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  • Writer's pictureJulie Hagan

Tips for Snacking for Type 2 Diabetes

Ask yourself these questions:

  • Do you plan ahead for the foods that you will feel good about snacking on?

  • Do you shop for the foods you planned to and resist grabbing the tempting foods that manufacturers want you to buy?

  • Do you put the good stuff in a place where you’ll see it? 

  • Do you snack mindfully, savoring the taste, texture and break? 

“Snacks” in the US are often synonymous with “treats”. While treats historically meant foods eaten rarely and savored, today snacks are everywhere.  Manufacturers have capitalized on  our love of convenient,  crunchy, salty, and sweet foods and design snacks that are hard to resist. But those snacks are often sources of guilt and extra calories, salt, and saturated fats. They can be a  backdoor way to make us feel worse physically and emotionally.It is not to say that there is not a place for tasty low-nutrient snacks, but for everyday munching those foods fall short.  

But, snacks have an important role! They hold us over from meal to meal and can provide a nutritional boost to your day. But CHOICES MATTER and there are many options other than the packages of savory crunchiness or sweetness that we often turn to by default. 

4 ways to get control of your snacking

  1. Plan ahead for what you will eat when hunger strikes

  2. Resist buying snacky foods that are high in calories, saturated fat, and sodium. 

  3. Put the good stuff where you’ll see it and the other stuff out of sight.

  4. Take a break and enjoy the food you are eating. 

What to look for in a healthy snack

  • Whole, unprocessed foods that naturally contain fiber, vitamins, and minerals

  • Food that is minimally processed. Highly processed foods are often high in added sugar, sodium, and low in fiber 

  • Food that is not high in sodium (unless you are sweating!) 

  • Foods that have fats that are healthy (polyunsaturated and monounsaturated) 

  • Foods low in saturated fat (saturated fat comes from animal fat, hydrogenated vegetable oil, palm oil, coconut and palm oil) 

  • If you are watching your weight, choose smaller portions or lower calorie foods.

Snack ideas that are great for you

  • Wasa Crackers with Hummus, fresh ground peanut or almond butter

  • Fresh or frozen unsweetened apples, pears, bananas, blueberries, mangos 

  • Leftovers from homemade dinners

  • Nuts, unsalted or lightly salted peanuts, walnuts, pistachios, sunflower seeds

  • Cut up vegetables with hummus 

  • Cut up celery with peanut butter 

  • Whole grain loaf bread or pita bread with leftover chicken, tuna salad, egg salad, peanut, butter, almond butter avocado, or egg prepared any way. 

  • Dried fruit in small calculated portions 

  • Homemade muffins (ideally whole grain)

Different situations call for different kinds of snacks. 

On the go - choose food that are:

Safe at room temperature 

Zero prep 

Not messy

At home - Almost anything goes

At work - take foods that will: 

Save for days, for example, nuts, low fat whole grain crackers with peanut butter 

Fit your storage and refrigeration 

Guideline for Carbohydrate Content of Snacks

Since carbohydrate from all sources raises blood glucose, people with Type 2 Diabetes should also consider the carbohydrate content of snacks . 

  • If it has been less than 2-3 hours after a meal,  limit carbohydrates to about 10 grams

  • If it has been 3-4 hours after a meal,  limit carbohydrates to 10-20 grams. 

I hope this helps you choose healthier snacks. Stay tuned for more information about my Free Live Program,  “5 Steps on How to Eat for Type 2 Diabetes” where you'll get practical tips and actionable advice that will help you eat better for your diabetes. 

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