For blood glucose control, frequent snacking is important because it:
- Helps improve your metabolism
- Helps prevent over eating at meal
- Helps control blood sugar levels
However, some snack choices may not be ideal for blood glucose (sugar) control. Snacks that are mostly refined carbohydrates, starchy, or high in sugar, will not be beneficial and may increase blood glucose rather quickly. As important as snacking is to one’s health, it’s just as important to make sure that the right choices are being made.
When it comes to smart snacking for blood glucose control, here are some points to keep in mind:
- Include at least two food groups. This will ensure you are getting variety in your macro and micro nutrients. Remember the five food groups? They are protein, grains, vegetables, fruits and dairy.
- One of those food groups should be protein. The protein will help slow down digestion, which in turn will help slow down the release of glucose into the blood, hence resulting in a lower glucose level.
- Choose whole grains. Like protein, that extra fiber will help slow down digestion and the release of glucose into the blood, resulting in a lower glucose level.
- If you are going to choose fruits as one of your food groups, choose fruits with edible skin. Think apples, peaches, plums, pears, as opposed to fruits that are usually peeled like mango, watermelon and kiwi, to name a few. The fiber found in the skin of fruits is called insoluble fiber, which is also the fiber that helps create bulk and push out waste in your digestive system, by way of a bowel movement. So good stuff, right?
- Keep carbohydrate servings to 15-25 grams per snack. If you are unfamiliar with basic carbohydrate counting or reading a food label, feel free to reach out to me. I am happy to help.
So, with all that being said, how do we start to pair some foods to create an optimal snack? Here are some ideas:
- A small apple + 2 tablespoons of peanut butter. A small apple is 15 grams of carbohydrates and is fiber rich. Peanut butter serves as a great serving of protein.
- 1-2 ounces of cheese with 4-6 whole grain crackers.
- Greek yogurt. Per 6 ounces, it offers 20 grams of carbohydrates and 14 grams of protein. And they are delicious. It’s a win-win-win.
- 1/2 cup of almonds and 1 small pear
- 2 ounces of sliced turkey or chicken deli meat and 1 slice of whole grain bread
- 2 brown rice crackers with 2 TBSP of almond butter
- 1/2 cup of hummus with carrot and celery sticks
- 1-2 hard boiled eggs and 1/2 whole grain wrap
- 1 cup chicken salad and 2 whole grain WASA crackers
- Smashed 1/2 avocado with chopped hard-boiled egg whites and 10 tortilla chips
These snacks are so easy to prepare and can be found easily. I hope you find these tips and guidelines helpful in making smarter snack choices to help control your blood sugars.