Being diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes can be scary and intimidating. The good news is that it’s really not all that difficult to build a healthy and delicious diet plan that will keep you safe. The trick, of course, is to find foods that won’t upset your blood sugar levels.
Thankfully, there are many healthy foods that qualify. Let’s take a quick look at a few snack options for people recently diagnosed with type 1 or type 2 diabetes…
1. Whole-Grain Crackers and Cheese
While some foods can actually raise our blood sugar levels and pose a serious threat to diabetics, whole-grain foods—like cracked wheat or whole wheat crackers—can actually lower blood sugar and cholesterol levels.
Adding cheese to the mix provides protein that can stabilize blood sugar and keep hunger pangs at bay for hours. If you’re looking for a healthy alternative, consider using low-fat cheese or cottage cheese. In any case, don’t overdo it on the cheese.
2. Homemade Popcorn
Popcorn gets a bad reputation, but that’s not entirely fair. Yes, popcorn bought in bags at the grocery store or acquired at the local movie theater can be absolutely loaded with salt, fat, even sugar. But popcorn itself—save the various coatings—is actually very high in fiber and rather healthy.
The key is to make your own popcorn from scratch. Most grocery stores carry popcorn kernels, which can be prepared by adding them to a covered pot placed on the stove top. Use a little oil to gently coat some of the kernels, but don’t overdo it. To keep things healthy, use canola or olive oil.
3. Apples and Cheese
No one is exactly sure why they make such a good combination, but it’s hard to disagree that apples and cheese make for a great-tasting one-two punch. And it’s a healthy combo, too! While the apples provide loads of nutrients (like vitamins A and C) and fiber, the cheese is a great source of protein, which can keep us feeling full for hours.
Of course, when it comes to cheese, portion control is important. Try to use low-fat cheddar instead of high-fat creamy cheeses like Camembert or brie.
4. Chips and Salsa
It isn’t often that we recommend chips, but the whole-grain baked variety can actually be an excellent source of fiber. The trick, of course, is to load your chip with homemade salsa packed with fruits and vegetables.
For an awesome salsa, slice, dice and add red and green peppers, tomatoes, black beans, avocado, cilantro, and garlic. To up the flavor even further, add some salt, lemon juice, black pepper and fresh chillies.
5. Black Bean Salad
Vegetarians are often told to replace meat with black beans, which are high in both carbohydrates and protein. They’re also abounding with fiber, which can fend off hunger pangs and keep us going for hours.
For an excellent black bean salad, rinse and add the beans to chopped tomatoes, chopped celery, chopped green pepper, and peeled and cubed avocado. To increase the flavor, add lemon or lime juice, celery salt, garlic powder, and ginger. Overall, it makes for a delicious, low-calories snack that will keep diabetics feeling full for hours.
6. Veggies and Hummus
It’s no surprise that vegetables, which contain virtually no sugar, fat or calories, pose little threat to people with type 1 or type 2 diabetes. But it may be less surprising that hummus – which contains considerable fat and calories – is also a good choice.
But studies featured on Livestrong.com have shown that hummus, which is high in fiber and protein (it’s made of chickpeas, primarily), can help keep blood sugar levels steady. In fact, one 2012 study showed that people who ate at least one cup of legumes each day (chickpeas are a legume) saw their glucose tolerance improve significantly.