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Tuesday, March 24, 2015

15 Best Snack Foods for Diabetics

Figuring out the right snack foods in between meals is hard enough for most people, but what if you're one of the 18.8 million people in the United States who have been diagnosed with diabetes? The options may seem even more limited. That's why we've put together a list of 15 diabetic-friendly snacking options based on advice from a few experts.

Raw Almonds or Cashews
Lori Kenyon, certified nutritional consultant, says that raw almonds and cashews are high in protein and fiber, making them a very satisfying treat. One 1-ounce serving, or 24 to 28 medium-sized nuts, has around 170 calories, 5.5 to 8 grams of carbohydrates, and almost no transfat.

Jicama
Kenyon also recommends jicama to her clients. Jicama is a root vegetable that is super tasty raw or cooked. After peeling, you can slice it into sticks and then refrigerate until cold. Either dash the slices with diced red pepper or hot spices for a kick, dip into salsa or your favorite hummus, or grill or bake it with a little olive oil to make a diabetic-friendly french fry. Eat your fill, since each ounce of jicama has only 11 calories, 2 grams of carbohydrates, and 1 gram of sodium.

Edamame
Edamame are also a favorite of Kenyon's. She says one 1-ounce serving of this tasty snack has only 34 calories, 1 gram of fat, 3 grams of carbohydrates, 2 milligrams of sodium, and 3 grams of protein. You can boil and eat them alone or toss some into a blender or food processor with a little olive oil and seasonings to make a tasty dip or spread to pair with raw veggies.

Veggie Slices with Dip
Kenyon says that similar to jicama, zucchini and yellow squash can be sliced like french fries, chilled, and then dipped in salsa or hummus for a tasty treat that satisfies cravings. One cup of yellow squash has 18 calories, 0.2 grams of fat, 3.8 grams of carbohydrates, 2 milligrams of sodium, and 1.37 grams of protein. One tablespoon of salsa adds around 5 calories, 0 grams of fat, 1 gram of carbohydrates, 96 milligrams of sodium, and 1 gram of protein.

Black Bean Salad
If you are hankering for a mini meal, make yourself a salad with plenty of greens, and be sure to add black beans for the filling combination of fiber and protein. Half a cup of the below recipe, added to mixed greens, has 57 calories and 11 grams of carbohydrates.

Rinse a 15-ounce can of low-sodium black beans under running water and drain well. Mix the beans with ½ cup of: chopped tomatoes, chopped cucumber, chopped green bell pepper, and peeled and cubed avocado. Stir in 2 teaspoons fresh lime juice and ¼ teaspoon garlic powder, and season with salt and pepper, to taste.

Olives
Stella Metsovas, certified clinical nutritionist, recommends olives of all varieties — such as Kalamata olives — as they are perfect options when combined with vegetable sticks. The fiber in the vegetable sticks and fatty acids in the olives are a win-win combination for diabetics.

Shredded Coconut
Metsovas says that shredded coconut works very well mixed into smoothies, as well as combined with fresh blueberries. Coconut helps maintain consistent blood sugar, and the antioxidants found in blueberries helps with free radical damage caused by high blood sugar.

Whole-Wheat Pretzels
Angela Shelf Medearis, author of The Kitchen Diva's Diabetic Cookbook, recommends staving off hunger with this low-calorie snack. According to SelfNutritionData, one 1-ounce serving of whole-wheat pretzels contains just more than 100 calories and only 1 gram of fat. It also contains 3 grams of protein and 2 grams of fiber to help keep you feeling satisfied.

Baked Tortilla or Pita Chips
So you've made a diabetic-friendly, low-calorie salsa with fresh ingredients. But, what do you do now? Obviously, you'll need to scoop it up with something. Medearis recommends baked tortilla or pita chips, which are lower in fat than their fried counterparts.

Rice Cakes
Medearis says rice cakes are delicious with low-fat toppings like spicy mustard or salsa.

Popcorn
Air-popped popcorn is a healthy alternative to regular popcorn. Medearis recommends spicing up air-popped popcorn with a little cayenne or garlic powder.

Cottage Cheese
Lisa DeFazio, R.D., celebrity diet expert, suggests combining ½ cup cottage cheese with one piece of fruit such as a small banana or nectarine for the perfect combination of carbs, fiber, and protein. She says that about 15 grams of carbohydrates per snack with a little protein and fat is ideal.

High-Fiber Cereal
DeFazio also suggests high-fiber cereals such as bran flakes or shredded wheat with ½ cup of low-fat milk, perfect for quelling mid-morning hunger pangs.

Greek Yogurt (Pops)
Stacie Castle, R.D., CDN, has more than 25 years of experience in her field and is co-author of the food journal and nutrition guide Bite It & Write It! One easy-to-make snack that Castle suggests is one 6-ounce container of nonfat Greek yogurt combined with ½ cup blueberries and 1 teaspoon agave syrup for a hint of sweetness without going over the top on calories. You can also blend these ingredients together and freeze into an ice pop for a nice, cool, refreshing treat.

Whole-Wheat Graham Crackers
Got the munchies just before bed? It happens to all of us. Castle suggests dipping 1 ½ sheets whole-wheat graham crackers into 4 ounces of 1-percent milk (instead of cookies, of course).

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