If you have been diagnosed with diabetes or prediabetes, your doctor will likely refer you to a dietitian who will help you make important dietary changes to control your blood sugar or glucose level and manage your weight. As a result, meal planning will become an important part of the daily maintenance of the disease, which includes mapping out a plan for snacking and eating on the go.
Hilary Beard, a health expert and co-author of “Health First!: The Black Woman’s Wellness Guide” told NewsOne that diabetics have plenty of good-tasting options when it comes to snacking and eating on the go. “People want to eat a diet high in fiber and foods that look as close to how God made them, meaning rich in unprocessed foods,” Beard said. “So when looking for a healthy snack, grab nuts, and fresh fruits and vegetables.”
Beard also urges diabetics to avoid reaching for snacks like cookies, chips, soda, cake, pie or ice cream, and opt for fresh fruits and vegetables, including a small apple, orange or blueberries. For veggies, carrots and celery are always a good bet. And if you want to mix things up try hummus dip with carrot or celery sticks, Beard says. Almonds are great for energy, but not more than 15 or so because they are high in calories and fat.
“Whole grains, fruits and vegetables are healthier than salty snacks and sweets,” the American Diabetes Association writes at its site. “They will also fill you up and give you the energy you need.” Beard also says it’s important to skip foods that are high in fat.
If you are on-the-go and looking for something more substantive than fruits or vegetables, grab a cup of water-based soup like chicken noodle, tomato or vegetable. You can also grab a fresh chicken or turkey sandwich on whole-grain bread. Stay away from white bread, which is high in calories and low in nutrients.
Steer clear of fried foods. A fried chicken sandwich, for example, can be loaded with up to 50 percent more calories (mostly from fat) than a plain hamburger, according to Diabetes Self-Management.
Today, it’s easy to find healthy options on restaurant menus, even at fast-food eateries. Most offer salads as entrees. If you go this route, skip the crispy chicken salad and go for fish or grilled chicken and low-fat dressing. And then satisfy your sweet craving with a piece of fruit.
It’s also a good practice when eating at home or on the go, she said, to take a 10 minute walk after eating to help pull glucose out of the blood stream and into the cells of your body, which converts it into energy. And always drink plenty of water and do not skip meals.
“No food is a bad food, but you should use discretion when choosing snacks,” she said. “In order to avoid going overboard on snacks, do not skip meals and eat all food groups at mealtime, including whole grains, fat, carbohydrates and a protein.” That way, you will not experience outsize hunger at snack time.
These are just a few suggestions for healthy eating on-the-go, but it’s best to check with your health care provider for details related to your individual care.