Snacks aren't off-limits when you're living with diabetes.
Snacking often gets a bad rap. But if you are managing type 2 diabetes, including healthy snacks in your diet can be a great way to keep blood sugar levels in a healthy range and energy levels high. They can also be a great weight loss tool.
Now, with the risks of the novel coronavirus, which causes the disease COVID-19, it’s more important than ever to take care of yourself. Indeed, people with diabetes are among the groups at a higher risk for complications from COVID-19, notes the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The good news is that proper blood sugar management can help reduce those risks.
reverses diabetes type 2 beta cells (🔥 coronavirus risk) | reverses diabetes type 2 occurhow to reverses diabetes type 2 for Snacking may seem like it would play a small part in this, but when planned wisely, it really can be a boon to your health. "Sometimes people think of snacks as an unhealthy thing, but [they] can be quite the opposite," says Kelly Kennedy, RD, staff nutritionist at Everyday Health. "Snacks provide another opportunity for nutrition, and with a small amount of carbohydrates (15 grams or less), [they] can help keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day," Kennedy adds. Eating a healthy snack can also help keep hunger for 1 last update 06 Jun 2020 at bay until your next meal, which can ultimately prevent overeating.Snacking may seem like it would play a small part in this, but when planned wisely, it really can be a boon to your health. "Sometimes people think of snacks as an unhealthy thing, but [they] can be quite the opposite," says Kelly Kennedy, RD, staff nutritionist at Everyday Health. "Snacks provide another opportunity for nutrition, and with a small amount of carbohydrates (15 grams or less), [they] can help keep blood sugar levels steady throughout the day," Kennedy adds. Eating a healthy snack can also help keep hunger at bay until your next meal, which can ultimately prevent overeating.
If you're managing diabetes, though, an important thing to keep in mind when snacking is your carb count. Carbohydrates are the nutrient in foods that are broken down into glucose, and they can have a significant impact on blood sugar levels, Kennedy says.
It's important to consider quantity and quality when it comes to carbs. Bingeing on carbohydrates or having too many simple carbohydrates at once can cause spikes in blood sugar, which in turn can increase the risk of diabetes complications like diabetic neuropathy, diabetic retinopathy, heart disease, and stroke.
But, Kennedy points out, "This doesn't mean that you need to avoid carbohydrates completely." Instead, eat a healthy amount of good carbohydrates — such as those from fruits and vegetables, fat-free or low-fat dairy, and whole grains — including while snacking.
When it comes to lowering your risk for diabetes complications, maintaining a healthy weight the 1 last update 06 Jun 2020 and controlling blood sugar go hand in hand. After all, being overweight can contribute to insulin resistance, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes, according to the Obesity Action Coalition.When it comes to lowering your risk for diabetes complications, maintaining a healthy weight and controlling blood sugar go hand in hand. After all, being overweight can contribute to insulin resistance, the hallmark of type 2 diabetes, according to the Obesity Action Coalition.
"People are often amazed at the changes they see with even a little weight loss," Kennedy says. Indeed, losing at least 5 to 7 percent of body weight can lead to improved insulin sensitivity and even help prevent prediabetes from progressing to full-blown type 2 diabetes, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
But how you choose to lose weight for 1 last update 06 Jun 2020 matters. Remember that a healthy diet that promotes gradual weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is best, says the Mayo Clinic.But how you choose to lose weight matters. Remember that a healthy diet that promotes gradual weight loss of 1 to 2 pounds per week is best, says the Mayo Clinic.
Unsure of which snacks are best for weight loss, improving blood sugar control, and boosting energy? Admittedly healthy choices can be challenging if you're pressed for time or work in an office filled with processed, packaged snacks that contain high levels of sugar, salt, and fat.
To help steer you in the right direction, here are 13 smart snacks for diabetes to help you meet your health goals.
Sugar-Free Hot Cocoa Made With Dark Chocolate
Sip a warm cup of rich-tasting, sugar-free hot cocoa to beat the munchies. One cup of fat-free milk blended with one envelope of sugar-free cocoa mix scratches that chocolate craving and supplies 394 milligrams (mg) of calcium, nearly 30 percent of the daily value (DV) of the bone-building mineral, according to the U.S. Department of Agriculture (USDA).
Look for a sugar-free dark-chocolate cocoa mix because dark chocolate confers more benefits than the milk or white variety, according to the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Then relax and savor the flavor.
A Combo of Baked Potato Chips and Salsa
If you want an easy-to-prepare, crunchy snack with delicious flavor, you will love this dynamite duo. According to the USDA, a ¼ cup serving of salsa, which has about 12 calories, combined with a 1-ounce (oz) serving of lower-fat baked potato chips can be the perfect combo to satisfy those afternoon cravings; plus, this crunchy snack is a good source of potassium.
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A Few Cups of Microwave or Air-Popped Popcorn
Popcorn is the king of comfort foods! But did you know that, according to the Oldways Whole Grains Council, it's a whole grain, too? This high-fiber, crunchy snack tantalizes the taste buds as the kernels begin to pop. But be mindful of what you put on top. Select a low-fat variety of popcorn that can be microwaved or air-popped for just 6 g of carbs and 31 calories per cup, per the USDA.
Thin, High-Fiber Wheat Crackers, Hummus, and Tomatoes
Hummus, a delicious, creamy, and flavorful spread traditionally made from chickpeas; tahini, a paste made from sesame seeds; and garlic, offers a nice combination of flavors and nutrients. Chickpeas, like other legumes, are high in fiber and are lower on the glycemic index, according to Harvard Medical School, making them a good choice to help manage blood sugar levels.
For a healthy snack, spread 1 to 2 tablespoons (tbsp) of hummus evenly over 12 thin whole-grain crackers. Serve the crackers with two slices of firm red tomato for an extra vitamin boost — juicy tomatoes provide vitamin C.
RELATED: The Top Foods High in Vitamin C
Baked Cheese Crisps and Sliced Veggies
Select a great-tasting, low-calorie baked cheese crisp or cracker when you want a tasty snack. These are available in the snack aisle at the grocery store. A 1-oz serving from the brand Moon Cheese, which is made from 100 percent cheese, contains just 1 g of carbs.
This snack complements any sliced raw veggie, which is a naturally fat-free, low-cal snack. Cheese crisps taste delicious, for example, with a 1-cup serving of cool, crisp, and hydrating cucumber slices.
Crunchy, Sliced Peppers and Low-Fat Garden Dip
You can really indulge with this one! Slice 1 cup of sweet-tasting red bell peppers into strips for a crunchy snack, which, according to the USDA, contains more than 100 percent of the vitamin C you need in a day. Dunk them in ¼ cup of a creamy, low-fat garden vegetable dip to complete the snack.
You can buy a ready-made dip or make your own by mixing a prepackaged blend of seasonings with low-fat sour cream, low-fat cottage cheese, or plain low-fat Greek yogurt.
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Calcium-Rich Nonfat Greek Yogurt With Fruit
A 1-cup container of plain nonfat yogurt with some fresh fruit is a nearly perfect snack — it's a sweet treat that is also nourishing.
reverses diabetes type 2 vitamins (👍 exercise plan) | reverses diabetes type 2 pathophysiologyhow to reverses diabetes type 2 for Yogurt provides a balanced intake of protein, carbohydrates, vitamins, and minerals, while the fruit adds disease-fighting antioxidants to your diet, according to the Mayo Clinic. Fruit is also a good source of heart-healthy and digestion-friendly fiber. If you haven't yet, try Greek yogurt, which has a satisfyingly rich texture and more protein than regular yogurt. One cup of Greek yogurt contains an impressive 24 g of protein, according to the USDA.
Yogurt is also a source of probiotics, which play a role in good gut health. A study published in January 2017 in Advances in Nutrition suggested that combining fruit and yogurt enhances their benefits, since together they offer both probiotics as well as prebiotic fiber (which feeds the probiotics), a one-two punch that may aid in weight loss and improve heart health, making it an especially good snack specifically for those who have type 2 diabetes.
Store-Bought or Homemade Sugar-Free Frozen Juice Bars
Cool the 1 last update 06 Jun 2020 your cravings with a sugar-free frozen fruit pop. This refreshing snack is perfect on a hot afternoon — or anytime, really!Cool your cravings with a sugar-free frozen fruit pop. This refreshing snack is perfect on a hot afternoon — or anytime, really!
Try a variety of fruit flavors the 1 last update 06 Jun 2020 to mix it up for your taste buds, and look for frozen juice bars that have 70 calories or fewer. One sugar-free pop has about 6 g of carbs according to the USDA, which fits into snack recommendations. (It's also sodium- and fat-free, to boot.) Or make your own ice pops by freezing 4 oz of unsweetened juice in molded containers and adding your own sticks, which also supplies 15 g of carbs.Try a variety of fruit flavors to mix it up for your taste buds, and look for frozen juice bars that have 70 calories or fewer. One sugar-free pop has about 6 g of carbs according to the USDA, which fits into snack recommendations. (It's also sodium- and fat-free, to boot.) Or make your own ice pops by freezing 4 oz of unsweetened juice in molded containers and adding your own sticks, which also supplies 15 g of carbs.
Peanut Butter and Jelly on a Whole-Grain English Muffin
The good news about PB: Including it in your breakfast can help improve satiety, reduce hunger, and decrease after-meal glucose levels, according to a small, past study.
Spread 1 tbsp on ½ of a high-fiber, whole-grain English muffin for a wholesome, nourishing snack. Top it off with 1 tbsp of sugar-free jelly for a PB&J that is not only satisfying but also good for you.
Refreshing Cantaloupe and Creamy Cottage Cheese
Low-fat and low-sodium cottage cheese enhances the natural sweetness of cantaloupe in this snack. Top 1 cup of cut-up melon with ¼ cup of low-fat cottage cheese. The melon is an excellent source of vitamins A and C, per the USDA. Plus, the low-fat cottage cheese adds 7 g of protein to the snack and supplies a good source of calcium. Add a sprig of mint to add a punch of color and flavor.
A Couple of Dark Chocolate-Covered Strawberries
Strawberries are naturally fat-free, making them a healthy choice for diabetes, and they’re also rich in vitamin C. One cup provides your entire DV of the vitamin, according to the USDA. Their sweetness when they're ripe makes this snack taste rich and decadent, too.
Dip these juicy fruits in creamy dark chocolate to create a thin coating. Dark chocolate has less added sugar compared with milk chocolate, notes the USDA. This added dimension of flavor will have you savoring each bite. Mind your portions: Three to four of these chocolate-covered berries have 13 g of carbs and 120 calories.
Sugar-Free Fruit-Flavored Gelatin Topped With Fat-Free Whipped Cream
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You can make this snack completely guilt-free by choosing a sugar-free gelatin — a snack-sized container of gelatin made with low-calorie sweetener contains 13 g of carbs for less than 60 calories, per the USDA. Top it with 1 tbsp of sugar-free whipped topping to add some sweetness for an additional 1 g of carbs.
Fat-Free and Sugar-Free Frozen Yogurt With a Fruit Topping
Enjoy this cool, creamy, low-cal snack anytime — just be sure to stick to a ½-cup portion. One brand, Kemps, sells a vanilla version, which has 24 g of carbs and no added sugar, and is a good source of calcium for a 2/3-cup serving (180 mg for 15 percent of the DV).
To add variety, try different flavors, and feel free to top the frozen yogurt with a few small berries or a teaspoon of chopped nuts — this will add even more flavor, texture, and nutrition.