Diabetic Smart Snacking Helps You Lose Weight

Diabetic smart snacking helps you lose weight. If you are a type 2 diabetic and you plan snacks throughout the day, weight loss becomes easier for you.

Here is how it works. Eating burns calories. From 5% to 15% of your daily energy is spent digesting and storing the food you eat.

The word for this energy burn is thermogenesis, the production of heat. A calorie is a unit of heat.

This is why we say we are burning calories when we are physically active and even while we are sleeping.

Smart Snacks Have to Be Planned

Thermogenesis is not magic. Diabetic smart snacking involves planning so that the snacks are low in calories. Snacking without a plan will destroy your weight loss efforts.

An average range of less than 150 calories is very good for diabetic smart snacking. This is perfect for keeping the calorie burn in gear while you are trying to lose weight.

It also helps if the snacks have protein and fat in them to balance out any carbohydrates. Then blood sugar does not spike, giving your beta cells a rest.

Why does that matter? Insulin resistance may have made us type 2 diabetic.

Fiber, fats and protein help to smooth out the highs and lows in blood sugar, reducing the need for insulin.

Because we have diabetes, what we eat and when becomes important.

Click here to go to the home page for A Diabetic Life.

Remember - Low Fat Does Not Mean Low Calorie

Beware of "low fat" foods. You may think you can eat more because of the low fat label.

Those foods may not be lower in calories. Processed food labels lower the size of a serving to make food seem to be lower in calories. Compare serving sizes to catch them in the act.

The big exception is low fat substitutes for dressings and oils. Reduced fat dressings are half to one-third the calories of regular ones.

Avoid These Snacking Mistakes

Never eat straight from the bag, unless it is a single serving package.

If you think you are hungry but nothing appeals to you except a candy bar, it is a sugar craving, not hunger.

You may be thirsty. Try a cup of hot coffee, tea or broth in the winter. In the summer some flavored water or ice water with a lemon squeeze may tide you over.

If you are having an attack of hypoglycemia, do not keep eating until you feel better. One cup (8 ounces) of fruit juice or four hard candies or half a can of sugary soda or one small banana should bring your sugar back up.

Wait about 15 minutes and check your blood sugar again. Do not overreact. Eat too much and your blood sugar will go out of control. It will wreck your calorie count too.

My Snack List

Here is a diabetic smart snacking list that contains my favorites.

  • Almonds, dry roasted or uncooked, are a good source of fiber and protein, good fats and magnesium. One almond is 7 calories, so count out how many you will need and put them in small zip bags.
  • A handful of nuts, any kind, makes a great quick snack that is full of fiber and good fats.
  • Peanut butter is 90-100 calories in a tablespoon. Put it on celery for a quick snack that will stick with you. The protein and good fat in natural peanut butter has staying power and there is no added sugar.
  • One-half cup of 2% cottage cheese is 97 calories. Have it with bell peppers or slices of tomato.
  • How about one-half cup of plain yogurt (68 calories) with some fresh strawberries? One cup of strawberry halves is 49 calories.
  • One large hard-boiled egg is 70 calories. It has no carbohydrates and is full of good protein and fat to stave off hunger.
  • Eat 80-calorie string cheese and a real rye cracker. Some are 60 calories each. Wasa and Ryvita have true rye grain, making them the lowest glycemic whole grain crackers.
  • Try some hummus (garbanzo beans, sesame seed paste and olive oil) with your cracker or any bright colored vegetable. Try broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, snap peas and yellow bell pepper strips.
  • For a low calorie snack in cold weather, have a cup of warm vegetable soup. Make your own with colorful low glycemic vegetables simmered in a vegetable or chicken broth. It is low carb too.
  • Eat frozen grapes. There are 100 calories in 20 red seedless grapes, and freezing transforms them into a treat.
  • A small apple with the skin is 70 calories, a small orange is 45 calories, and a small pear is 80 calories. My favorite is plums at 35-60 calories each. Fruits are a feast of antioxidants, natural sweetness and fiber.
  • If fresh cherries are in season, have a bowl full. They are only 5 calories a piece, they are full of antioxidants, and they encourage your body to burn fat.
  • You can find a frozen fudge bar that is less than 80 calories without being sugar free.
  • If you crave a candy bar, try this. One Dove dark chocolate Promises piece is 42 calories. Eat it with 4 or 5 almonds to get the satisfaction without the guilt. Dark chocolate has antioxidants and so do almonds.
  • Microwave popcorn comes in single portions now, so you can watch a movie and eat the whole bag. Check calorie counts and pick the 100-140 calorie size.
  • FiberOne makes a 90-calorie brownie that is delicious, and it adds fiber as well.
Is there such a thing as diabetic food?

Planning Is the Key

Diabetic smart snacking is easier when you plan your snacks and add their calories into your overall goal for each day.

If you want to snack at night, plan for it and you can eat without guilt.

If you always get hungry between lunch and suppertime, have a snack ready so you will not graze from a snack machine or the refrigerator.

You are unique. Some things will work for you and others will not.

Some diabetics are happy with three meals a day, and that is fine. But if you love to snack, you need diabetic smart snacking ideas.

I hope you are encouraged to make your own diabetic smart snacking list.

[Go back to the top]

Want to learn more about how the glycemic index helps diabetics?

Return to diabetic weight loss from diabetic smart snacking.