Smart Snacking in Diabetes
Mrudula Aher

Mrudula Aher

Jul 19Diabetes

Smart Snacking in Diabetes

This blog has been compiled by Komal Adhlaka, a content writer for Proactive For Her.

Snacking helps you satisfy food cravings with something of your liking. Some chips or chocolate bars could help quench your hunger but some awareness towards what you eat may help you keep your blood glucose steady while adding important vitamins and minerals to your diet. Diabetics have it a little hard while choosing their snacks to satisfy their hunger pangs. The key here, however, is to pick snack items that are rich in fiber, protein, and healthy fats. They are essential nutrients to keep your blood sugar levels under control. Here are some healthy snacks to eat if you have diabetes.

1. Eggs

  • Eggs, especially when hard-boiled are a healthy snack alternative. One hard-boiled egg provides 6 grams of protein, which keeps your blood sugar from rising after you eat.
  • Eating eggs makes you feel full which greatly helps in managing type 2 diabetes.
  • An egg salad with a healthy topping like guacamole or an egg salad with lettuce, tomatoes and other vegetables of your choice could work from a great evening snack for diabetics.

2. Hummus and Vegetables

  • Hummus is a nutrient-rich, creamy spread made from chickpeas. While raw vegetables like broccoli, French beans, etc. are rich in vitamins and minerals. A bowl of raw or power-boiled vegetables with hummus is an excellent smart snack. 
  • Hummus is rich in protein, with 3 grams per tablespoon (15 grams), which keeps blood sugar levels controlled in people with diabetes.

3. Cottage Cheese or Paneer

  • Cottage cheese is a great snack that could help manage your blood sugar. 
  • A half-cup (about 110-grams) serving of cottage cheese is full of vitamins and minerals and almost 15 grams of protein and just 3-4 grams of carbs.
  • The high protein content in cottage cheese is responsible for lowering blood sugar. Some people do not like plain cottage cheese, so its combination with a salad or other foods would be good alternatives to snack on cottage cheese.

4. Berries

  • Berries are a great diabetes-friendly snack. Berries are rich in antioxidants that may reduce inflammation and prevent damage to cells of the pancreas which is responsible for releasing hormones that lower blood sugar levels.
  • Besides, they are also rich in fiber which helps slow digestion and stabilizes blood sugar levels post meals.

5. Yogurt

  • Yogurt is rich in protein which helps to lower blood sugar levels.
  • It also has probiotics that may improve your body’s ability to metabolize foods that contain sugar.

6. Chickpeas

  • Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans give nearly 15 grams of protein and 14 grams of fiber in about a cup or 165 grams serving to make them an excellent snack for diabetics.
  • Chickpeas may significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels. Roasting or boiling them could add the much-needed convenience of eating with your choice of added flavors.

7. Cheese and Whole-Grain Crackers

  • Whole-wheat Crackers are high in carbs and fiber. The fat in the cheese may prevent them from raising your blood sugar.
  • While choosing the crackers, make sure that you avoid brands that are high in refined flour and added sugar, as they negatively affect blood sugar levels. Therefore, choose crackers made with 100% whole grains.

8. Popcorn

  • Popcorn is a very popular and healthy whole-grain snack food amongst diabetic persons because of its low-calorie density. One cup of air-popped popcorn contains just 31 calories and 1 gram of fiber which makes it a good snack alternative for them.
  • Snacking on popcorn may help to keep weight under control, which is largely responsible for decreasing blood sugar levels and promoting better overall management of Type 2 diabetes.
  • Try air-popping the popcorn on your own because most packed popcorn is full of salt and trans-fats which are not good for health.

9. Nuts

  • Nuts are considered a diabetes superfood by the ADA. They are a great on-the-go snack.
  • Nuts like almonds, peanuts, walnuts, and pistachios are incredibly healthy for diabetics. The protein and fiber in nuts are filling, which may help with portion control.
  • Nuts are also rich in nutrients like vitamin E, B vitamins, selenium, zinc, and high amounts of fat. Talking of nuts, almonds are less caloric than walnuts. A one-ounce serving of whole roasted almonds contains about 140 calories compared to walnuts at about 190 calories.
  • Other options of nuts could be pistachios which are a nutrient-dense choice. A two-ounce serving of pistachios contains about 14 grams of protein and 12 grams of carbohydrates, which makes it a great snack option.

10. Sprouts

  • Pulses are rich in protein and fiber and help in controlling blood sugar levels. You can add steamed pulses of your choice with chopped cucumber, tomatoes and cottage cheese.
  • Sprinkle some salt and add some lemon juice. You can also use boiled beans or kala chana to add to the nutrient content.

11. Vegetable/paneer/fish cutlets

  • Healthy, non-fried cutlets that are made of vegetables, paneer (farmer’s cheese) or fish can greatly help with smart snacking.
  • These ingredients are rich in nutrition and can be cooked with a variety of veggies. In general, diabetics should avoid deep frying these and instead bake or grill them.

12. Idli/Khakhra

  • Oat idli or oats upma, home-made dhokla and khakhra are light-weight and healthy alternatives when you want to snack on some savoury.
  • Making them at home is also very easy.

Things to keep in mind while snacking in diabetes: 

  • Be aware of portion control. Portion control is essential during diabetes. Use a small plate, bowl, or glass while you slowly eat your snacks, so you can keep your cravings under control.
  • Opt for healthier snack options. An apple would suffice your cravings more than a packet of chips. Therefore, choose better options to manage blood sugar levels appropriately. 
  • Keep foods already prepared. Store cut-up raw vegetables in your refrigerator. If you have them cut and stored, you're more likely to grab them to eat instead of something instant but processed. 
  • Avoid high-fat dips. Replace high-fat dips with Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, add homemade pesto, salsa, or bean paste as dips. A bean dip made with fat-free refried beans could be a good alternative.
  • Keep experimenting. A pizza made of the whole wheat base would be better than an all-purpose flour base. Besides, tomato sauce, some reduced-fat cheese, and sliced zucchini or mushrooms topping could be a healthy alternative to regular pizza. 
  • Avoid packets or boxes. Eating from packets or boxes will not allow you to keep portion control. Rather, take a single serving, and eat from a plate or bowl. 
  • Read labels. Read nutrition facts labels, especially in low-fat or fat-free foods. Avoid foods with added sugar or salt which is often added when fat is taken out.
  • Keep healthy options such as makhanas, roasted chana, nuts, or millet puffs which are easily accessible rather than keeping chips and biscuits.

Final Words

Smart Snacking in diabetes is essential. There are many healthy snack options to choose from if you have diabetes. Choosing foods that are rich in protein, fiber, healthy fats, etc. helps in maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Type 2 diabetics have a higher risk of obesity and chronic illnesses, such as heart disease. Thus, smart snacking is important to focus on foods that are nutrient-rich and healthy overall.

Disclaimer - This information is provided for educational purposes and should not be construed as medical advice. Please consult with your healthcare practitioners before undertaking any changes in your diet or adding supplements.

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