High blood sugar levels are bad news for your body, so you have to choose carefully when it comes to selecting snacks. High-fiber, slowly digested, healthy snacks will curb your hunger while producing a steady release of blood sugar to help control diabetes. Just remember to balance those snacks with your meals so you're not adding excessive calories to your day (which would mean more blood sugar than your system needs). Here are seven smart and delicious snack ideas to quell the munchies while keeping blood sugar steady.
- Walnuts - Nuts are high in protein, fiber and unsaturated fat, which means they're not only nutritious but slowly digested, too. Research suggests that nuts also may boost insulin sensitivity - a nice bonus, particularly for people managing diabetes. In one study, regularly eating walnuts seemed to improve endothelial function in people with diabetes. This is great because endothelia - the cells lining your arteries - are one of the first things to suffer when high blood sugar begins to wreak havoc in the body.
- Whole-grain crackers - The fiber in whole-grain crackers slows digestion and leads to a steadier release of blood sugar. To feel full longer, smear the crackers with some heart-healthy peanut butter. Top those peanut butter crackers with a dash of cinnamon, and you've got a real diabetes-friendly gourmet treat. Studies show that cinnamon may help tamp down blood sugar levels.
- Avocado with balsamic - When you're in the mood for a luscious snack, slice an avocado in half, remove the pit and drizzle with balsamic vinegar. Spoon each bite right out of the skin and enjoy. If you have diabetes, you can't go wrong with avocado because of its high fiber and healthy fat content - both of which help steady blood sugar. Avocados are also loaded with potassium, a mineral that aids nerve function to help prevent diabetic neuropathy.
- Sweet potato fries - Baked sweet potato fries, not the deep fried kind, are a super-healthy choice for people concerned about their blood sugar. Sweet potatoes may help stabilize blood sugar and lower insulin resistance. Sweet potatoes have a lower glycemic index than other spuds, which helps soften their impact on your blood sugar. Research shows that their high carotenoid content may be particularly useful in the blood sugar battle when it comes to managing diabetes.
- Apple and pear slices - Juicy, crunchy, fresh and low-calorie fruit is always a smart choice for the health-conscious nibbler with diabetes. Your blood sugar will be best served if you opt for fruits that are high in fiber, like apples and pears. Thanks to the fiber, they'll fill you up without sending your blood sugar levels soaring.
- Plain yogurt - The calcium and vitamin D combo in yogurt may help prevent insulin resistance, which is a great thing if you're worried about chronically high blood sugar. The calcium in dairy foods like yogurt may hinder the absorption of fat from the small intestine and stymie the birth of new fat cells - good news for your waistline if you need to trim some belly fat. For a snack to best manage diabetes, choose low-fat or fat-free unsweetened yogurt. Top it with fruit for a naturally sweet treat or use it in place of sour cream in veggie dips.
- Popcorn - Low-fat popcorn cooks up in a snap and it's packed with slowly digested whole-grain fiber as well as disease-thwarting antioxidants, making it perfect for people concerned about blood sugar and diabetes. Because popcorn is so light and fluffy, you'll fill up on fewer calories than you would with more energy-dense snacks like potato chips. Air-popped popcorn is great, but you also can drizzle it with olive oil for a healthier alternative to butter.