Diabetes can make snacking a guilt-ridden, nerve-wracking experience. Society provides us with an array of sugary, carb-saturated quick fixes for our mid-afternoon or late-night cravings. For diabetics, these constantly available treats—cookies, crackers, soda pops, and the like—can seem like the only options. And those options don’t look good. Your average supermarket snack will force your blood sugars to spike and your health to plummet.
Luckily, though, there’s a variety of healthy snacks just as vast and tasty as anything the neighborhood donut shop has to offer. By focusing on nutrition and taste, you can ensure long-lasting, body-boosting results.
Grapes and Cheese
This one may come as a surprise to some people. Grapes are relatively highly caloric and sugary, and cheese is relatively high in fat. Shouldn’t that make this a nasty decadent cocktail for someone with diabetes? Not so, say many dieticians. The reason is this: when you have diabetes, your blood sugar will spike when it gets filled with unadulterated sugar. But combining that sugar with proteins and fats will help your body digest carbs at an efficient pace. Grapes will give you a good burst of energy, while the protein and fat in the cheese will help your body process that energy at a reasonable pace.
The nutritional benefits of carrots are well established. Ask ten people to suggest a healthy food, and chances are most of them will say carrot before you’ve even finished asking the question. And the reputation is much-deserved. Carrots are one of the most nutritious things you can eat. And unlike that pack of crackers, carrots will actually fill up for more than twenty minutes. If you’re not used to plain carrots, don’t worry—there are plenty of ways to get used to them. Cook them, or dip them a little ranch dressing.
Walnuts are low in carbohydrates, which will keep your blood sugars happy. What’s more, walnuts are high in good fats and protein. This non-carb energy bomb will keep you full and satisfied; your glucose will stay balanced. It should be noted, however, that the fat content of walnuts could get you in trouble. Walnuts are packed with the so-called good fats—polyunsaturated and monounsaturated—and are not nearly as detrimental to your health as other fatty snacks, but they’ll still bulk you up if you overindulge.
Low Sugar Yogurt
Like many of the other products listed, yogurts tend to be packed with protein, ensuring that sugars get processed at decent rate and helping to stabilize your blood sugar. There’s a catch with yogurts, though, and that catch is this: many of them are absolutely loaded with sugars. As a diabetic, you’re already aware of the dangers of high sugar. Lots of yogurts brag about being low-fat, but the real thing you should watch for is low-sugar. Keep an eye on your labels, and you’ll have a delicious, high protein snack in yogurt.
Like yogurt, this one doesn’t always apply. To keep popcorn at acceptable levels, you’ve got do ti right: air pop it, leave the butter and salt out, etc. And even at its best, popcorn has moderate levels of carbohydrate. Furthermore, popcorn’s benefits are more related to what it doesn’t have than to what it does have; frankly, popcorn’s reputation is based on its lack of bad things, not the presence of dense nutrients. Watch your carb points, and use popcorn as a treat.