Figuring out the right snack foods in between meals is hard enough for most people, but what if you're one of the 18.8 million people in the United States who have been diagnosed with diabetes? The options may seem even more limited. That's why we've put together a list of 15 diabetic-friendly snacking options based on advice from a few experts.
Lori Kenyon is a certified nutritional consultant, personal trainer, and co-founder of Ritual Cleanse. She was diagnosed early on in her life with a disorder that prevented her from consuming animal protein and has since had to adapt her diet to compensate. Kenyon advises clients to consume snacks which contain no more than 20 grams of carbohydrates and 140 milligrams of sodium per serving, in accordance with American Diabetes Association guidelines.
Stella Metsovas is a certified clinical nutritionist who specializes in food science and human nutrition, with more than 23 years of experience in the field. She is a strong believer in the Paleo-Mediterranean diet and runs a private practice in Los Angeles.
Angela Shelf Medearis is the author of The Kitchen Diva's Diabetic Cookbook and has been featured frequently on The Dr. Oz Show as a guest chef, where she is known simply as The Kitchen Diva. She offers some great general snacking advice from her cookbook:
Portion sizes are key. Keeping the glycemic load down (a measurement of how much food spikes blood glucose levels) means cutting down on portion sizes, since the measurement accounts for the number of grams of carbohydrates per serving of a food item, which of course will increase with portion sizes. Eating huge portions of even healthy snacks can quickly turn them unhealthy.
Snacks between meals can help you reduce portion sizes at main meals and also keep blood sugar levels more stable throughout the day. This can keep you feeling energized and in a good mood as you go about your day.
To help control portion sizes, Medearis suggests using small plates, consuming plenty of water while snacking or during meals, and limiting snacks to 100-calorie portions, when feasible, and otherwise just avoiding the habit of eating out of the package.
It's not just about portion sizes, though. Lisa DeFazio, R.D., host of the diet- and nutrition-focused talk radio show on VoiceAmerica.com, says that a little protein is also key. DeFazio says that "At each snack, protein is critical to slow down blood glucose absorption and prevent sugar spikes."
Will Budiaman is the Recipe Editor at The Daily Meal. Follow him on Twitter @WillBudiaman.