If you have diabetes, then you are likely familiar with hypoglycemia. When your blood sugar levels drop quickly and too much, it causes a range of symptoms that can sometimes even be dangerous or fatal. When it comes to keeping your glucose levels stable throughout the day, keeping a few snacks on hand is useful. While snacks can help, it is still important to consider what you are snacking on and monitor your blood sugar levels to avoid hyperglycemia. We take a closer look at how you should use snacks between meals to help with your diabetes management strategy.
The Best Type Of Snacks For Diabetics
When it comes to eating snacks as a diabetic, you do need to be careful about what you decide to eat. There are both healthy and unhealthy snacks, which is something you need to keep in mind when you choose what to pack into your lunchbox for the day.
While it’s important to ensure you carry some glucose tablets or hard candy with you for times when your glucose levels fall, these should not become regular snacks that you have between meals. If you consume too many sugary foods, then your snacks can cause your blood glucose levels to rise too much. This can lead to hyperglycemia, which can cause an increase in urination, thirst, blurry vision, and make you feel weak and tired.
When you choose snacks to pack, as a diabetic, you should focus on slowly releasing nutrients. This includes healthy fats and protein, as well as fiber. There is no need to cut carbs completely out of your diet, but when you do choose a snack that has carbohydrates, make sure it also contains a good amount of fiber.
Here are some ideas that you can use to prepare snacks:
- Jerky that is made from turkey. Make sure it is a low-fat variety.
- A couple of baby carrots.
- Peanut butter or another nut butter on some whole wheat crackers.
- An apple with some peanut butter.
- A salad made with carrot sticks, celery, and a few sweet peppers.
- A piece of lettuce with some cheese and roasted chicken.
- A few pieces of roasted turkey.
There are also some sweet treats that you can use as snacks when your sweet tooth kicks in. These can still give you that sweet taste without causing too much of an impact on your blood glucose levels:
- Applesauce that does not contain added sugar
- Chia seed pudding sweetened with stevia
- High cacao content chocolate mousse
- Keto-friendly energy bars
- A couple of frozen grapes
- Greek yogurt topped with a few pieces of fruit
- A bowl with cottage cheese and some fruit
Timing Of Snacks Between Meals
Knowing what snacks to take with you to help you keep your blood glucose levels stable is important, but you also have to understand what the right timing is for snacking. There are a couple of factors that you will have to take into consideration here.
The timing will be highly personalized since the needs of every diabetic are not the same. Consider how long you space your main meals from each other, then consider adding a snack halfway through. For example, if you have breakfast at 7:30 in the morning and lunch at one in the afternoon, then have a snack between 10 and 11.
Glucose monitoring can also help you determine when it is the best time to have a snack. As a diabetic, you already know the importance of blood glucose monitoring. Regularly checking your glucose levels can help to ensure you are able to detect changes and take appropriate action. When you check your glucose levels and they seem lower than they should be, then it is a good time for one of those healthy snacks that you packed.
Recognizing the symptoms of low blood sugar early on is another great strategy for determining the right timing for your snacks. There are several symptoms that can manifest if your blood sugar levels drop below the 70 mg/dL mark. This may include an increase in your heart rate, suddenly starting to sweat, and a shaky feeling. Some people experience a nervous feeling or symptoms related to anxiety when their blood sugar levels fall. Hunger, confusion, irritability, and dizziness are also signs to look out for.
One thing to consider here is that with hypoglycemia, you usually need a faster-acting source of glucose. This is why you should recognize the symptoms quickly and as early as possible. You can then eat your snack and test your glucose levels again after about 15 minutes. When no improvements are seen, consider taking a glucose tablet or sucking on some hard candy to help raise your blood sugar levels.
Are Snacks Essential For Diabetics?
Every person has their likes and dislikes. While some may enjoy having a snack or two throughout the day, it isn’t something that will suit every person who has diabetes. Whether you should consider packing snacks as an essential does depend on the type of diabetes you have.
If you have type 1 diabetes, then your risk of hypoglycemia is often more significant. You should consider at least packing some snacks in case of an emergency. Some people with type 2 diabetes may notice that they are able to keep full and retain stable blood glucose levels when they consume meals rich in healthy fats, fiber, and proteins.
With this said, it is still important to ensure you are prepared for cases where your blood glucose levels experience a sudden change throughout the day. If you do not have a preference for snacks, still keep some candy, honey, or glucose tablets with you.
Having a snack between meals is a great way to keep your blood glucose levels from falling during the day. The problem, however, is that some people turn to sugary foods that do more than just keep their glucose levels stable but rather create hyperglycemia. Use the tips we shared in this post to help you choose the right snacks and timing to prevent these unpleasant complications.