When it comes to healthy eating, snacking often gets a bad reputation. But the truth is that snacking — when done right — can be a useful strategy to help you manage your diabetes and keep your blood sugar levels in check.
Having diabetes means making mindful choices about the foods you eat to prevent blood sugar spikes and dips. Your meals are important, and snacks also play a vital role in maintaining stable blood sugar levels throughout the day.
So which snacks are best? Our team at Endocrine Associates of West Village is here to help you find options that fit your needs. We specialize in diabetes management in Long Island City and New York, New York.
Here’s what you need to know about snacking with diabetes and which snacks to choose to help you stay on track.
Why snacking matters when you have diabetes
Your body converts carbohydrates into glucose (sugar) when you eat. The glucose enters your bloodstream and raises blood sugar levels. Insulin, a hormone your pancreas makes, helps transport glucose from your bloodstream into cells for energy or storage.
When you have diabetes, your body either doesn’t make enough insulin or can’t use insulin effectively, leading to elevated blood sugar levels. Snacking strategically can help you maintain stable blood sugar levels between meals, especially if you’re on insulin or other medications that make your blood sugar fluctuate.
The right snacks can provide a steady energy source and prevent drastic spikes or drops in blood sugar. However, choosing snacks low in added sugars, unhealthy fats, and refined carbohydrates is essential.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a useful tool for understanding how foods affect your blood sugar levels. Foods with a high GI cause rapid spikes in blood sugar, while those with a low GI cause slower, more gradual increases.
Snacks to help manage your blood sugar levels
Incorporating low-GI snacks into your diet can be beneficial in managing your diabetes. A few of our favorite diabetes-friendly snacks include:
Nuts and seeds
Nuts and seeds, like almonds, walnuts, chia seeds, and flaxseeds, are excellent options for snacking. They’re rich in healthy fats, fiber, and protein, which can help stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing down sugar absorption into your bloodstream.
Choose low-GI fruits with edible peels, like berries, cherries, apples, and pears. These fruits are high in fiber, which helps slow down sugar absorption and keeps your blood sugar levels steady.
Vegetables with hummus
Vegetables like carrots, celery, and cucumber paired with hummus make a delicious and nutritious snack. The fiber in the vegetables and the protein in hummus help balance blood sugar levels.
Greek yogurt is a protein-packed snack low in carbohydrates and contains probiotics, which can support gut health. Choose plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt to avoid added sugars.
Whole grain crackers with cheese
Whole-grain crackers paired with low-fat cheese offer a satisfying and balanced snack. The fiber in the crackers and the protein in cheese can help keep blood sugar in check.
Hard-boiled eggs are a portable and protein-rich snack. The protein stabilizes your blood sugar levels and keeps you full between meals.
Plain, air-popped popcorn is a whole-grain snack that’s low in calories and high in fiber. Fiber helps stabilize your blood sugar, making popcorn a satisfying option for those looking to manage their blood sugar between meals.
Remember, portion control is essential. Even though these snacks are healthy choices, consuming large quantities can still affect your blood sugar levels. Always snack in moderation and pair your dietary changes with regular physical activity as part of a comprehensive diabetes management plan.
Our specialists at the Endocrine Associates of West Village Diabetes Center are here to help you find a diabetes management plan that works for you. Schedule an appointment online or call the office nearest you to learn more today.