Quick Tips: Smart Snacking When You Have Diabetes

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When you have type 2 diabetes, you need to manage the amount of carbohydrate you eat. Carbohydrate is found in sugar and sweets, bread, rice, pasta, fruit, starchy vegetables, and milk and yogurt. It's important to spread the carbohydrate you eat across many smaller meals during the day, instead of just three big meals. That's where snacking comes in.

Aim to eat 6 times a day, with 3 of those times being snacks. Follow your body's hunger and fullness signals. Smart snacking can help you keep your blood sugar levels stable, especially if you are taking pills (oral medicine) or insulin.

Try these tips:

  • Make healthy choices. Eat a piece of fresh fruit. Or combine that fruit with some protein, such as a small apple and a tablespoon of peanut butter. Or try dipping your fruit in some light yogurt.
  • Be prepared. Keep cut-up raw vegetables in your refrigerator. If these are ready to eat, you're more likely to grab them than something else. Try a low-fat dip on the side.
  • Eat nuts. Try a handful of almonds, walnuts, or pecans. These treats each have less than 15 grams of carbohydrate.
  • Choose filling foods that can satisfy your hunger without a lot of calories. Try a hard-boiled egg or an ounce of reduced-fat cheese, such as string cheese.
  • Skip high-fat dips. Instead, mix plain yogurt, fat-free mayonnaise, cottage cheese, or fat-free sour cream with a small amount of dry soup mix. Or try a bean dip made with fat-free refried beans, topped with salsa.
  • Get more fiber. Put that turkey sandwich on whole wheat bread. Mix wheat germ into yogurt or sprinkle it on salads. Choose whole-grain breads and cereals.
  • Try something new. Make a pita pizza with a piece of whole wheat pita bread, tomato sauce, and a sprinkling of reduced-fat cheese. Top with sliced zucchini or mushrooms. Bake until cheese is melted. Enjoy!

And remember:

  • Don't eat out of the bag or box. Take a single serving, and eat from a plate or bowl. It's easy to eat more than you need or want when the bag is open in front of you.
  • Don't buy snacks that aren't healthy choices. If unhealthy snacks aren't around, you won't eat them.

Credits

Author Deborah Dakins
Editor Katy E. Magee, MA
Associate Editor Michele Cronen
Primary Medical Reviewer Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer Alan C. Dalkin, MD - Endocrinology
Last Updated October 12, 2009

Last Updated: October 12, 2009

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