Diabetes has been a chronic enemy of mine since childhood. Both my grandparents are long term diabetics, and I have seen it disable their bodies to a great extent. Poor lifestyle choices and unhealthy eating habits worsened their condition to the point where it was impossible for them to overcome diabetes for the rest of their lives. In this article, I have compiled a list of best snacks for diabetics which are nutritious and delicious at the same time.
Mealtimes used to be tricky. Even a small piece of bread would cause their sugar levels to spike. It was getting difficult to control their sugar, especially because they also had to maintain a balanced diet to remain healthy. These best snacks ideas for diabetics helped us when we were utterly confused, and I hope it serves the same purpose for you too.
Best Snacks for Diabetics That are Not Boring
This article features 10 healthy and best snacks for diabetics to relish.
1. Yogurt with Berries
Yogurt with berries is a great combination that is healthy and delicious all at once. The antioxidants in the berries reduce cell inflammation which prevents damage to the insulin-releasing cells in the pancreas. Berries also contain a high amount of roughage fibers. This helps slow digestion and promotes better absorption of all the nutrients in the food.
Yogurt is rich in its protein content which keeps sugar levels in control. The probiotics in it improve the body’s metabolism rate. It also has a high water content which helps maintain the blood’s osmotic pressure.
It is relatively easy to prepare as well. This is very healthy and one of the best snacks for diabetics. Simply mix them and enjoy it!
2. Sweet Potato Toast
Bread becomes a dangerous enemy for all diabetics. A quick replacement for traditional bread is “sweet potato”. Popping slices of them into the toaster gives them a crisp, airy texture. They can be topped with guacamole, peanut butter, or even eggs to make them a full and nutritious snack.
Sweet potato lacks the high amount of sugar that bread usually contains. It also contains more fiber and has fewer carbs as well.
Popcorn is one of the best snacks for diabetics. However, choosing the right popcorn is what will decide if the snack remains healthy or not.
Pre-packaged popcorn contains harmful preservatives, trans-fat and tons of artificial flavorings. Popping your own popcorn is much cheaper and healthier in the long run. The low-calorie density supports weight management, which in turn helps decrease blood sugar levels.
It also has a high fiber content, which helps the body assimilate a lot more of the nutrients in your food.
Hummus is a creamy, light dip made out of garlic and cooked chickpeas and topped with a dollop of olive oil. It’s tasty, healthy and makes you feel satisfied in just a few spoonfuls. This can be combined with fibrous, raw veggies like cucumber, carrot, broccoli or bell peppers.
Hummus with veggies is a balanced meal all by itself. The veggies are rich in various vitamins and minerals, while the chickpea is a great source of proteins and roughage fibers. The oil contains essential fats required by the body to dissolve certain vitamins. The meal consists of very fewer carbs, which is perfect for a diabetic patient. This most definitely should be your best snacks for diabetics.
5. Avocado in Any Form
Though slightly on the pricier side here in India, avocado is a fruit that has to be included on this list. It’s healthy, fibrous and full of vitamins. An extremely versatile fruit, it can be used to make a sweet or a savory dish. Or you can munch on it just like a fruit.
Avocados are rich in mono-saturated fatty acids, which prevent blood sugar levels from spiking too high. Therefore, it is best to save this as an after-lunch snack. However, avocados are high in their calorie content, so one-fourth or half an avocado should suffice for a single person.
An easy way to make it into a full-on meal is to turn it into the Spanish delicacy, ‘guacamole’. Mashed avocado, finely chopped tomatoes, and onions, with just a pinch of salt, can take an ordinary fruit and turn it into a gourmet dip.
6. Wholegrain Crackers with Cream Cheese
These “cracker sandwiches” are just a layer of cream cheese between two crackers, but they are absolutely scrumptious. Easy to whip up, this snack has tons of health benefits.
The fat in the cheese and the fiber in the crackers control the sugar levels from spiking. The fat from dairy products usually slows down the digestion of carbs so that less glucose released into the bloodstream. It also encourages production and release of hormones that help lower blood sugar levels.
However, most cracker companies manufacture them to be full of carbs only. Hence, it is important to do your research well and choose crackers that are made with a 100 percent whole-grain only. Otherwise, this snack can do more harm than it is worth.
7. Apples with Nut Butter
Plain fruits can get boring as snacks for diabetes. My grandmamma hated eating only fruits; therefore we had to come up with innovative things that pair well with fruits just so that she would eat them. In this process, my mum discovered nut butter. Almonds, peanuts, and even macadamia nuts could be ground up to make creamy, delicious butter that is high in their mineral contents and contain less trans-fat as well. This is healthy and one of the best snacks for diabetics.
Sliced apples with peanut butter became our new favorite. The apples fulfilled the required vitamins in her diet and the nut butter supplied her with energy and vitamin E.
Apples also contain antioxidants that protect pancreatic cells from further damage and can bring blood sugar levels to normal in the long term.
8. Cottage Cheese
A balanced meal by itself, cottage cheese can be turned into sweet or savory as the tongue wishes. A well-known source of proteins for vegetarians, it is also rich in vitamins and minerals like calcium, vitamin B12, and selenium.
Due to its high protein content, it’s also considered as blood glucose-lowering food, which makes it an ideal and snack for diabetes.
A uniquely versatile ingredient, cottage cheese tastes great with anything and everything. You could grill it, barbecue it with some sauce, cook it in gravy, or chop it into pieces and enjoy it with just a little seasoning. You could even crumble it as a topping on that sweet potato toast we learned about earlier. (Sneaky self-reference right there)
9. Homemade Energy Cubes
These homemade energy cubes are perfect for snacking on the go. They are convenient to carry and can be stored easily. Since we aim to make them especially as best snacks for diabetics, the key ingredients should preferably contain large amounts of proteins, fiber, and required fats.
A protein-rich food is known to act as blood-glucose-lowering agents, like pecan nuts, walnuts or almonds. Fiber content slows the digestion of carbohydrates. Fiber is found in large quantities in chia seeds and flax seeds. Healthy fats required as a solvent for certain vitamins and as an alternative source for energy because carbs are not ideal for a diabetic. This can be found in any nut butter.
A mixture of these ingredients gives you the perfect snack for diabetes.
10. Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a great source of fiber and proteins. They also considered being involved in avoiding worsening of diabetes. It helps in the manufacture of sugar dissolving hormones from the pancreas which reduces blood glucose levels.
A great way is to roast them in olive oil and flavor it with thyme, rosemary, oregano or barbeque seasoning. This way you can also increase the required fat content and thus make it more beneficial as a snack for diabetes.
Diabetes is a life-long battle and the ones suffering from it have to place a great many restrictions on their food habits. Even though health is important, people often forget that their food can still be delicious, even if it is diabetes-conscious. It is important to live life no matter your medical situation, and the only way to live life is to enjoy it. So enjoy your food, your life, and your exercise. That makes for an amazing life. Cheers to that!
Tips for Diabetic Patients
- Choose healthier carbohydrates
- Reduce salt intake
- Try eating less red and processed meat
- Consume more veggies and fruits, minerals and vitamins
- Go for healthier fats
- Cut down on excess sugar
- Shift to low or zero-calorie sweeteners/artificial sweeteners
- Watch your food portions
- Keep an eye on your weight
- Go for healthy snacks
- Avoid binge alcohol drinking
- Be physically active