5 Healthy Snacks for People With (or Without!) Diabetes
Yes, you can snack if you have diabetes
When your stomach starts to rumble, you need a snack that can curb your hunger without blowing your blood sugar. Just like meals, snacks should be a combination of fat, protein, and carbohydrates. Aim for one that consists of 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates and 100 to 200 calories (depending on your meal plan and medication). Here are five that typically get a seal of approval from diabetes educators and nutritionists.
Whole-grain crackers, grapes, and cottage cheese
Nutrient-rich whole grains like cracked wheat, whole wheat, rye, and quinoa can lower blood sugar and cholesterol. The cottage cheese adds protein to stabilize blood sugar, curb hunger pangs, and provide calcium for strong bones. Buy your favorite whole-grain crackers, and make sure that the first ingredient is whole-wheat flour or another whole grain, such as rye. (Even if the ingredient list says "wheat flour," it is not a whole-grain food unless it specifies "whole-wheat flour.") Arrange on a small plate 2 crackers, 1/4 cup nonfat cottage cheese, and 1/4 cup grapes. Serving size: 2 crackers, 1/4 cup cottage cheese, and 1/4 cup grapes.
Nutritional information—Calories: 138, Total Carbohydrate: 21.2 g (7%), Dietary Fiber: 1.5 g (6%), Sugars 11.9 g
Popcorn is high in fiber, and when made from scratch is an all-natural food without additives and artificial flavorings. Pour 1 tablespoon of mild-flavored oil such as canola into a heavy-bottomed medium-large pot. Cover the bottom of the pot with 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels spread in a thin layer. (If the kernels are too crowded, not all of them will pop.) Cover the pot and heat on medium, shaking the pot every minute or so until all of the kernels have popped. Take care not to cook too long, which could scorch the popped kernels. Sprinkle the popcorn with any of the following: 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, or 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese. Serving size: 1 cup.
Nutritional information—Calories: 40, Total Carbohydrate: 5.8 g (2%), Dietary Fiber: 1.0 g (4%), Sugars 0.1 g
Apples and cheese
Fruit is an important part of any diet, even for people with diabetes; it provides fiber and other important nutrients. Portion control is important, because fruit is naturally high in sugar. When adding fruit to your meal plan, choose fruits lower in natural sugars, such as berries, melon, and apples, and always choose smaller whole fruits (or cut larger fruits in half). The cheese adds protein to help stabilize blood sugar and curb hunger pangs, and provides calcium for strong bones. Cut and core 1 small apple into 4 wedges. Cut 1 slice of reduced-fat Cheddar cheese into 4 pieces and place on apple wedges. Serving size: 1 apple wedge and 1/4 slice cheese.
Nutrition information—Calories: 30, Total Carbohydrate: 5.3 g (2%), Dietary Fiber: 0.8 g (3%), Sugars 3.8 g
Black bean salad
Black beans are high in both fiber and protein, which help stabilize blood sugar and curb hunger pangs. Fiber can also help lower cholesterol. Tomatoes and other veggies add a variety of important nutrients as well as fiber. Rinse a 15-ounce can of lowest-sodium black beans under running water and drain well. Mix the beans in a medium bowl with 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped cucumber or celery, 1/2 cup chopped green-bell pepper, and 1/4 cup peeled, cubed avocado. Stir in 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, 1 clove minced fresh garlic (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder), 1/8 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serving size: 1/2 cup salad.
Nutrition information—Calories: 57, Total Carbohydrate: 10.6 g (4%), Dietary Fiber: 4.0 g (16%), Sugars 1.3 g
Veggies and fresh yogurt dip
Raw vegetables are rich in minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. The yogurt adds protein to help stabilize blood sugar and curb hunger pangs, and provides calcium for strong bones. Cut some fresh veggies such as carrots, celery, or broccoli into dipping-size pieces to measure 1/2 cup. (Prepare extra veggies in advance and keep in small, serving-size storage containers in the fridge for another day.) Create a simple, healthy dip by stirring together one 8-ounce carton of plain nonfat yogurt, 2 teaspoons of minced fresh dill weed (or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed), 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serving size: 1/2 cup veggies and 2 tablespoons of dip.
Nutrition information—Calories: 31, Total Carbohydrate: 5.5 g (2% of Daily Value), Dietary Fiber: 1.2 g (5%), Sugars: 3.6 g