When you have diabetes, it’s important to choose foods that don’t elevate your blood sugar levels above a healthy range. At first glance, this can make your snack options seem rather limited — after all, many premade snacks are brimming with excessive amounts of sugar, sodium and carbohydrates. Fortunately, there are still plenty of delicious — and healthy — diabetes-friendly snacks you can munch on when you’re feeling hungry between meals.
If you like nuts, you’re in luck. A handful of almonds is not only a tasty snack, but it’s also a healthy one for diabetics. An ounce of them contains about 15 important vitamins and minerals, and studies show that adults who eat almonds daily may have lower blood sugar numbers overall thanks to the nuts’ fiber and protein. As an added bonus, almonds are good for your heart and cholesterol levels.
If you think you’ll have to give up a tasty bowl of popcorn due to diabetes, rethink your plans. It’s high in fiber and lower in calories, which are two important traits to look for in your snacks. Skip the prepackaged kind, and pop your own plain kernels for the healthiest version of this alternative to chips.
Peanut Butter and Apples
Apples and peanut butter are delicious together, and the combination makes for a tasty treat with a hint of sweetness that isn’t too high in sugar. However, this combo is high in fiber, which is a must for keeping your blood sugar under control while also helping you feel full. Apples are also packed with antioxidants that are thought to protect your pancreas from damage diabetes can cause.
If you’re always on the go, you might be looking for pre-packaged snacks that are easy to grab but still healthy enough to eat when you have diabetes. Beef sticks or beef jerky can solve this dilemma. They’re high in protein, which can help keep you full and keep your blood sugar levels stable.
A couple of hard-boiled eggs sprinkled with your favorite seasonings are the perfect snack when you’re diabetic. Each one has about 6 grams of protein but only about 78 calories, which means they’ll fill you up without making it difficult to keep your weight in check. Studies have even shown that eating eggs when you’re diabetic may help lower your A1C levels.
Cheese and Whole Grain Crackers
As long as you choose crackers made from whole grains that aren’t too high in carbohydrates,, you can pair them with a few slices of your favorite cheese for a healthy and hearty snack. The fat and protein in the cheese can actually help slow down the way your body processes the carbs, so you won’t see a big spike in blood sugar.
Veggies and Dip
Name the last party you attended that didn’t have a tray of raw veggies — think carrots, celery, broccoli and peppers with some sort of dip. Well, you don’t have to wait for your next get-together to enjoy this diabetes-friendly snack. Keep some of your favorite fresh vegetables chopped up in the fridge, along with your favorite dip, whether it’s hummus, low-sugar salad dressing, salsa, tzatziki or a ranch dip. You’ll fill up on fiber (but not on calories) in no time.
Yogurt is high in protein and probiotics, both of which can help combat high blood sugar. Greek yogurt is usually lower in sugar than regular yogurt, too. Throw in some berries or nuts to add some flavor and fiber to your favorite Greek yogurt, and you’ve got a quick, easy and delicious snack.
If you crave a milkshake or smoothie, try making your own at home with fruit. Blend a small banana, a half cup of milk or yogurt and a half cup of your favorite frozen berries. You can also add ice if you like or a scoop of protein powder to make it a bit more robust and filling. Just be careful to measure out your portion sizes so you aren’t consuming more calories than you want to.
Cottage cheese is a filling snack in part because it’s packed with protein. The average cup has about 25 grams of protein, while it only has 8 grams of carbohydrates. Mix in some of your favorite berries to tame a sweet tooth, or go for something savory by blending the cottage cheese with a little salsa. As an added bonus, tomatoes contain lycopene, which may lower your risk of heart disease.
When you’re craving something salty and crunchy, skip the potato chips and head to the fridge. Pickles are very low in carbohydrates, and they contain healthy probiotics because they’re fermented. And, because they’re essentially just cucumbers, they’re low in calories. Keep an eye on serving sizes, though; the liquid that the pickles are brined in is usually high in sodium.
Chia seeds are a newcomer on the superfood scene, but they’re well worth a try. These little powerhouses are high in fiber and contain a little protein, and many experts believe they can help combat diabetes and heart disease. To make a pudding, simply soak the seeds in plain almond or coconut milk. They’ll soak up the moisture and develop a pudding-like consistency. Add fruits, berries, nuts, stevia, cocoa, vanilla and other low-sugar, low-calorie foods to boost flavor.
Remember the days when you made Jack-o’-lanterns as a kid, and afterwards, you roasted the pumpkin seeds? As it turns out, that’s a pretty healthy snack for anyone, but especially people who have diabetes. The seeds contain healthy fats, protein and fiber. You can season them any way you like or buy them already flavored, but be cautious with packaged varieties. These can sometimes have a lot of sodium in their seasoning.
It’s hard to turn away a bag of potato chips, but they just aren’t a good snack for diabetics — they’re mostly packed with carbohydrates. Of course, you can always substitute something healthier when you’re craving crunchy chips. Try making your own kale chips instead. You can even add flavors, such as chili powder, garlic or onion powder, to make them a bit zestier.
Sweet Potato Fries
French fries are another major craving you may have, but again, potatoes are packed with carbs that can cause your blood sugar to spike. That doesn’t mean you have to go without. Try making your own fries at home using sweet potatoes and baking them instead. They’re high in fiber and other essential vitamins. Just be careful to watch your serving sizes, as sweet potatoes do still have carbohydrates.