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Nutrition basics

Nutrition basics

Smart snacking

What makes the right kind of snack? Read on to find out.

 

Regular snacks are important to help you control your blood sugar levels and manage your diabetes. Registered dietitians recommend having a snack between meals if your meals are more than four to six hours apart.1 Just as with meals, there are certain snacks that are healthier than others. You can eat almost anything people without diabetes do, but what’s key is the amount you eat and amount of carbohydrates you eat. Following a few tips can help you snack smartly:

  • Snacks should contain about 15 grams of carbohydrate, in addition to fibre and/or protein.
  • Limiting carbohydrates in your snacks is important because they raise your blood glucose. Be sure to monitor the amount of carbs you’re eating in meals and snacks. Get the 101 on carbs.
  • Fibre-rich snacks are great because they help slow the rise of blood glucose levels, improve cholesterol and keep you feeling full.2 Enjoy snacks like whole grain crackers, high fibre cereal and vegetables and fruit.
  • Protein also helps you feel full longer, without raising blood glucose.1 Some healthy protein snacks are boiled eggs, cheese strings, nuts and nut butters. Keep in mind that nuts are high in fat, so keep your portions small.
  • Read the nutrition label when choosing snacks to check the amount of carbohydrate, protein and fibre.
  • Control your portions. Get individual-sized snacks like granola bars or individual yogurts to avoid mindless munching.
  • Snack only when hungry. Try not to snack when you’re bored or stressed.
  • Plan ahead. Keep snacks on hand for easy and healthy snacking on the go.

Here are a few quick and healthy snack ideas:1,2

  • Handful of unsalted nuts
  • Small piece of fruit
  • Raw veggies with a low-fat dip
  • Low-fat and low-sugar yogurt
  • A few whole-grain crackers with low-fat cheese or a hard-boiled egg
  • A slice of whole-wheat toast with a tablespoon of peanut or almond butter

Snacking may have a bad rap, but it’s a good thing. It helps you control your blood glucose levels and limit your portions at meals by curbing your appetite. Just keep a few things in mind to help you snack smart and manage your diabetes.

References:

  1. Kraft Canada. Smart snacking for people with diabetes. Available at: http://www.kraftcanada.com/healthy-living/diabetes-articles/smart-snacking-for-people-with-diabetes. Accessed Sept 28, 2013.
  2. Canadian Diabetes Association. Eating away from home. Available at: http://guidelines.diabetes.ca/CDACPG/media/documents/patient-resources/eating-away-from-home.pdf. Accessed Sept 28, 2013.
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