Counting the number of carbohydrates in your snacks and choosing foods using the glycemic index are both great ways to make smart snacking decisions.
The American Diabetes Association (ADA) recommends that a diabetes-friendly snack should contain 10-25 grams of carbohydrates.
Here are a few healthy snack ideas that are great on-the-go and can help make managing your blood glucose level simple.
Store-bought trail mix can be boring, bland, and not so healthy — not to mention expensive. Save money (and your taste buds) by making your own!
- 1 cup roasted peanuts
- 1 cup raw or roasted almonds
- 1 cup pumpkin seeds
- 2 oz. dark chocolate chips
- 1/2 cup raisins or currants
This will make 16 servings at 1/4 cup each.
Some other good choices for DIY trail mix are sunflower seeds, hazelnuts, and walnuts.
*Allergy warning: Contains nuts
Enjoy 1/3 cup of hummus with 1 cup of a colorful trio of raw carrots, bell peppers, and broccoli. For extra flavor, throw a few green olives in the mix!
The protein and fat from the hummus will keep you feeling full, and the fiber from the non-starchy vegetables will keep your blood glucose level from spiking.
Fruit and cheese is a match made in heaven. Pair apples, oranges, grapes, or blueberries with 1 oz. of cheddar, Colby jack, or part-skim mozzarella string cheese for a delicious and convenient snack. Choose cheeses that are lower in fat to help manage bad cholesterol levels.
Light popcorn is a great snack option. A serving size is typically about 3 cups, and you can either make it at home or buy it pre-popped.
Be sure to check the nutrition facts for unhealthy trans fats (listed as hydrogenated fats on the ingredient list) and added sugars. Throw any unpopped kernels in a bag and microwave them to savor this snack to the very last kernel!
Choose a slice of sprouted whole grain bread or some whole grain crackers and top with some nut butter for a filling snack.
Greek yogurt has soared in popularity in recent years and for a good reason! As well as being high in protein, it’s also a great source of calcium.
Greek yogurt now comes in all sorts of flavors, and many fat-free yogurts, like Fage, contain less than 20 grams of carbohydrates per cup! The only exception is the honey flavor, which contains 30 grams of carbohydrates. Better yet, choose unsweetened Greek yogurt and add your own whole fruit, such as berries, for a healthy and higher-fiber snack.
Chips are no longer slang for fried potato. At home, you can bake all kinds of veggies to avoid the sodium, trans fats, and preservatives you find in a store-bought bag of potato chips.
Try making crispy kale chips at home. Toss some kale leaves in a bit of olive oil, salt, and pepper, and lay them on a baking sheet. Heat them until they’re crisp and you have a delicious snack in less than half an hour.
You can also find low-sodium chip alternatives at the store. Aim for something that has no more than 140 milligrams of sodium per serving.
Avocados fall into the category of “good” fats. They’re higher in calories, so you won’t want to eat them too often, but the monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats in them can lower your cholesterol.
You can eat them plain, mash them into some guacamole, or spread them on some whole grain toast for a satisfying snack.
When choosing a peanut butter spread, make sure you grab a natural one that has no added sugar, fats, salt, or preservatives. Cut up an apple and dip the slices into a tablespoon of peanut butter for a healthy and filling treat.
If you’re not the biggest fan of veggies, why not try them in liquid form? Grab your blender and add in some spinach leaves and cucumber, topped off with frozen mango cubes to add a bit of sweetness.
Choose your favorite fruits and vegetables and test out different combinations. The end result? A delicious drink that’s loaded with nutritional benefits.
Unfortunately, we’re not talking about the regular fries that are cooked in unhealthy oil and covered in salt. But you can still satisfy a similar craving with sweet potato fries.
Make them yourself by tossing some sweet potato wedges in small amounts of olive oil, salt, and pepper and throwing them in the oven. You can try this with low-carb vegetables too, like zucchini, turnips, and even carrots.
Snacks are a great way to keep your blood glucose levels stable, but sometimes it may seem that choosing what to snack on is easier said than done.
Making smart food choices starts with understanding the fundamentals. For most people with diabetes, that means understanding the effects of carbohydrates on blood glucose levels.
Carbohydrates break down into glucose, a type of basic sugar, and when you eat large amounts of certain types of carbohydrates, blood glucose levels can spike.
The glycemic index (GI) measures how much a food containing carbohydrates raises your blood glucose level compared to the consumption of pure glucose. Pure glucose has a score of 100.
The ADA identifies low-GI foods as those with a ranking of 55 or less. Low-GI foods include:
- 100 percent stone-ground whole wheat bread
- non-starchy vegetables
Medium-GI foods have ratings between 56 and 69. Some examples are:
- whole wheat bread
- rye bread
- pita bread
Eating mixed snacks can also help, since foods digest more slowly when they’re eaten together. Adding protein or healthy fats to a snack with carbohydrates can help increase fullness and decrease the risk of blood sugar spikes.