If you’ve been diagnosed with prediabetes or prediabetes, your health care provider may suggest a low-carb diet to help manage your blood sugar.
For many, eating low carbs is restrictive and can be difficult to maintain in the long term. So instead of focusing on cutting out all the carbs, it’s best to strive for a balanced plate for your meals and snacks. In fact, research shows that a balanced meal or snack with all the food groups — proteins, carbohydrates, healthy fats, fruits and vegetables — can improve post-meal glycemic control.
The good news is that instead of removing your favorite foods from your diet, you can pair them with other food groups that slow the rise in blood sugar afterward.
While it is possible to pair certain foods together to keep blood sugar levels in check, there are still some foods that are not well balanced nutritionally, and it may be best to reach for a different option as a snack. Enjoying these foods occasionally is totally fine, but if you reach for any of the following snack options regularly, you might consider changing up your snacking habits to come up with something more balanced. Read on, and for more information, don’t miss the 4 Best Breads To Eat For Your Blood Sugar, Nutritionists Say.
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Candy tends to be a food that’s low in protein, fiber, and healthy fats. It’s often quickly digested and absorbed right away – resulting in increased blood sugar and possibly increased hunger later.
Work on choosing options that take longer to digest and help you feel full instead. Next, consider eating a piece or two of candy after a balanced snack if you still feel like it. You’ll feel more energetic and stable throughout the rest of the day without a significant change in your blood sugar.
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Chips are often a quick snack from the vending machine that’s easy to get. However, sometimes, the most appropriate choice at the moment can cause your blood sugar to rise later. Potato chips are often low in protein and fiber, which makes them a blood sugar-raising food.
Fortunately, you don’t have to completely eliminate this crunchy snack from your diet to control your blood sugar. There are now new brands that offer more blood sugar-friendly options. Brands like Quest Protein Chips, Wilde Chicken Chips, and even bean chips like Beanitos are all high in protein or fiber for better glycemic control.
Pair these options with a high-fiber dip like hummus, veggie sticks, or yogurt, and you’ve got a blood sugar-balanced snack.
Pastries such as cakes, cinnamon rolls, or croissants are often a mixture of refined flour, sugar, and added fats and oils. The carbohydrates and sugar will raise your blood sugar quickly, and the added oil or butter will keep your blood sugar higher for longer due to delayed absorption.
Of course, these foods can be part of your lifestyle in moderation, but you may want to reconsider having something sweet every day.
Instead, focus on pairing carbs with protein at snack time. The carbohydrate source will provide a quick energy boost and the protein will help stabilize your blood sugar for hours after eating.
Sugar-sweetened beverages may provide a good energy boost, but they are remarkably low in nutrients and high in sugar. This includes soft drinks, juice, energy drinks, and sweetened coffee. Swinging your blood sugar too high between meals will only lead to increased hunger and lower energy later on. Therefore, it is best for you to switch to options that have more protein, fiber, and healthy fats for your blood sugar.
Are you trying to get rid of the habit of drinking soft drinks? Replace your usual choice of diet soda if you are working to kick the soft soda habit. Diet soda has been shown to be safe in moderation and does not cause a spike in blood sugar.
Caroline Thomason, RDN
Caroline is a Registered Women’s Health Dietitian and Diabetes Educator based in Northern Virginia. Read more