What kinds of satisfying snacks exist for diabetics that are not overboard on carbohydrates?
- Popcorn. You can make your own or buy bags at the store, just be sure to check the carb content before you bring it home! Some flavours of popcorn are dressed in sugar. You’re best off going for an original or plain popcorn, and believe me, it’s even tastier freshly popped on the stove if you buy kernels. There are so many ways you can season your popcorn, too! Of course, olive oil or butter drizzled over top is a classic delight, but you can also toss together some spices or add cheeses to amp up the flavour. Check out some of the ideas here!
- Apples with Peanut Butter. One of my favourite study snacks is a small apple cut into wedges, and a little bowl of unsweetened peanut butter melted to dip into. The peanut butter brings some protein to the snack, which will help you feel full longer, and the apples bring a sweet crunch.
- Caprese Salad. You can go about this in several ways. I’ve often bought little tubs of bocconcini (either small, medium, or large balls), but you can use any format of fresh mozzarella you can find. If you use the small bocconcini balls, you can cut them in half and skewer them with halved cherry tomatoes and basil. In this recipe pictured below, large tomatoes are used and a fresh mozza-ball. Delicious with some balsamic drizzle, either homemade or purchased in store. I’m not usually a fan of eating tomatoes, but this is too good to pass up.
- Crackers with brie. You should check the label for carbohydrate amounts (remember, that’s total grams carbohydrates minus grams fibre = total grams available carbohydrates). Aim for around 15 g. You’ll have more grace with whole-grain sorts of crackers, but most likely you’ll be looking at about 3-7 crackers depending on the size and ingredients. Brie is my favourite snacking cheese because it’s mild and creamy – great on Melba toast! But feel free to substitute for any of your favourite cheeses.
- Nuts. Personally not a huge fan, but a handful of almonds or pistachios goes a long way in satiating a hungry belly. They can also be quite fibrous and protein-dense, alongside healthy fats, which will help you feel full longer.
- Greek yogurt parfait. There are dozens of ways to enjoy yogurt parfaits! Pick up a plain greek yogurt that is low in carbohydrates. Top with a sprinkle of granola (watch out for sugary store varieties; consider making your own or choose wisely at the store/use smaller amounts), sliced almonds, berries, etc. Delicious!
- Cucumbers & Spinach Dip. This is a simple and low-carb snack! You can look for other kinds of dips that are also low in carbohydrates. Also check the fat and protein content; higher protein and lower fat would be ideal, but often dips are fatty. Just make sure the type of fat is the better kind (avoid saturated and trans fats). Also consider using any kind of veggie you like!
Really, there are tons of good snacks out there that are diabetic-friendly. Personally, I’d advise staying away from artificially sweetened snacks that attempt to replace typically high-carb foods. I don’t like the way artificial sweeteners taste and since there’s some uncertainty about the side-effects of using them, I would suggest limiting use of these sweeteners.