Did you know that regularly snacking between meals can help to stabilize blood sugars throughout the day? High nutrient snacks that contain glucose-stabilizers like protein, healthy fats, and fiber, are a great way to avoid glucose peaks and valleys and can help you to stay full and prevent over-eating at the next meal.
Here are seven snack ideas that help curb hunger and promote stable blood sugars:
1. Homemade trail mix
Trail mix gets a bad rap because it is traditionally loaded with sugary candies and can be high in sodium. However, you can easily make your own healthier version of this longtime favorite snack. Simply choose a blend of raw or roasted nuts, seeds, dried fruit, and even a sprinkle of dark chocolate chips if your sweet tooth desires. The nuts contain a healthy dose of fat and protein to help keep blood sugars stable while the dried fruit can provide a boost in energy. Opt for nuts without too much added sodium and dried fruit that has no added sugar.
2. Fresh fruit and cheese
There’s a reason why the French are known for their fantastic fruit and cheese boards! Cheese is an excellent source of protein and pairs well with carbohydrate-rich fruit to provide energy without spiking blood sugars. Good pairings include apples with cheddar, Gouda and pears, or fresh mozzarella with peaches.
3. Crunchy chickpeas
Gone are the days when chickpeas were only useful for making hummus! Chickpeas (also known as garbanzo beans) are an excellent source of fiber and protein and make for a nutrient-rich, mid-day snack. When roasted long enough, chickpeas become light and crunchy and make for a great replacement for potato chips. Season however you like to add extra flavor – sea salt, paprika, and garlic are popular seasoning options.
4. Hardboiled eggs
Eggs are a low-calorie snack packed with valuable nutrients, such as B vitamins, zinc, calcium, and protein. Hardboiled eggs make for a healthy, portable snack that will keep you full between meals. Pair with a small piece of fresh fruit if blood sugars are dipping low.
5. Chia seed pudding
This plant-based snack is packed with fiber, relatively low in carbohydrates, and high in Omega-3 fatty acids and calcium. It also is a great way to satisfy a sweet tooth. Simply combine 2 tablespoons of chia seeds with a half cup of milk of your choice. Mix well and place in the fridge for at least 2 hours or up to 7 days. The chia seeds will absorb the milk and turn into a thick pudding. The sky is the limit on flavors – try chopped berries and a drizzle of raw honey or add cocoa powder for a chocolatey treat.
Most popular for movie nights, popcorn is full of fiber and an excellent snack that won’t send blood sugars surging. However, not all popcorn is made with the same, quality ingredients. Traditionally, microwaved popcorn can contain a ton of added sugars or partially-hydrogenated oils that take a toll on heart health. Look for brands that air pop their popcorn or use avocado oil, which is a source of heart-healthy unsaturated fat. Save the buttery topping or kettle corn varieties for special occasions.
7. Guacamole and veggies
If you’re a fan of chips and guacamole, you might try the more nutrient-dense version – guacamole with raw veggies. The avocados found in guacamole are loaded with monounsaturated fat, which can boost brain function, supports heart health, and promotes healthy insulin sensitivity. Their low-carb, high-fiber ratio is also great for blood sugar stability. Pair with fresh, crunchy vegetables like carrots, cucumbers or sliced bell peppers for a satisfying and healthy snack.