Looking for some snacks that are blood sugar friendly? Health coach and mySugr blogger Markus Berndt shares some of his secrets for taming the snack monster.
Diabetic Snack Attack
Today is all about diabetic snacks, or snacks that are more blood sugar friendly than your typical carb bombs we often crave. Thankfully we have Markus here to help. He was diagnosed with type 2 diabetes in May of 2012 which catalyzed his devotion to healthy living through diet and exercise.
He's currently a management consultant for workplace health promotion and a health coach. He writes a popular blog (in German) at www.diabetesade.com and contributes regularly to the German side of our website.
He has lots of great information to share, and from time to time I'll do my best to bring a translation to you in English. Over to you, Markus!
A Universal Feeling
We all experience the urge to snack (if not outright binge) and reward ourselves with culinary delights. The monster is hungry! Finding snacks that are blood sugar friendly can help a lot.
Of course, when the urge strikes, we're not craving health food. Unfortunately, it’s usually the common snack foods, which, by the way, are designed to addict us. It’s a vicious cycle that can be really hard to break free from.
So what to do? We don't want to cave in completely, but constantly nibbling on naked celery isn't fulfilling either.
Finding blood sugar friendly snacks is often really hard. But thankfully there are a few goodies that we can turn to for some satisfaction without needing to feel terribly guilty. These small snacks that, in moderation, will increase your blood sugar a “tolerable” amount and are still really tasty!
Some of them I even consider to be miracle products of nature!
These are clearly one of the “power nuts.” Walnuts have a high content of omega-3 fatty acids and are a great source of the vital fatty acid. Daily consumption of 50g may lower the risk of heart disease and also decrease cholesterol levels. A handful (30g) per day may help keep blood sugar levels constant and therefore earns a top position in my list of BG friendly snacks!
Raw Cocoa Beans
It includes not only the highest natural occurrence of magnesium, but two ingredients that are considered to reduce both appetite and weight – oxidase and tryptophan (an essential amino acid). Cocoa also has high content of the plant ingredient flavonol, which is thought to protect vessels, and cocoa flavonoids which are thought to reduce the risk of insulin resistance. Raw cocoa beans can be found in well-stocked health food stores.
Yep! You read that right! Chocolate. For those whom the cocoa bean is too raw, there is the refined and indulgent version – chocolate. Of course, I’m not talking about most of the commercially available sugar bombs where the sugar content is higher than the cocoa content… read on!
Did you know that the flavonoids in chocolate allegedly increase brain power? There’s even a study from the University of Nottingham reporting such. In any case, the cocoa contained in chocolate is one of the largest sources of magnesium around, and also contains many antioxidants. It’s also worth noting the beneficial influence on cholesterol, lowering LDL and increasing HDL. And finally, eating dark chocolate lowers the risk of insulin resistance.
All of these benefits are only found in the “good stuff” – chocolate with a high cocoa content. The higher the better, and at least 70%. Personally, I enjoy at least half a bar of dark chocolate with a cocoa content of 80% every day. My candy cravings adapted a long time ago so my daily chocolate more than satisfies them.
This is my favorite choice for us because it not only curbs food cravings, but can also improve the glucose concentration in the blood. They are very calorie dense, however, so you have to be mindful. Though they typically satisfy and satiate much earlier than the usual carbohydrate bombs we often turn to. In fact, they satisfy so quickly that I call them an “appetite brake” and feel they can even help you lose weight. Recent studies support that 60g of almonds a day may protect against diabetes and improve cholesterol levels.
The Goji Berry
It contains elements from all micro and macro nutrient groups, and is best enjoyed raw. For those of you who enjoy sports, this one’s especially for you because it contains many amino acids and is well-known to help build muscle mass. Goji berries contain a high concentration of vitamins and minerals and is, like the acai berry, believed to slow the aging process. In China, the goji berry is also used for diabetes, but above all, you shouldn't forget that like many fruits and dried fruits, it contains a high amount of fructose which will raise blood sugar - so limit your quantities.
No matter what you're eating, you'd be wise to keep a close eye on your portions. And whenever possible, eat the raw versions of these snack suggestions - the more processed foods are, the worse they are for you.
Hopefully I've given you some good ideas to try, and now you and your monster are better armed for the next snack attack!
Thank you, Markus! Good stuff!