When living with type II diabetes, choosing the right snacks to fuel the body is key. This very common disease is a chronic condition in which the human body does not properly process blood sugar, called glucose. The 3 million people per year diagnosed with this disease either don’t produce enough insulin, or their body resists it. It increases risk of obesity and heart disease. Common symptoms are excessive thirst or hunger, prolonged healing of wounds, fatigue, and blurred vision.
Traditional treatments are physical exercise and anti-diabetic medication, such as insulin shots, but an easy way to make diabetes more manageable is by maintaining a healthy diabetes diet and choosing the right snacks:
1. Foods low in sugar
Because diabetes usually involves issues caused by high blood sugar, it is important to always be aware of sugar content, and to try and develop a sugar free diet. Some examples of foods found in this diet plan would be whole wheat or pumpernickel bread, sweet potatoes, oatmeal, and yogurt with berries. Fresh fruit is delicious, and provides the body with vitamins and antioxidants, which can lower blood sugar levels, and help the body to metabolize sugar.
2. Foods high in protein
Foods that are high in protein can help the body adapt to burn fat instead of carbohydrates. Protein takes a longer time to digest, which can make one feel fuller. Some great high protein snacks are hard-boiled eggs, nuts such as almonds and pistachios, apples with peanut butter, vegetables like peas, asparagus, and cauliflower, and some types of fish like salmon and tuna. Black bean salad or salsa is a tasty snack that is both high in protein and can also help to lower cholesterol.
3. Fibrous foods
Fiber slows the absorption of sugars, which can in turn balance the level of blood sugar in the body. It can add great value to a diabetes diet. Some foods that are high in fiber are beans like lima beans, black beans, and lentils, artichokes and broccoli, some fruits like bananas, pears, apples, and blackberries, and filling meals like pasta, noodles, and rice.
4. Healthy Fats
Some types of fats found in food can be harmful, but there are also fats that can be very healthy and beneficial. A great balanced snack is trail mix, which includes nuts and seeds high in healthy fat content. Avocados can be made into guacamole or sliced on toast, and also provide healthy fats. Other examples are cheese, eggs, and yogurt.
5. Low calorie foods
Paired with exercise, cutting calories is one of the safest ways to help lose excess weight, which is a huge factor when it comes to diabetes. Sticking to a low calorie diet can help insulin production to function more normally. Some great low calorie snacks are popcorn, fruits like strawberries, cantaloupes and watermelons, and crispy salad ingredients like lettuce, spinach, and cucumbers.
Overall, keeping track of sugar, protein, fiber, healthy fat, and calorie intake are very important for those with type 2 diabetes. Maintaining a healthy, balanced diet can make all the difference.