As someone living with type 2 diabetes, finding “that one thing” that will satisfy your craving can be challenging. Eat something that satisfies your sweet tooth, and you risk raising your blood sugar levels too much. Eat something that fulfills your salty cravings, and you risk increasing your blood pressure too much.
Rather than thinking of what you can’t or shouldn’t snack on, think of what wholesome, nutritious foods you can enjoy! According to the American Diabetes Association, snacks are a way to curb hunger and add a healthy boost to your day.
Stocking your kitchen with the right kinds of foods is the first step to managing what — and how well — you eat. After all, if your pantry is filled to the brim with cookies, candy, and other processed foods, that’s what you’ll end up eating. But if it’s full of wholesome, fiber-rich foods, such as natural nut butters, popcorn, oatmeal, and dried fruit, that’s what you’ll be reaching for instead. To put it simply, choose wisely and your body will thank you.
Before you head to the grocery store, make a list. Only buy items that are on your list, no matter how tempting a sale is or how good the bakery aisle looks that particular day. You’re more likely to stay on track if you go with a clear mind. Also, don’t go to the store hungry. You’ll wind up succumbing to cravings, instead of sticking to your list.
Another tip is to enlist your family and friends to help. Holding yourself accountable can be tricky, and you’re more likely to be lured into eating something unhealthy if there’s nobody watching you. Asking your loved ones to help you stay on track can be beneficial to your own well-being and theirs as well.
With all this in mind, we polled some people with diabetes to see what they like to munch on as well as what some health and wellness experts suggest trying.
"We all experience the urge to snack (if not outright binge) and reward ourselves with culinary delights. The monster is hungry! Finding snacks that are blood sugar friendly can help a lot. … Almonds. This is my favorite choice for us because it not only curbs food cravings, but can also improve the glucose concentration in the blood." – Markus Berndt, living with type 2 diabetes, health coach and blogger at mySugr
"It’s easy to consume fewer carbs when you pair ’em with fat because of the wonderful fat satiety factor: It fills you up! Fat is the best buffer for carbohydrates, and it slows digestion of the carb. I recommend at least a couple tablespoons of healthy fat at every meal and snack from avocados, … olive oil, nuts and nut butters, seeds, portioned cheese, olives. …" – Cassie, author, speaker, coach, and blogger of Dietitian Cassie
"Kale chips are one of the healthiest snacks, loaded with many essential nutrients, and [are] an ideal low-calorie snack. Here I have added an Indian twist to these with beans and spices and very little oil. These come in handy when we are craving something spicy to snack on without any guilt." – Gita Jaishankar, recipe developer and blogger of Gita’s Kitchen
"Turmeric has long been touted as a potent anti-inflammatory, helping to calm the chronic inflammation at the root of everything from cancer to diabetes. Thanks to curcumin, the active ingredient in turmeric, turmeric lattes offer a healthy alternative to coffee that can help reduce the inflammation caused by sugar and junk food." – Stephanie Pollard, blogger at hello glow
"I do my best to adapt, to be agile, and to be resilient. I know that some of us struggle with allergies or conditions like celiac disease that make things truly difficult. So I feel pretty lucky. I can almost always simply select the things that I eat from what is available and in a pinch I often have emergency food in my backpack. My emergency food usually consists of nuts, canned fish (like herring), and hot sauce (a must)." – Brian, living with type 2 diabetes, blogger of The Trials of Type 2 Diabetes