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Diabetic Recipe
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To snack or not to snack? That is the question.

Some myths state that people with diabetes should be snacking constantly to keep their blood glucose levels level. Other myths claim that people with diabetes should be on a strict three-meal-a-day plan, especially when it comes to weight loss. The truth of the matter is somewhere in between. But where is that happy medium? And what does that mean for your daily meal plan?

Snacking: A Primer

In the past, people with diabetes who took insulins that peaked strongly between meals or during the night had to eat snacks at particular times to prevent hypoglycemia. Many newer insulins do not peak as much, so snacks may not be obligatory; however, they can often be worked into your meal plan.
Snacking can help prevent overeating at meals. It also provides a constant source of energy for your body. But snacking is not a good reason to eat foods that are 'nutrient-sparse', i.e. low in fiber, vitamins and minerals and high in fat, or an excuse to skip a meal. This type of substitution may result in actually eating more calories, carbohydrate or fat than planned – partnered by higher blood sugars.
The key to healthy eating is moderation. Air-popped popcorn may be low in fat, but it still has calories. And calories count. If you can control the portion sizes of the snacks you eat, you will be able to eat a wider variety of foods, including your favorites, and still keep your blood sugar in your target range.

Read the Fine Print

Keep in mind foods labeled as sugar-free, no sugar added, reduced-sugar and dietetic still contain carbohydrate. When you check the amount of sugars (listed as "Sugars" under "Total Carbohydrate") in the Nutrition Facts on the label, keep in mind that the total carbohydrate includes both added sugars and naturally occurring sugars, such as the natural sugar in raisins. That's why it is more important to check the total carbohydrates.

Break it Down

There are different categories of snacks. Below is a breakdown:

Free foods

Free foods are any food or drink choice that has less than 20 calories and 5 grams or less of carbohydrate per serving. Most free foods should be limited to 3 servings per day. Spread out the servings throughout the day. If you eat all 3 servings at once, it could raise your blood glucose level because you combine the small portions into one larger portion.
Some examples of free foods include:

  • 1 piece of hard candy (regular or sugar-free)
  • ½ cup of dried cranberries sweetened with sugar substitute
  • Sugar-free gelatin
  • Gum
  • 5 baby carrots and celery sticks
  • ¼ cup blueberries


  • 10 goldfish-style crackers
  • 2 saltine-type crackers
  • 1 frozen sugar-free cream pop
  • 1 cup light popcorn
  • 1 vanilla wafer
  • ½ oz of fat-free sliced cheese
  • ½ oz lean meat

On the go snacks
If you plan ahead, these healthy snacks can help avoid mindless nibbling or junk food binging.

  • 1 piece of fresh fruit
  • Small handful of your favorite nuts or seeds
  • 6 oz. carton of non-fat yogurt


  • flavored popcorn cakes or soy chips
  • beef jerky

Sweets and desserts
People with diabetes can include desserts in their meal plans. You just need to plan ahead and watch the portion sizes. To include a sweet with your meal, cut back on the other foods with carbohydrates a t the same meal.

Recipe: Yogurt Parfait
(From The Healthy Carb Diabetes Cookbook)
Serves 4
Serving Size: 1 parfait
Prep Time: 10 minutes
2 cups fat-free plain yogurt
1 Tbsp Splenda
1 1/2 cups assorted berries, fresh or frozen (see tip)
4 Tbsp sliced almonds, toasted

  • In a small bowl, combine yogurt and Splenda. In a parfait dish or fluted glass, layer 1/4 cup yogurt and 3 Tbsp berries. Repeat process once more, and top with 1 Tbsp toasted almonds.
  • Repeat this procedure for remaining three parfaits.

Nutrition Tip: When purchasing berries from the freezer section of the store, make sure they are fresh frozen and not frozen in syrup or other sugars.



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