We are all working from home, within inches of the snack cabinet, and it’s murder on your efforts to eat healthily, lose weight, or keep blood sugar low (since spikes lead to insulin surges lead to storing fat, leads to weight gain).
In honor of National Diabetes Awareness Month, we asked a nutritionist who understands the need for snacks that help keep blood sugar low and weight gain at bay, to recommend her best snacks for healthy living. We need major satisfaction with minor damage to our efforts to stay healthy, fit and not gain weight. Here are her 5 best snacks to munch on when stuck working from home.
“For anyone trying to keep their weight down or who is dealing with diabetes or pre-diabetes, the best snack combination is one that is higher in fiber, lean protein and or healthy fat,” says Toby Smithson, MS, RDN, Diabetes Lifestyle Expert, “These combinations will help reduce the chance of spiking blood sugar levels. Portion size matters, so watch the portions and continue to monitor your blood sugar levels before the snack and two hours after to see how that snack affects your blood sugar.”
The 5 Best Snacks to Eat Healthy, Keep Blood Sugar Low, and Feel Satisfied
1. “Caramel” Apple: We can easily prepare our own diabetes-friendly version of an old-time favorite the caramel apple by replacing the high carbohydrate caramel with almond butter. Slice an apple into wedges and spread crunchy almond butter on one side.
Nutrition benefit: Swapping out caramel for almond butter lowers the number of carbohydrates and increases the fiber in your snack. Studies have shown that almonds do not spike blood glucose levels and keep us feeling full and satisfied.
2. Flavored Popcorn: Place ¼ cup popcorn kernels in a medium bowl; cover bowl with a microwavable plate and microwave on high setting for 2 ½ -3 minutes. Carefully remove the hot bowl of popcorn and sprinkle with a combination of spices. For sweet flavors use ground cinnamon and a teaspoon of low-calorie sweetener; for a pizza flavor, sprinkle popcorn with oregano, garlic, and basil; for a spicy flavor use chili powder and cumin.
Nutrition Benefit: Popcorn is a whole grain, which also contains fiber. The fiber in whole grains has been shown to improve blood sugar, weight, and cholesterol as part of diabetes management.
3. Almonds, Raw or Salted: Almonds alone make for a great diabetes-friendly snack. No recipe required for these plant-based nutrition-packed snacks.
Nutrition Benefit: Ounce for ounce, almonds are the tree nut with the most fiber (4g) and offer 6 grams of plant protein in every healthy handful. Nuts have been shown to improve hemoglobin A1C (your 3-month average blood sugar range) results when they are used as a replacement of carbohydrate-containing foods.
4. Sweet and Savory Combo: Combine 17 frozen grapes and 23 almonds in a bowl for a quick sweet and savory portion-controlled snack.
Nutrition Benefit: Almonds contain fiber, protein, and healthy monounsaturated fat. This nutrient makeup has the potential to keep you satisfied and even give you steady blood sugar for the next meal.
5. Roasted Spicy Chickpeas: rinse and dry canned chickpeas, lay on a cookie sheet, drizzle one teaspoon of olive oil on top, and add spices to taste (suggested: 1/4 teaspoon turmeric, 1/4 teaspoon cumin, 1/4 teaspoon red pepper flakes),
Nutrition Benefit: High in fiber and plant protein offering improved blood sugar and reduced risk of cardiovascular disease.
Toby Smithson is a Diabetes Lifestyle Expert, founder of DiabetesEveryDay.com, and co-author of Diabetes Meal Planning and Nutrition for Dummies.