Snacking with Diabetes

Thursday 1 October 2015

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Cuting out sugary foods and high fat snacks is an important way to improve your diet and help maintain good blood glucose levels.  It helps to have alternatives available when you are feeling that urge to snack on something or when your levels dip and you just don't have time to make a meal. Having alternatives at the ready and achieving a balance are really important for long term success!  It's okay to have an occasional sweet treat, but in all reality, those need to be kept at a minimum, and it's best to develop a taste for nutritionally sound snacks.

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Nuts and Seeds not sweets

A balanced diet shouldn't contain things like candy on a daily basis.  Make your calories count in a positive way.  Eating candy bars etc. encourage weight gain and have very little nutritional value.   A far better choice would be dried fruits, seeds or nuts. You can make up your own mix of nuts by combining your favourites and then roasting them in a slow oven for about 15 minutes.   You can then store them in an airtight jar for snacking convenience.   You could add a clove of minced garlic to them and some herbs prior to roasting for additional flavour.

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Fruits and Vegetables

Easy to eat fruits and vegetables are a delicious alterative to sugary salty snacks.  For family parties you could add mini whole grain bread sticks and potato wedges roasted in their skins.

-Baby carrots, courgette sticks, cauliflower florets, etc. are all good either on their own or with a tasty low fat dip.
- Pysalis, grapes and mandarine orange segments are juicy and delicious with plain yogurt with a sprinkling of chopped nuts.
- Small bananas, strawberries, stoned halved plums and apricots are great and make good lunch box inclusions
-Dried apricot halves are good served with low fat soft cheese and toasted walnuts
-Homemade or purchased oatcakes spread with low fat soft cheese and topped with a dried apple ring

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Veggies and fresh yogurt dip

Raw vegetables are rich in minerals, vitamins, and enzymes. The yogurt adds protein to help stabilize blood sugar and curb hunger pangs, and provides calcium for strong bones. Cut some fresh veggies such as carrots, celery, or broccoli into dipping-size pieces to measure 1/2 cup. (Prepare extra veggies in advance and keep in small, serving-size storage containers in the fridge for another day.) Create a simple, healthy dip by stirring together one 8-ounce carton of plain nonfat yogurt, 2 teaspoons of minced fresh dill weed (or 1 teaspoon dried dill weed), 1 teaspoon fresh lemon juice, 1/8 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serving size: 1/2 cup veggies and 2 tablespoons of dip.

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Small sandwiches can also make a good snack, especially for children who are diabetic.  You can cut them into little fingers or quarters.  Use whole meal bread spread with soft cheese or homemade sugar free nut butters.    You can slice whole meal French baguettes crosswise into rounds and make small round sandwiches or open sandwiches.

- Make mini wraps by spreading whole wheat tortilla wraps with savoury or sweet fillings, rolling them up and then cutting into sections.  (Banana and sugar free peanut butter are fab!)
-Slices of whole wheat French bread spread with soft cheese and a thick layer of roasted sunflower, pumpkin and sesame seeds on top.
-Vegetable Pancakes are great.  Add chopped spring onions, chives, grated carrots, etc. to the batter prior to cooking.  Then spread with some low fat soft cheese or other filling, roll up an cut into slices.
-Sliced or mashed banana or dried fruits mixed with toasted nuts and low fat soft cheese also make tasty sandwich filling alternatives.

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Black bean salad

Black beans are high in both fiber and protein, which help stabilize blood sugar and curb hunger pangs. Fiber can also help lower cholesterol. Tomatoes and other veggies add a variety of important nutrients as well as fiber. Rinse a 15-ounce can of lowest-sodium black beans under running water and drain well. Mix the beans in a medium bowl with 1/2 cup chopped fresh tomatoes, 1/2 cup chopped cucumber or celery, 1/2 cup chopped green-bell pepper, and 1/4 cup peeled, cubed avocado. Stir in 2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice, 1 clove minced fresh garlic (or 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder), 1/8 teaspoon salt, and freshly ground black pepper to taste. Serving size: 1/2 cup salad.

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Crunchy Snacks

I don't know about you, but I enjoy a bit of a crunch when it comes to snacking.  It is possible to still get that satisfaction but in a healthy way.

- Cut wholemeal French Sticks into thin slices, rub with a peeled and cut garlic cloves on both sides and then spread them out onto a baking sheet.   Bake in the oven at 160*C/325*F/gas mark 3 for about 20 minutes until crisp and lightly browned.  Rub again with a cut garlic cloves and cool on a wire rack before storing in an airtight container.  This are good as nibbles or with dips or pate.
- Plain or seeded bagels, sliced very thinly and baked in the same way are also very good.
- Slice potatoes, or sweet potatoes (skin on) into very thin slices, toss with just a tiny bit of oil and some seasoning and spread out in a single layer on a plate.  Pop into the microwave on high for two minutes, flip over and repeat.  Continue to do this until they are starting to brown and crisp.  Voila really low fat potato crisps!

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Apples and cheese

Fruit is an important part of any diet, even for people with diabetes; it provides fiber and other important nutrients. Portion control is important, because fruit is naturally high in sugar. When adding fruit to your meal plan, choose fruits lower in natural sugars, such as berries, melon, and apples, and always choose smaller whole fruits (or cut larger fruits in half). The cheese adds protein to help stabilize blood sugar and curb hunger pangs, and provides calcium for strong bones. Cut and core 1 small apple into 4 wedges. Cut 1 slice of reduced-fat Cheddar cheese into 4 pieces and place on apple wedges. Serving size: 1 apple wedge and 1/4 slice cheese.

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Homemade popcorn

Popcorn is high in fiber, and when made from scratch is an all-natural food without additives and artificial flavorings. Pour 1 tablespoon of mild-flavored oil such as canola into a heavy-bottomed medium-large pot. Cover the bottom of the pot with 1/2 cup of popcorn kernels spread in a thin layer. (If the kernels are too crowded, not all of them will pop.) Cover the pot and heat on medium, shaking the pot every minute or so until all of the kernels have popped. Take care not to cook too long, which could scorch the popped kernels. Sprinkle the popcorn with any of the following: 1/4 teaspoon salt, 1/4 teaspoon garlic powder, 1/4 teaspoon allspice, or 1 tablespoon grated Parmesan cheese. Serving size: 1 cup.

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Whole-grain crackers, grapes, and cottage cheese

Nutrient-rich whole grains like cracked wheat, whole wheat, rye, and quinoa can lower blood sugar and cholesterol. The cottage cheese adds protein to stabilize blood sugar, curb hunger pangs, and provide calcium for strong bones. Buy your favorite whole-grain crackers, and make sure that the first ingredient is whole-wheat flour or another whole grain, such as rye. (Even if the ingredient list says "wheat flour," it is not a whole-grain food unless it specifies "whole-wheat flour.") Arrange on a small plate 2 crackers, 1/4 cup nonfat cottage cheese, and 1/4 cup grapes. Serving size: 2 crackers, 1/4 cup cottage cheese, and 1/4 cup grapes.

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When all else fails, don't forget the old faithful . . .  a stick of celery spread with some no sugar peanut butter.  And if you really want to go retro sprinkle it with a few sultanas.   Ants on a log!

Just remember, however healthy your snacks are . . .  100 calories or less  is the rule and no more than perhaps two a day.

Hope this helps!


  1. Oh, this was good, Marie! And such YUMMY picture--healthy looks good!! Popcorn has been my snack this week--love popcorn. And an apple with cheese is another favorite. Oh, cottage cheese... mmm... And anything covered with peanut butter is a winner for me too... LOL! VERY much enjoying your healthy ideas shared here... Here's to HAPPY, HEALTHY DAYS!! ((LOVE & HUGS))

    1. Thanks Tracy, I am learning new things every day. It's still very much an uphill battle. I have not felt very well at all the past couple of days. But I am trying! Xoxo

  2. Everything looks great.I love popcorn BTW.Take good care Marie..x

  3. Yes its sure hard went you love lovely food....One must learn to say No NO to one;s self always....wishing you the best oxoxox

  4. Looks like you're taking this diagnosis seriously. That's good. So many people when they hear "borderline" they find all sorts of excuses to blow it off and just to prove themselves right they seem to eat the wrong things more than ever. It's the same anytime anyone is forbidden anything, for some reason our crazy brains want it more than every. Only one thing I see here you need to enjoy, aside from crackers obviously "with moderation" is popcorn. Diabetics can still enjoy popcorn, in fact it has some good qualities to it. But a serving size, with no or very little salt, is 3 cups. That would be fine for me. I don't tend to eat tons of popcorn as I get annoyed when it starts to get stuck in my teeth. Something that I can't STAND, even for 30 seconds...drives me NUTS. I'm one of those people who carry dental floss in their purse, have it at their desk, by their bed (for bedtime snacking of course, I'm too lazy to get up and go to the bathroom), and yes, in the bathroom. Keep up the good work.

    1. Thanks Pam! I did not hear the word borderline. I heard diabetic. So I am taking it seriously! I love popcorn, but it doesn't love me and I can't stand it getting in between my teeth, so I only ever very rarely eat it and when I do it's only a few kernels! xoxo

  5. Homemade popcorn is something I've just discovered this year - in a big way. I always thought homemade popcorn was hard to make and would buy the microwave popcorn with butter. Making popcorn on the stove top is sooo easy, it's super cheap, and you can make it any flavour you want. My absolute favourite is a bit of garlic salt and hot smoked paprika! Just this weekend we heard about and decided to try mixing hot paprika into peanut butter - it's amazing!

    1. You are so right Kiwi. Your version sounds delicious! xo


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