Diabetic-friendly Snacks
By Neil Zevnik
We're not talking bags of potato chips, candy bars, and nachos here. Instead, think small but delicious bites of basic foods that nourish and satisfy

Diabetes is no fun, I think we can all agree on that. Current nutritional thought emphasizes spreading out the day’s meals into five to six smaller increments, as opposed to the traditional three-meals-a-day. And alternating three well-balanced meals with sensible snacks can be a healthier way to eat—even if you don’t have to worry about diabetes.

Though depending on your previous concepts of “snacks,” you may have to redefine what is and is not a healthy nibble. Fruit is your friend, carbs are not the enemy, and fats are fine—but all in the proper context and in moderation.

berries-and-yogurtBest Fruit Snack:
Berries and Yogurt
Yes, fruits contain carbohydrates, but they’re slow-release carbs, and fruits offer a wealth of other nutrients, including vitamins, minerals, and plenty of fiber. Some of the most potent are berries, especially blueberries, which have some of the highest antioxidant levels of any fruit or vegetable. Strawberries, raspberries, and blackberries are other good choices. A handful of berries with a dollop of low-fat yogurt make an ideal snack.

Sweet-Potato-with-HoneyBest Carb Snack:
Roasted Sweet Potato with Honey
The fructose and white sugars found in snacks such as donuts, candy, soda, and even some ostensibly “healthy” granola bars are definitely on the undesirable list. But whole grains such as oats and brown rice, and vegetables such as sweet potatoes, provide slow-release energy, a feeling of fullness, and a plentiful array of nutritional benefits. Stir some local honey into a small roasted sweet potato for a fiber-filled treat that’s packed with vitamins and phytonutrients.

apple-and-peanutbutterBest Healthy Fat Snack:
Apple Slices with Nut Butter
“Good” fats, in moderation, are essential to a healthy diet. Low-fat dairy products provide vitamin D and calcium; nuts and seeds offer minerals and essential fatty acids. Low-fat yogurt, especially the Greek variety with its high-protein content, is a brilliant snack—throw in a few blueberries and a sprinkling of whole bran, and you’re good to go. Here’s my favorite: Smear a few teaspoons of organic crunchy peanut or nut butter on a few slices of crisp apple for a sensible but sublime energy boost.

Low-sugar Snack Bars
Today’s store shelves are filled with a bewildering variety of “bars” that claim to be healthy alternatives to candy bars. Read the labels, and make sure that the ones you choose have minimal added sugar, plenty of protein, and a sensible number of calories. Three low-sugar bars that we like:

Quest-Nutrition-QuestBar thinkThin-Lean-Protein-Fiber-Bar Wellness-Foods-The-Simply-Bar
Quest Nutrition QuestBar in Chocolate Peanut Butter
(160 calories; 20 g protein; 1 g sugar)
Think Products thinkThin Lean Protein & Fiber Bar Salted Caramel
(150 calories; 10 g protein; 5 g sugar)
Wellness Foods, Inc. The Simply Bar Cinnamon Pecan Protein Bar
(160 calories; 16 g protein; 3 g sugar)

Pecan-Date-BarsPecan Date Bars
Makes 16 bars

These chewy, fiber-rich bars make a great “on-the-go” snack and supply slow-release energy.

1 Tbs. safflower oil

2 Tbs. Earth Balance Vegan Buttery Spread, melted

2 Tbs. local honey

2 Tbs. muscovado dark brown sugar

2 Tbs. fresh tangerine juice

1 Tbs. microplaned tangerine zest

1 3/4 cup Bob’s Red Mill Old-Fashioned Oats

1/4 cup pecans, chopped small

1/3 cup Medjool dates, chopped small

  1. Preheat oven to 350°F. Moisten bottom and sides of 8-inch square pan with cooking spray.
  2. Whisk together oil, butter, brown sugar, honey, tangerine juice, and zest in large bowl until well-combined. Stir in oats, pecans, and dates, and mix well.
  3. Spread mixture into pan, pressing down well to make an even layer. Bake about 20 minutes, until
    the edges turn golden. Allow to cool completely, then cut into bars.

per serving: 93 cal; 2g pro; 4g total fat (0g sat fat); 13g carb; 0mg chol; 15mg sod; 1g fiber; 7g sugars

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