monthly health topic

eating on the run?

A good snack provides protein, good fats, fiber and limited amounts of carbohydrate.

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Monthly Health Topic

Diabetes Month – Rethink your Snacks

Busy schedules, eating on the run? You probably have foods on hand to keep you going throughout the day, especially if you need to watch your blood sugars, making sure they don’t dip too low. Of course, it’s always best to eat nutritious meals on a regular schedule but plans can change, you’re stuck in traffic, or dinner is delayed. So carry snacks that can sustain you until the next meal.

A good snack provides protein, good fats, fiber and limited amounts of carbohydrate. Take a look at what each of these portable foods has to offer.

  • Nuts - An ounce of peanuts, walnuts, almonds, pecans, pistachios or hazelnuts delivers about 160-190 calories. Most of the calories come from fat, but the good news is that these fats are good for your heart. Nuts are a good source of protein and fiber and provide less than 5 grams of carbohydrate per ounce, making them an ideal snack for managing blood sugars. Each type of nut contributes different vitamins and minerals, so choose a variety of nuts, preferably dry-roasted with no added salt. Best of all, you can carry nuts with you wherever you go because they don’t require refrigeration, cooking or utensils.
  • Fruit - Whole fruit is a better choice than fruit juice. Both provide mostly carbohydrate but the fiber in whole fruit prevents your blood sugar from spiking. Pack a small apple or banana, carry raisins or unsweetened dried fruits, or try individual cups or pouches of unsweetened apple sauce or other fruits to enjoy for a snack paired with nuts.
  • Protein - Most people tend to load up on protein at dinner, but it’s better to spread the protein evenly throughout the day. Nuts are one portable choice but also consider a package of lower sodium turkey jerky or a single-serve pouch of tuna.
  • Meal and snack bars - Look for products that have higher amounts of protein and fiber but less carbohydrate and saturated fat. Bars with nuts are often a good choice. If the vending machine is your only option, opt for a package of peanut butter crackers.
  • Shakes - While eating meals and solid foods is recommended, sometimes a protein shake can come to the rescue when you’re traveling, working out or not feeling well enough to eat.

No added sugar. Pay attention to the amount of Total Carbohydrate in these products, not just the sugars. All carbohydrates will raise blood sugars, some more slowly than others. Compare the calories and total carbohydrate to a similar product with added sugars – you’ll often find that, whichever you choose, you will need to watch how much you eat. No-added-sugar products usually contain low calorie sweeteners, such as sorbitol, which may cause intestinal discomfort, especially if you are sensitive to sugar alcohols or eat too much of them.

These snack suggestions aren’t just for people living with diabetes, they can be helpful if you are watching your weight or just need an energy boost between meals. Talk with your diabetes educator or registered dietitian/nutritionist to help you choose the products that are best for you.