Snacking And Diabetics Can Co-exist If You Do It Safely
Whether you’re sitting at your desk hard at work, watching television on the couch, or just going about your normal day snacking is an inevitability. It’s easy to just snack on whatever, eating some chips, crackers, or whatever else you happen to have handy simply because it’s there. For diabetics, though, snacking mindlessly can be dangerous to blood sugar management which can throw off your whole day if you’re not careful. Snacking is no longer just about eating what you have handy. When you become diabetic you have to work hard to find a balance in what you’re eating. That doesn’t mean diabetics can’t have snacks, you just have to work a little harder to keep your snacking balanced. Here are some tips for deciding on a diabetic safe snack.
1) Know your snack content.
Some of the most dangerous snacks out there are the ones commonly marketed as “snacks”. That means chips, crackers, and candies are, despite being the most popular and easiest to just eat and forget about, are the ones you have to watch out for the most. Whenever possible try to substitute these snacks with something that has lower carb content. You should also look out for “healthy” pitfalls as well. Fresh fruit can be tasty and healthy on its own, but going overboard or drinking fruit juice can put you in a bind.
2) Check out serving sizes.
Serving sizes are incredibly important for snacking in general, but doubly so for diabetics. By checking out serving sizes it’s possible to make room in your meal plan for snacks you wouldn’t normally think about eating like your favorite chips, provided you make sure you’re not going overboard on fats, calories, and carbs with what you’re eating. On the plus side, there are many proportioned snacks that come in individual bags and are perfect for on the go, but if you can’t find anything like that or don’t like the selection available, feel free to bring your own zipper bags full of portioned snacks with you.
3) Follow your plan.
The most important part of eating as a diabetic is having a plan to follow that you can look over and count on as you go about your day. Even if it’s not “this is exactly what I’m having for breakfast, lunch, and dinner” marked down to a T, you should have a list of how many carbs and calories you plan on allotting to each meal or time of day. Then if you find you have a little bit of wiggle room, you can fit in some healthy snacking that’s not going to throw off your balance. Just make sure that you stay aware of how much you’re eating and don’t go over your self-imposed limits.
Being a diabetic doesn’t mean that your snacking days are over, it just means that you have to be a little smarter about it than you did before. Watch your portions, always read serving sizes, and be sure to test your blood sugar regularly and snacking won’t ever be a problem for you.
4 Diabetes Safe Snacks for Weight Loss
When you’re a diabetic it might seem like the world of food for you has become an endless sea of red flags and stop signs. The average person’s daily diet usually doesn’t take much planning or thought, but then again they’re not looking out for their blood sugar and trying to find a healthy balance to lose weight to improve their health. One of the toughest parts of a diabetic diet is finding foods that are safe to snack on simply because so many “normal” snacks are unhealthy and dangerous for diabetics. Don’t fret though, here’s a list of five great diabetic friendly snacks that will help you lose weight as well.
You might not think it sounds too healthy to begin with, but popcorn can be a great snack for diabetics when properly portioned. Popcorn, especially the butter/fat free kinds and especially homemade popcorn, is incredibly high in fiber and also quite filling as well. Feel free to flavor lightly with salt and/or garlic powder for a tasty, filling, high fiber snack that you can eat fresh or portion into baggies for a snack on the go.
2) Fresh Veggies
Whenever you hear about losing weight it seems like the top tip is always to fit a ton of veggies into your diet and it’s true, vegetables are a great healthy option if you want to eat something tasty that’s also good for you. Sliced fresh vegetables are great on their own or even better with a flavorful low fat dressing or yogurt dip to add a little extra flavor to that crunch.
3) Cottage Cheese and Fruit
Cottage cheese is a great choice for diabetics due to its low carb content and high protein values. If you’re looking to add a little bit of extra flavor to your cottage cheese try lightly peppering it. Even better is adding a little bit of fruit like a small sliced banana or nectarine, splashing in a little bit of sweetness that without adding a ton of carbs and fats to your snack.
4) Rice Cakes
Rice cakes a rea lot like popcorn in that they’re a light, airy, and filling snack that doesn’t carry a lot of carb weight with it. As an added bonus, they’ve got a bit of fiber in them which helps to make them a balanced snack that goes great with (unexpectedly tasty) flavorful low fat toppings like salsa.
Having a healthy snack available is a great way to help curb your appetite without blowing up your blood sugar. Consider keeping some of these around for the next time you get hungry but don’t want to worry about going overboard on carbs or calories.
A Short Diabetic’s Guide to Eating Out
When you first find out that you’ve got diabetes the world can seem a very scary place. Watching everything you eat and looking out for scary, dangerous foods that used to be safe or that you might be used to eating can be a bit of a jarring change and, at least at first, you’re going to have to be hyper vigilant against slipping up and falling into your old eating habits. Of course you should never fully fall back into the eating habits that earned you diabetes in the first place, but you shouldn’t think that you can never do something as simple as eating out anymore. Like the rest of diabetes, eating out is a balancing act and, with practice, can be something you can approach with confidence.
Like any diabetic meal planning, the first thing you should do when you’re deciding on what to eat while you’re out is have a good, hard look at the menu. Of course this is something you should do any time you eat (diabetic or not) but it’s particularly important when everything that goes into your body can have a major impact on your health and how you feel. If you’ve seen a nutritionist and you know what healthy goals, limits, and values for your weight and body are then you can make a more informed decision on what you should be ordering.
For fast food-y type places there’s generally a menu available (though more and more fast food restaurants are listing calorie and carb facts right on the board menu!) where you can check up on the quick facts of everything they have. If they don’t have one readily available try asking a manager if they have nutrition facts for their foods. If you still can’t find anything in store and you’re dead set on eating there, there are likely tons of resources available online. You can find the nutritional facts for thousands of popular fast food places online, making it easy to pick a safe and healthy(-ish) option in a pinch.
For more formal “sit-down” type restaurants it can be a little more difficult to get nutrition information about their meals, unless said restaurant is really on top of their customer service game. This is where it’s up to you to make healthy decisions for yourself. Try to remember the easy basics of healthy eating while making food choices. For example, skip the soda or alcoholic drink in favor of something healthier like a diet (if you have to have tour soda fix), coffee, or even just water which keeps you hydrated to boot. You also might want to pass on pre-meal snacks like chips and salsa or bread/breadsticks as well because they’re just empty carbs and will fill you up before your meal anyways. If you’re worried, make sure to test your blood sugar before/after you eat just to track how your meal is affecting you.
As a diabetic eating out doesn’t necessarily have to become a long dead ghost of your pre-diabetic life. All it really means is watching your food, making smart choices, and balancing your meals with your new dietary restrictions.