Healthy snacks play a crucial role if you want to stay healthy and fit, especially for diabetics.
But here’s the problem:
It’s easy and tempting to snack on junk foods. We know it’s not healthy, but we get too carried away with this kind of cravings.
Your food choices matter. And it matters even more if you’re diabetic.
Resisting the urge to pick up a burger, a bag of chips, or a bunch of candies may be hard for some.
So what if instead of resisting snacking, you choose healthier snacks?
In this article, you’ll learn about the healthy snacks for diabetics or if you are at risk of getting diabetes.
Let’s dive in.
How does food impact diabetes?
The food you eat affects your blood sugar level or otherwise known as blood glucose level especially if you have diabetes.
Your body converts food to simple sugars, which serves as an immediate source of energy.
Excessive sugar intake is harmful to your body. Over time, it can lead to Diabetes Mellitus.
Junk foods are one of the culprits. They can cause diabetes mellitus as it affects your blood sugar and leads to:
- Weight gain
- High blood pressure
- Higher triglyceride levels
A study published by Experimental Physiology reported something profound.
It found that people who eat junk foods regularly may experience high blood sugar levels and are also prone to kidney damage.
Here’s the thing:
The more you eat processed carbohydrate foods, the more sugar your body will absorb.
Processed carbohydrate foods include white grain products (pasta and rice), cookies, and white bread.
These foods contribute to a quick spike to your blood glucose level.
If you understand the effects of eating on your diabetic condition, you can better control your blood sugar.
And this in turn can help you avoid health complications.
How can healthy snacks decrease the risk of diabetes?
If you’re diabetic, you must eat healthy foods that boost your nutritional status and regulate your blood sugar level.
Healthy snacks for diabetics should:
- Have the right quality ingredients
- Must be calorie, carbohydrate-controlled and
The Comprehensive Diabetes Center of the University of Michigan recommends snacks that are less than 150 calories and 15-30 grams of carbohydrates.
Along with eating healthy meals and snacks, meal timing also matters for glycemic control. Schedule your snack time regularly.
The timing principle suggests that there should be a gap of 4-5 hours of meal after meal.
When is a good time to snack? You can have a low carbohydrate snack for two or three hours after your last meal.
This is according to Lori Zanini, RD, a certified diabetes educator, and author of the Diabetes Cookbook and Meal Plan for the Newly Diagnosed.
Healthy snacks for diabetics and people at risk of diabetes
A healthy snack will not throw your blood sugar out of balance. It’ll also prevent you from having diabetes-related complications such as heart disease.
If you’re unsure which kind of snack will suit best your condition, here is a list of healthy snacks you can choose from:
1. A bowl of vegetables
Vegetables are rich in fiber which slows down the absorption of sugar in the body and helps control your appetite.
You can enjoy various vegetable dishes cooked in different ways. Or, you can go for a garden salad for a colorful sight.
A meta-analysis study found that green leafy and yellow vegetables, cruciferous vegetables lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes. This is because it contains fiber.
In another study, high consumption of dietary fiber reduces the incidence of one to have type 2 diabetes.
The result also showed a small reduction in people’s fasting blood glucose level.
The recommended daily amount of vegetables for adults is at least 2½ cups. Examples of high fiber vegetables include:
- Green leafy and yellow vegetables
- Green peas
- Brussel sprouts
2. A small cup of nuts
Nuts like cashews, pistachios, macadamia nuts are energy and nutrient-dense.
Nuts contain healthy fats and fiber which helps reduce blood sugar and insulin levels.
According to research, eating nuts can significantly decrease the risk of type 2 diabetes, cardiovascular diseases, and metabolic syndrome.
A handful or 30 grams of nuts is a recommended healthy daily intake.
3. An apple a day
For a long time, this fruit has the potential to prevent particular chronic conditions such as diabetes mellitus.
A study revealed that apples have polyphenol antioxidants that protect pancreatic cells from damage that may lead to diabetes.
A serving of apple is equal to one medium apple of 6.4 ounces or 182 grams.
4. Chia seed pudding
Chia seeds are rich in fiber which can absorb water. This is also a healthy food for diabetic people.
A study suggests that chia seeds can reduce triglyceride levels. This can be help people with diabetes from developing heart-related complications.
You can eat chia seeds by soaking it in a cup of milk or adding it to a smoothie.
It absorbs the liquid until it achieves a pudding-like consistency. This is how the so-called chia pudding is prepared.
Hummus is a famous vegetarian dish made from chickpeas.
Often, its creamy mixture contains broccoli, carrots, cauliflower, and bell peppers.
With these vegetables included, hummus is a good source of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals.
A study shows that hummus has a very low glycemic index.
This indicates that its ability to raise blood sugar levels is little.
Participants who consumed an ounce of hummus per meal had their blood sugar and insulin levels drop four times lower. This compares to a group that consumed white bread.
Hence, this food is less of a worry for diabetics.
6. Hard-boiled egg
According to the American Diabetes Association, eggs have nutritional value for a diabetic person’s diet.
Researchers have examined the effects of egg consumption among diabetic patients.
The results suggest that a high-protein energy-restricted diet from eggs can improve their glycemic and lipid profiles, blood pressure, and apo-B.
In another study, eggs show promising results in inducing satiety.
7. Fruit bowl
It is a myth that all fruits do raise your blood glucose levels. Some fruits have low to medium glycaemic index.
Such fruits do not cause a sharp rise in your blood glucose levels, compared to foods like white or wholemeal bread that are rich in carbohydrates.
Fruits also contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals, which are also beneficial for diabetic people’s health.
Examples of fruits with a low glycemic index are:
- Apricot (Fresh, Dried)
- Banana (green, unripe)
So, you can still make a fruit salad out of these choices!
The American Diabetes Association recommends a daily dose of one small piece of whole fruit per day.
Or you can choose about a half cup of frozen or canned fruit with 15 grams of carbohydrate.
8. Greek Yogurt
Yogurt is diabetes-friendly food. Studies have found that it can reduce blood sugar levels due to its probiotic activity.
Probiotics help improve your body’s ability to metabolize the sugar you get from foods.
It also has positive effects on insulin sensitivity which reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
9. Avocado in a Guac
Avocados are high in fiber and contain monounsaturated fatty acids.
This makes it a diabetes-friendly food that may help your blood sugar from spiking up after a meal. It can also reduce serum total cholesterol.
To enjoy your avocado, you can make it into a dip called guacamole.
A recommended healthy serving of avocados is only one-fourth to one-half of its size since it is high in calories.
Popcorn is a low-calorie type of whole-grain snack. It is one of the best snacks for diabetic people.
Here’s the thing though:
You must consume popcorn without salt, butter, or hydrogenated oils for it to be healthy for you
Low-calorie snacks are helpful for weight management. They help decrease blood sugar levels and better control of type 2 diabetes
11. Whole-wheat or whole-grain crackers
Whole-wheat and whole-grain crackers have a low glycemic index compared to plain white crackers.
So, it only has less impact on your blood glucose levels. And it’s one of the best healthy snacks for diabetics.
One research revealed that the consumption of whole-grain products reduces the risk of type 2 diabetes.
To make your crackers tastier, you can dip or spread some low-fat cheese on it too.
Tips for choosing a healthy diabetes-friendly snack
Make sure you are eating nutritious and properly-portioned snacks when hunger hits you.
Avoid careless snacking
It may quickly increase your daily energy requirements while getting little to zero nutrients.
Without paying attention to what you eat, it’ll be difficult to control or even improve your health.
Choose whole foods as snacks
Stay away from processed, refined carbohydrates. Eat whole foods.
They can increase your blood glucose level, influence over-eating, and produce inflammation.
Low-calorie foods also help in weight management, which also promotes a decrease in blood sugar levels.
Eat nutrient-rich foods
For example foods high fiber-carbohydrates, protein, and proper amounts of healthy fats. This will help you feel full for a more extended period.