While snacking is sometimes given a bad name by experts in the health and weight loss fields, snacking can be an important part of controlling your Diabetes when dealing with weight loss diet meals. Actually, snacking on the right foods in the right quantities is critical for those with Diabetes. To understand the role healthy snacks play in the diabetic diet, it's important to first understand Diabetes.
What is Diabetes?
In a person with Diabetes the body cannot normally produce or use insulin to convert glucose, carbohydrates, and other foods into energy. Without the right levels of insulin, people with Diabetes must use proper diet, and sometimes insulin injections, to allow for proper absorption and utilization of food and to maintain steady glucose levels in the bloodstream.
Particularly with Type 2 Diabetes, it may be possible to control Diabetes with diet alone, eliminating the need for insulin (per your doctor's recommendation, of course).
When and How Should I Snack?
The question of when and how to eat snacks when on a diabetic diet is a tricky one. On the one hand, it's important to keep the glucose levels consistent in your bloodstream. If you go a very long time between meals, snacks can keep your energy high and keep you from feeling shaky and tired. On the other hand, being overweight is not good for people with Diabetes and can cause serious complications to the disease.
How to balance the need for steady energy throughout the day with your need to maintain a healthy weight?
Start by going back to basics. First make sure you are eating three healthy, well-balanced, meals each day. A well-rounded meal should include some complex carbohydrates, lean protein, and fruits or vegetables. Eating three good meals a day can make a profound difference in the way that you feel and in your need for between meal snacks.
If you are eating three healthy meals a day and still feel hungry or shaky between meals, you may need a snack in order to prevent low blood sugar.
If you find that you need a snack between meals or before bed, try to eat a well-balanced mini meal - a snack that combines the properties of an ideal meal with smaller portions and less calories.
The best diabetic snacks are those that release energy into the bloodstream at even intervals. Using the Diabetic Food Pyramid as a guide, snacks should be based on a solid foundation of whole grain, high-fiber foods. This could include whole grain crackers, bread, and cereal, as well as legumes. Combine your carbohydrates with small portions of lean protein and/or dairy products, and you should feel an immediate burst of "good" energy that will see you through to your next meal.
Don't Make it Harder Than It Is!
The best rules of thumb are to eat balanced meals and listen to your body. If you feel hungry and in need of energy, you probably are. Just use moderation as your guide!
It's just that simple!