We live in a world filled with sugar and it’s nearly impossible to find a packaged snack that doesn’t contain some form of sugar as an ingredient. For those of us working to keep our sugar levels in a healthy range, snack time can be a real struggle.
Controlling our sugar intake helps us lessen the risk of complications that often accompany diabetes. For optimal blood glucose control, the American Diabetes Association recommends a healthy diet that consists of lean protein, non-starchy vegetables, healthy fats, whole grains and fruit. (This is also recommended for the general population.) The key, however, is portion control.
Small amounts of sugar and chocolate can be part of an overall healthy diet but it’s best to only indulge—and just a little bit (one square of dark chocolate; not the whole row)—on special occasions.
Sugar-filled snacks are often the most convenient. Think vending machines, convenience stores, gas stations. When hunger strikes and we’re in a rush or have not planned ahead, these are the places we go. In spite of good intentions to eat well, once we need to eat, all bets are off and we go for that candy bar for fuel.
Planning ahead is the best way to stay on track. Here are some suggestions for both homemade and packaged sugar-free, and no-sugar added, snacks that can be brought along in your car, your purse, or ready-to-grab from your fridge.
Not all Greek yogurt is created equally. I find Fage’s filling and deliciously creamy. Add in any low sugar topping like cinnamon and cacao nibs and you’re good to go!
I do believe that coconut butter is God’s gift to the earth. MaraNatha Foods has one that contains no sugar and is low carb. I gotta tell you, it’s like eating a rich dessert. I like to take a spoonful of it with a spoonful of sunflower seed butter when I’m in a hurry.
You’ll never go hungry when you keep a stash of dry-roasted sunflower seeds or nuts in your car. Eaten alone they are no sugar, low-carb treats but also provide a nice crunch on top of a salad or a hot dish. Yum!
Don’t ever forget good old vegetables and dip as a no-sugar snack. Julienned peppers, carrots, green beans and jicama. Try Sabra brand hummus or make your own with some low-carb Zahatar spice (popular in Middle-East).
Puree all the above in a food processor until smooth. Adjust spices. Enjoy!
If you’re really jonesing for potato chips, be a bit more virtuous and have baked sweet potato chips but make sure that they have no sugar added. Trader Joe’s makes a delicious ridge-cut chip that I heartily recommend.
Need I say more? Hard boiled eggs are a fabulous snack, filled with protein and very portable when you’re on the run. They’re also cheap and take just 20 minutes to make.
Pack up some cooked quinoa in a thermos, add a few shakes of tamari (a Japanese soy sauce), some toasted almonds and, voila! a complete protein snack—and a little pizzaz!
Thank goodness for mason jars! Fill a 6 or 8 oz jar 1/3 full with oats, add almond milk (the no sugar added variety of course) to the ¾ mark and allow to sit overnight. In the morning, add some cinnamon, a touch of cardamom, a few toasted walnuts and blueberries to mix it up a bit. Talk about nutrition to go! This jar will fill you up.
Why not Shrimp? You deserve it! Cold shrimp, cooked ahead of time with a little side of horseradish mixed with no-sugar added ketchup can make you feel like you’re dining out in a fancy restaurant. If you’re going far, don’t forget the ice pack!
I like Aidell’s brand. They cook up quickly and make a nutritious after-school snack. Cut them up into coins and serve up with toothpicks.
Last but not least….
To me, frozen spinach is a gift. It is easy to store in the freezer, is packed with nutrients and can be added to anything. What’s more, it’s low carb and sugar free! When I’m on the run, I love to eat it hot or cold and believe it or not, so do my kids.
Try to remember to defrost your spinach the day before or leave it in a bowl on your counter in the morning to make later that day. We eat spinach pie anytime of day. Try serving individual pieces as a snack or make two for dinner sometime. Click here for recipe.
Your health is important so take care of yourself by planning ahead, eating delicious, satisfying foods and be well!