Do you get hungry between meals? Snacking is okay, but it’s always best if you choose something healthy to nibble on.
Obviously, cookies, pretzels and chips are not healthy. Sure, they may be cheap and convenient, but they also carry the price of being high in fats, sugar and sodium, with low levels of fiber and nutrients –the kinds of things you could end up paying for later on.
The next time you’re feeling the urge to snack, here are some tips to keep in mind.
Snacking out of boredom?
There are people who snack out of habit or boredom or because they are stressed. This all adds up to extra calories and makes it difficult to control sugar levels and weight. To prevent mindless snacking, ask yourself whether you really feel hungry or is it your emotions –or even boredom?
Focus on eating
Try not to eat amid distractions, e.g. watching TV, using the PC or when you are in the car. These are situations in which we eat mindlessly. The focus should be on eating mindfully.
It is important for you to know how your body reacts to carbohydrates and insulin. The carbohydrates are converted into glucose at a faster rate in diabetics. In order to prevent your blood sugar from dropping too low or going too high, you should know the carbs you are taking in and get your dietician to advise you on your snacks and meal plan. Bread, rice, some fruits, pasta and cereal are all high-carb foods to be mindful of.
If you take insulin or other medication that has an effect on the production of insulin, your blood glucose level might fall at night or after working out. To prevent this from happening, you should have a snack before exercising or going to sleep. But, before you have a snack, check your blood glucose level. You might not even need a snack or you should avoid it altogether.
Have an appropriate sized snack
In order to correct the glucose level, snacks should be in proportion to the blood sugar level. The snacks should not add unnecessary calories to the meal plan. If your blood sugar falls slightly, have a small, low-carb snack. However, if there is a noticeable drop in blood sugar, have a larger, high-carb snack that has an immediate impact, such as juice.
Those who are at a risk of high blood sugar should choose snacks that have low carb content and high fiber or protein to avoid a rise in blood sugar. The portion size that is recommended for a snack is 15-20g of carbohydrates with a little amount of fiber and the total calories should be a maximum of 150. Fiber slows down the carbohydrate absorption and controls the sugar level. You can choose to have an apple or orange, 3 cups of popcorn or 15 almonds for a snack.
There are a variety of things that you can choose from when it comes to snacking. Vegetables, whole grains, low dairy fat, fruits, nuts and seeds are all healthy choices. Substitute unhealthy snacks with healthy ones. For example, swap two ounces of potato chips, sour cream and onion dip with 3 cups of popcorn. Substitute a candy bar with a quarter cup of dry roasted nuts. Have baked tortilla chips with guacamole instead of fried tortilla chips with nacho cheese. Rather than having an ice cream bar, have half a frozen banana.
Use smaller plates and bowls
An important thing to note is that we eat more when the size of the container or plate is big. To avoid ending up having the amount of calories that a meal has, take a smaller bowl or plate for snacking. Also, take time while eating and enjoy the snack.
You don’t have to snack
It is not necessary to include snacks in your diet if you have Diabetes. Some people have three meals a day and don’t get hungry in between and they do just fine. If you are going to snack, do it right!