Snacking can be good for you. These quick bites when chosen wisely can curb cravings, aid in preventing weight gain, help balance mood, and boost energy. For those with special dietary needs such as diabetes, getting a snack may not be as simple as it sounds. Though you may be eating three meals daily, if you are living with diabetes you may experience peaks and valleys of your blood sugar levels. Snacking can help minimize these ups and downs and prevent you from overeating.
Healthy snacks provide calories and energy at balanced levels. High sugar snacks will boost your energy in spurts—eat the snack, feel the energy boost, and in a relatively short period of time you feel yourself slowing down as your energy lags. In contrast the most beneficial snacks are lower in calories; contain natural sugar, and protein.
To help choose those snacks with benefits, it is important to pre-plan—make sure you have snack foods on hand, in the car or at work. Five-star snacks are lower in calories, fat, sodium and added sugar; they’re high in fiber and nutrients. It is important that the snack curbs the craving without leaving you wanting just a little more. The following includes general wise-snacking guidelines as well as options that are diabetes friendly.
Choose snacks such as the following that range between 200 and 300 calories or less. Remember this is a mini-meal, not a meal.
- Pair fruit with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
- Pair fresh veggies like baby carrots or broccoli with 2 ozs. hummus
- Greek-style yogurt plus 1 oz. of walnuts
- Whole wheat crackers plus 1 oz. of low-fat cheese
- Whole grain dinner roll plus one slice of deli turkey and one slice of low-fat cheese
- Air-popped popcorn
Plan for snacking by choosing suggested foods like the ones below. These options will curb your appetite and keep your blood sugar from spiking.
- Choose fruits that are lower in natural sugar such as apples, melon or berries and be mindful of portion control. For whole fruits such as apples, choose smaller sizes or cut the fruit in half.
- One half cup tuna salad plus 4 to 6 whole grain crackers
- Cherry tomatoes or baby carrots with 2 ozs. of low-fat ranch dressing
- One 6-inch four tortilla topped with 1 oz. of shredded low-fat cheese and 2 ozs. salsa
- One half peanut butter sandwich-one slice of whole grain bread plus 2 tablespoons of peanut butter
- 3 cups of air-popped popcorn
We all enjoy a snack now and then, but the key is to choose snacks wisely and avoid overindulging on that mini-meal. The drive-through, fast track snack may satiate your want for a little something instantly, but remember by following the above suggestions you can enjoy well-being snacks that will make you feel good and energetic.
Take Away: Snacking has benefits for good health. Just remember to make wise snack choices in the recommended portion sizes.