars go out of range because of the fiber and fat content. To avoid a sugar dump, choose crackers that are whole grain, do not go for normal kinds that are made out of processed flour and sugar. Cheese is an example of fat from a dairy source and is known for their ability to slow the digestion of carbohydrates thereby decreasing their absorption, in addition to lowering insulin levels. Cheese also induces the release of hormones as GLP-1, which functions to lower blood sugar levels.
Who does not love popcorns? However, do you know that they are one of the lowest calorie snack providing only 31 calories a cup? That is why they are considered one of the best snack options for diabetes as being low calorie, they aid in weight management, which is a continuous issue with diabetics. In addition to being low caloric, they are a good source of fiber with 8 grams of fiber per cup. If you want to get the maximum benefits out of popcorns, make your own air-pop corns.
14. Tuna salad
Another quick fix to your hunger pangs is a tuna salad. A 3-ounce tuna salad provides 22 grams of proteins and literally no carbs. In addition, tuna is omega-3 enriched, a fatty acid that has the ability to lower blood sugar levels. Mix it healthier with yogurt or cottage cheese, instead of mayonnaise or with salsa if you like the chili tang.
15. Chia seed pudding
Chia seed pudding made with low-fat milk and Stevia is an intense snacking option because it has a filling effect that lasts longer. It also slows the absorption of sugar from the gut by drawing water and reducing the digestion rate. A lowered triglyceride level is another attribute of chia seed pudding that can be helpful in diabetic patients with cardiovascular complications.
16. No-bake energy bars
Containing proteins, good fats and high in fiber, these energy bars are convenient to carry and provide instant energy. Energy bars are a good alternative to regular cookies and candies, which can be disastrous to your blood sugar levels.
17. Trail mix
A handful of trail mix delivers a good source of proteins, good fats, and fiber, in addition to minerals and vitamins without disturbing the blood sugar levels. Be wary of munching too much because the dry fruit is high in sugar. However, a handful of nuts, seeds, and dry fruits deliver 4 grams of proteins, which is good enough to avoid a sugar hike and insulin spike.
Edamame is green soya bean pods. These unripe pods are nutrient dense snacks, an ideal for diabetics. They deliver 17 grams of proteins and 8 grams of fiber in a cup, almost 155 grams. Edamame is shown to lower blood glucose and enhance the insulin sensitivity of the body.
19. Homemade protein bars
It would be unfair not to mention protein bars when we are talking about protein rich and low carb snacks for a diabetic patient. Many of the commercially made products are high in sugar and saturated fats so it is better to make an effort at home. Very easy to prepare, you can incorporate your favorite ingredients in a protein bar, made usually out of oat flour, whey proteins and peanut butter. Omit sugar and add in honey or Stevia in your protein bars along with nuts and seeds.
20. Egg muffins
Made out of eggs and assorted vegetables of your choice, as spinach, bell peppers, broccoli etc, the egg muffins are a great source of proteins and fiber. Integrated into your breakfast or taken with the afternoon tea, egg muffins can help you avoid sugar spikes and curb your hunger for longer periods.
21. Yogurt dip with vegetables
Better make it savory with a little curry powder and chili paste; a yogurt dip can add tantalizing flavors to your vegetables. A midday snack is more appropriate utilizing varying vegetables with this dip as they deliver a load of complex carbohydrates and fiber, fulfilling your cravings and silencing your appetite until lunch.
22. Chocolate crazy
If you are an avid fan of chocolate, and frankly who is not, switch the regular milk bar with dark chocolate without any guilt. Dark chocolate contains more of the cocoa bits and less sugar; there are varieties available with Stevia in it, making the calorie count negligible. Melt the chocolate and drizzle it on strawberries, bananas, and other fruits to have the added benefits of fiber. This would curb your hunger and satisfy your sweet tooth too.
Snacking for a diabetic patient is not prohibited nor should it be boring or tasteless. There are plenty of snack options available if you are ready to make an effort in trying to learn and spend some time in your kitchen. Purchasing readymade items from the food store is a convenient solution but there are hidden calories in processed food items that could create havoc through your blood sugars unless you are well versed with commercial ingredients.
Making your own snacks is gratifying because you know the ingredients in the yield and it would save you some pennies too. Do not forget the little loss of calories while in a kitchen would add up to big savings on the weighing scale too.