The best snacks for diabetics are high in protein, fiber or healthy fats, and low in carbohydrates.
If you have diabetes, you should try to avoid starchy or sugary snacks, which can cause your blood sugar levels to rise.
Read on for the best and worst diabetic snacks.
To regulate blood sugar levels and stay healthy, people with diabetes should carefully monitor their diet by eating the right foods, ideally in the right amounts at the right time.
This can make snacking difficult at best and dangerous at worst, since an abnormal blood sugar level can lead to confusion, loss of consciousness and, in severe cases, seizures.
Here’s what you need to know about which snacks are considered healthy for a person with diabetes and which ones to avoid.
The importance of healthy snacks for diabetics.
Carbohydrate counting is crucial for diabetics. According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), the amount of carbohydrates you eat, along with the amount of insulin in your body, is essentially what determines your blood sugar levels.
To stabilize blood sugar, it’s important to balance carbohydrates with other nutrients, such as protein, fiber, and healthy fats, which don’t immediately turn into glucose and don’t have such a big impact on blood sugar levels.
Most foods contain a mix of carbohydrates, protein, fiber, and fat. For diabetics, snacks that contain less carbohydrates and more protein, fiber and healthy fats are best.
- Eat high protein snacks
Protein-rich snacks do not cause a sharp rise in blood sugar after eating, which means they don’t require as much insulin to digest, because your body uses protein to build and repair tissues, rather than converting it to glucose, which would cause an increase in blood sugar.
The amount of protein you need every day depends on your age, weight, height, sex, and level of physical activity. For people with diabetes, the Joslin Diabetes Center recommends that 20% to 30% of your daily calorie intake come from protein.
Stephens recommends the following healthy, protein-rich snacks for diabetics:
Half a cup of low-fat cottage cheese, with 1 teaspoon of almond butter (12 g of protein)
A handful of almonds (6 g of protein)
A few slices of turkey breast (about 3 g of protein per 10 g of turkey breast)
Two hard-boiled eggs (12.5 g of protein)
A protein shake made from almond milk (the amount of protein depends on the type of powder you use, for example, this brand of powder contains 22.9 grams of protein per 35-gram serving)
However, it is important to remember that if you eat more protein than your body needs, excess protein could be stored as fat or lead to high blood sugar levels if the body releases stored sugars in response to certain hormones.
2. Try some fiber-rich snacks.
Fiber-rich foods digest more slowly. That means that they help slow the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream and can prevent blood sugar levels from skyrocketing quickly.
A study published in the Experimental and Therapeutic Medicine Journal in 2016 found that when type 2 diabetics regularly consume more dietary fiber, their blood glucose levels and insulin resistance improved significantly.
“Fiber can also help someone feel fuller longer,” says Stephens. “This is especially useful for type 2 patients who are overweight.”
Foods high in fiber also rank low on what is known as the glycemic index (GI), a scale that ranks foods high in carbohydrates based on the amount that blood glucose levels rise. For a tasty, fiber-rich snack, Stephens recommends the following:
A cup of roasted chickpeas (12.5 g of fiber)
A cup of edamame beans (8 g of fiber)
A serving of peanut butter multigrain crackers (5g fiber)
A slice of whole wheat bread with two tablespoons of peanut butter (4 g of fiber)
3. Healthy fatty snacks are also a good option
Foods with healthy fats, that is, unsaturated fats found in nuts, seeds, and avocados, can also delay digestion, making the increase in blood sugar levels after eating more gradual and delayed, according to Stephens.
“A high-fat meal will raise blood sugar after two to three hours, while a high-carbohydrate meal can raise blood sugar levels closer to an hour after eating,” says Stephens.
Healthy fats can also help control your weight, as the slower digestion process can help you feel fuller longer. Stephens recommends the following healthy fatty snacks:
An avocado with an egg (34 g of fat)
One cup of sunflower seeds (24 g of fat)
Celery with two tablespoons of peanut butter (16 g of fat)
A cup of olives (14 g of fat)
A handful of almonds (14 g of fat)
A serving of plain yogurt with whole milk with cinnamon (8 g of fat).
Read Also : How to use avocado oil, the age defying wonder oil.
If you have diabetes, you should try to avoid snacks that are high in carbohydrates and low in protein and fiber, such as sodas or cakes.
Instead, focus on snacking on snacks that are low in carbohydrates and sugar and high in fiber, protein, or healthy fats, such as whole grain peanut butter crackers. These types of snacks will help regulate your blood sugar better and keep you healthy.