Has this ever happened to you? It’s mid-afternoon and you’re at your desk trying to concentrate. But you’re easily distracted and find yourself hungry again. Lunch feels like it was years ago, and dinner can’t come fast enough! You’re trying to stick to 3 meals a day – but maybe that’s just not for you. If you need a little snack in-between, you’ll want to snack smartly. We’ve collected a few of our favorites to help.
I try to take advantage of my environment. There are 3 flights of stairs between me and where the snacks are at work.
Sometimes that’s enough to make me skip the snacks entirely. Other times, I get up from my desk, walk right past the elevator, and fight my way up those stairs to earn my little snack.
Additionally, after being at my desk for hours, the little bit of exercise from those stairs pushes my snack cravings to the back burner again. Don’t underestimate the power of designing your surroundings to help work towards your goals!
Choose lower carb snacks
Unfortunately, we often crave high sugar snacks. We can blame our cavemen ancestors and the scientifically crave-inducing snack food industry for that! If you want to keep your weight and blood sugars in check, lower carb snacks are best.
For foods with carbohydrates, such as sweets or fruit, insulin is often required. And whether that insulin comes from inside your own body or from outside, keep in mind that insulin is a hormone that helps your body build. It inhibits fat burning and encourages cell building in the body. And guess what? If you aren’t exercising enough, it’s not your muscles that grow!
Our favorite snacks for fighting cravings
I asked my colleagues at mySugr what they snack on when they’re looking for something healthy. Not all of the tips mentioned here are low-carb, but they do all fit into a healthy diet. Just remember, if you take fast-acting insulin as part of your therapy plan, you may need to include that into your game plan when eating anything with carbohydrates. Check with your diabetes care team for more on this.
The “Best of Snack Ideas” by the mySugr team:
Marlis and her diabetes monster love unsalted nuts and coconut chips as a snack. These are very low in carbs and won’t impact the blood glucose much. A meta-analysis by Imperial College London and the University of Science and Technology in Norway showed that consuming 20 g of nuts, i.e. a handful a day, reduced the risk of coronary heart disease by almost 30%, cancer by 15% and for the risk of premature death reduced by 22% (1). And they taste so good!
Sanne likes to snack on chickpeas: roasted for snacking, cooked from a tin or as hummus with vegetable sticks or whole-grain crackers. In addition to vegan protein, chickpeas also contain a few carbohydrates, but there is a lot of fiber, so these slowly increase blood glucose.
Gerhard also snacks on legumes but prefers Edamame or young soybeans. These little beans are green soybeans, which are harvested unripe and are cooked whole. The green pods are ideal as a snack in the evening, as you have to spend a little while peeling, so eating takes a bit longer. You can find these in the refrigerated or frozen section of your grocery store.
Clara, our French quota, names cheese as her favorite snack. The protein content is high, but so is the fat, so a small amount is high in calories. Keep an eye on the portion size here and maybe add a few tomatoes to complement it. In addition to what Clara has in mind in terms of cheese (a creamy brie), I would also recommend cottage cheese as a great snack.
5. Vegetable sticks with dip
Barbara loves all kinds of vegetables, but she particularly likes celery sticks. She eats it raw with a creamy yogurt dip.
Jan loves avocados. He often eats them for breakfast with an espresso! But with a little toasted sesame seeds and salt on it, I can definitely recommend it.
Talita prefers to eat the avocado as a guacamole dip with peppers and cucumber sticks.
7. Boiled eggs
Felicia tried a low-carb diet for a while and hard-boiled eggs helped a lot. Eggs with the yolk used to have a bad reputation, but research has proven that cholesterol from your diet actually has very little influence on your overall cholesterol levels and lifted the restriction.
Jan-Niklas is our star basketball player. Because of his athletic stature, he loves protein because it helps him build muscle. He occasionally eats diced tofu or tofu in thick slices with pepper sauce on crackers. And thankfully, tofu can be found seasoned in a variety of delicious flavors.
Miriam likes to snack on olives in the evening in combination with cherry tomatoes and a little Parmesan. Olives are full of healthy fats, but unfortunately, they are also quite salty. So if you have high blood pressure, watch your portion, please!
10. Natural yogurt with berries
We have two fans of this classic combo: Sarah and Christina like to eat natural yogurt. Look for full or low-fat organic yogurt!. Then combine it with fresh or frozen berries.
11. Chia pudding
This sounds unusual and it is. Natalie often makes the effort the evening before to soak chia seeds with almond milk in a small bow. Then she sweetens it with stevia, adds some raspberries and her healthy snack is ready.
Most typical smoothies actually have loads of carbohydrates and aren’t recommended. But Sabrina’s recipe is monster friendly. She mixes unsweetened almond milk with baby spinach and blueberries. She swears by it!
13. Hot cocoa
Ilka has a hot tip for the sweet cravers among you. She boils milk (soy milk is also great because of the vegetable proteins) with cocoa powder and sweetens it with stevia. This hot cocoa warms you up nicely.
14. 85% chocolate
And now we’ve saved the best for last. When the cravings for sweets arise, Molly and I enjoy a section of extra dark chocolate with 85% cocoa with some nuts. This sweet little combo not only makes Molly and me happy but also her diabetes monster!
(1) Aune, D; Kaum, N (et. al.) (2016): Nut consumption and risk of cardiovascular disease, total cancer, all-cause and cause-specific mortality: a systematic review and dose-response meta-analysis of prospective studie. (URL)