Diabetes Forecast

Smart Snacking

Making between-meal eating count

By Robyn Webb, MS, LN , ,

It may seem like a bad idea to eat small snacks during the day when you're trying to lose weight or keep your blood glucose steady, but the opposite is often true. That is, if you're smart about snacking. Vending machine fare like chips and cookies may satisfy an immediate craving, but they won't keep you full for long. (And reaching the point of fullness with junk food is going to cost you a lot of calories, fat, and sugar.) Not only that, but many packaged snack foods are high in carbohydrates, which will raise your blood glucose between meals.

The smarter option: fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy. They'll fill you up on fewer calories without causing major blood glucose spikes. In fact, eating foods like these can stop you from being too hungry at your next meal. Just keep an eye on carbs and calories. The best part? You can make most snacks ahead of time, so healthy eating is as easy as grab and go.

The Idea

Snacks don't have to be synonymous with junk food. A good snack when you're managing diabetes is almost like a mini meal: a combination of low-fat or nonfat protein and complex carbohydrates.

The Tips

Freeze It

One of the easiest snacks to make and keep in the house is frozen fruit. Grapes are the classic example: Choose a seedless variety and freeze them in a plastic bag until solid. You can cube a mango and freeze it the same way. Or try this: Stick a peeled small banana in a plastic bag and freeze it overnight until solid. Remove it from the freezer and allow it to soften for 5 minutes. Wrap a napkin around the bottom and eat the banana like an ice pop.

With a little more effort, you can have Banana Soft Serve: Slice the frozen banana and place it in a blender or food processor with half a cup of plain nonfat yogurt or nonfat ricotta cheese, plus a dash of no-calorie sweetener. Blend and serve.

Spread It

Spreads are a simple way of combining two foods (usually, something "proteiny" and something "carby") into one great snack. A typical choice might be a couple of tablespoons of hummus spread over celery stalks, endive leaves, or zucchini spears. You can use nut butters the same way.

Or try our Graham Sandwich: Spoon 2 tablespoons of sugar-free, reduced-fat frozen yogurt (your choice of flavor) onto 1 square graham cracker. Top with another graham cracker, and press down lightly. Eat immediately.

Dip It

If you've only ever had onion dip, you're in for a treat with these two ideas. Veggies and fruit never had it so good!

Ricotta & Strawberries: Mix together 2 tablespoons nonfat ricotta cheese with half a teaspoon of honey and half a teaspoon of mini chocolate chips. Serve with a half cup of halved strawberries.

Greek Yogurt Dip: Mix 1 cup of plain nonfat Greek-style yogurt with half a teaspoon each of ground cumin, coriander, and chili powder, one-eighth teaspoon of ground ginger, 2 tablespoons of lime juice, and 1 teaspoon of honey. Serve with raw or blanched vegetables such as cauliflower and carrots or with 1 ounce of baked pita chips.

Banana Soft Serve
Serves 1
Serving Size: 1 cup

Nutrition Facts
Fruit exchanges 1.5
Fat-free milk exchanges 0.5
Amount per Serving
Calories 155
Calories from Fat 5
Total Fat 0.5 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 80 mg
Potassium 635 mg
Total Carbohydrate 33 g
Dietary Fiber 3 g
Sugars 21 g
Protein 7 g
Graham Sandwich
Serves 1
Serving Size: 1 mini sandwich

Nutrition Facts
Carbohydrate exchanges 1
Amount per Serving
Calories 85
Calories from Fat 20
Total Fat 2 g
Saturated Fat 0.6 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 95 mg
Potassium 50 mg
Total Carbohydrate 16 g
Dietary Fiber 1 g
Sugars 8 g
Protein 2 g
Ricotta & Strawberries
Serves 1
Serving Size: 3/4 cup

Nutrition Facts
Carbohydrate exchanges 1
Amount per Serving
Calories 65
Calories from Fat 10
Total Fat 1 g
Saturated Fat 0.3 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 10 mg
Sodium 25 mg
Potassium 160 mg
Total Carbohydrate 11 g
Dietary Fiber 2 g
Sugars 9 g
Protein 4 g
Greek Yogurt Dip
Serves 4
Serving Size: 1/4 cup

Nutrition Facts
Fat-free milk exchanges 0.5
Amount per Serving
Calories 40
Calories from Fat 0
Total Fat 0 g
Saturated Fat 0 g
Trans Fat 0 g
Cholesterol 0 mg
Sodium 30 mg
Potassium 175 mg
Total Carbohydrate 5 g
Dietary Fiber 0 g
Sugars 4 g
Protein 6 g

The Recipes

Kale Chips

Dijon and Horseradish Deviled Eggs

Popcorn Fun



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