Type 2 Diabetes – Diabetic Snack Tips – One of the many things a newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetic is told is that they need to eat on a regular basis and, depending on your diabetes control, your prescribed meal plan may or may not include snacks. Some people need to snack several times during the day, but not everyone.
Sometimes snacking all day can cause more problems for newly diagnosed Type 2 diabetics who still have a good chance to recover. Why does snacking cause problems? Lets go straight back to the pancreas… without a snack your pancreas has the opportunity to do what it’s supposed to, that is produce another hormone known as glucagon. Glucagon actually tells your liver to release sugar in order to maintain a steady level of sugar in your blood and this keeps you from becoming hypoglycemic. So, your bloodstream gets a snack from your liver and, at the same time, a switch is turned on so you can burn up fat: more specifically triglycerides. If you snack throughout the day you miss out on this. You cause insulin to be released to help digest your snack, and this turns off the production of glucagon.
The main idea behind snacking is to avoid a huge influx of blood sugar followed by an insulin surge. People with long-standing Type 2 diabetes have trouble storing glycogen and this is one of the reasons they need to snack during the day.
Often, people don’t plan ahead and end up eating food that is really not healthy, leading to higher blood sugar levels and weight gain. If you are following an eating plan that includes snacks, by planning your snacks and meals in advance you will avoid the situation of having your blood sugar go too high or too low.
First, make sure you keep your snacks limited to about 150 calories. Your snack should not become the meal, so they don’t need to be high in calories. This can be something like:
string cheese, or
an apple, peach, or any citrus.
Try to make sure your snacks are balanced just like your meals. So, for instance, you may want to add some nuts to the apple so that you have some protein and some sugar.
Foods rich in fiber make for great snacks also, foods such as:
a green salad with canned kidney beans added,
a three-bean salad with a light salad dressing,
an oat bran muffin,
barley and vegetable soup,
a smoothie made with fruits such as apples, peaches, mango, plums, kiwi, pears and berries.
Keep in mind low-fat snacks are not necessarily healthy. Several years ago, there was the low-fat craze where people were eating supposedly healthy cookies from the grocery store. Unfortunately, often these low-fat meal alternatives are full of sugar. Since sugar is not fat, it doesn’t add to the fat gram count. But excess amounts convert to fat in your body, as well as spike your blood sugar level.
You might want to consider buying single serving snack bags at the grocery store. These little bags will allow you to put just enough food in for a snack sized portion.
Grabbing a small handful of nuts is another way to get a quick snack and keep your blood sugar stable. An ounce of most nuts will add about 170 calories (with approximately 7 grams carbohydrate and 6 grams protein). You might want to consider almonds, macadamia, hazelnuts, or walnuts, for instance. Just make sure you get the unsalted versions as you don’t want to add too much sodium to your body and cause problems with your blood pressure.
Another great snack idea would be peanut butter on whole-grain crackers. This way, you get a slow acting carb plus a protein.
Raw vegetables and hummus is another great snack you might want to consider. Hummus is full of protein and not very high in fat, while vegetables are always a good source of nutrients and fiber.
Finally, you might want to consider making your own vegetable soup that you can sip on when you become hungry during the day. This is a low-calorie alternative to eating canned soups, and will have only ingredients in it that you know and trust.