When you have diabetes, one of the things you may struggle with is fluctuating blood sugar levels which is often attributed to large gaps between meals. You may experience hunger pangs despite enjoying 3 full meals throughout the day and the sudden dips in your blood sugar levels may cause irritability, dizziness or weakness. How can you avoid this? Incorporate healthy snacking into your daily diet.
“Choosing healthy snacks can be difficult when you have diabetes. The key is to choose snacks that are high in fibre, protein and healthy fats. These nutrients will help keep your blood sugar levels under control. It’s also important to snack on nutrient-dense foods to avoid unnecessary sugar spikes.” -Dr. Ambrish Mithal, Chairman - Department of Endocrinology and Diabetology, Medanta.
The goal behind snacking is to raise your blood glucose level numbers gradually instead of a sudden spike. This can be attained by pairing a high-fibre carbohydrate with a small amount of protein. The complex carbs will work to increase your blood glucose to a healthy range, while the protein helps to slow this process to a steady pace. This brings about more stabilized glucose numbers and consistent energy levels.
Dahi and fruit is a great way to kick your sweet tooth craving without escalating your blood sugar levels. Dahi is a great source of protein and also contains gut-friendly bacteria. If you do want to have something sweet, then sweeten a bowl of plain dahi and add a handful of fresh fruit to it.
Hummus is becoming quite the popular choice for a dip in India because of its fairly simple recipe. Hummus is traditionally made with chickpeas (kabuli chana), olive oil, and sesame seed paste. It is rich in heart-healthy fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates. Pair a tablespoon of hummus with crunchy high fibre vegetables like cucumbers, carrots or celery for a tasty mid-day snack.
Crackers made from wheat, rye, and oats are a healthy snack that helps in lowering blood glucose and cholesterol levels. Crackers can be consumed as a snack on their own or you can accompany them with dahi (curd) or paneer, to increase nutritional value.
Pulses such as moong and chickpeas are high in protein and fibre which help in controlling blood sugar levels. Add steamed moong sprouts or kabuli channa to a bowl of chopped cucumber, tomatoes and paneer. Sprinkle some salt and add some lemon juice for a quick power-packed snack.
Oatmeal is more than just a breakfast dish. Accompanied by bananas, it is a tasty treat to fill you up and keep your blood sugar levels stable. Opt for steel-cut oats instead of quick-cook oats as they are higher on the glycemic index and a better choice for diabetics. For a quick midday snack, pair oats with bananas and chopped almonds or walnuts for a satisfying serving.
Adding some of these healthy snacks to your diet every day can be extremely beneficial for diabetes management. For a more detailed diet and snack plan, speak to your physician or dietician.