In our last blog, we offered many tips on how to enjoy a healthier dining out experience, including seeking out chef-driven farm-to-table restaurants, and even shopping a local farmer’s market, which puts you in charge of the dining experience!
When eating at home, these same kinds of food choices can be excellent sources for diabetes-friendly snacking and dining - and they don’t take long to prepare. There are also many fantastic ready-made products from the store that go well with fresh fruits and veggies.
The ideal snack break should combine fat, protein and carbohydrates, following your meal plan. Here are a few healthy snack ideas to start the summer off right, while exciting the taste buds and satisfying those hunger pangs.
- Heirloom Tomatoes with Whole-Grain Crackers & Cottage Cheese
Low-carb, non-starch veggies are loaded with vitamins, minerals and fiber, are low in calories and don’t affect blood sugar levels. Heirloom tomatoes from the farmer’s market are delicious and refreshing, and fun to eat even by themselves! They go great with whole grain crackers, which are nutrient-rich and can lower blood sugar and cholesterol. The final ingredient for this delicious snack is non-fat cottage cheese, which adds protein to stabilize blood sugar and is high in calcium for strong bones.
- Homemade Popcorn Sprinkled with Vegetable Oil & Grated Parmesan
Popcorn is a fiber-rich snack that – when made from scratch – is all-natural without artificial additives or flavorings. Use an old-fashioned air popper (which was a big hit before microwaves came along!) and sprinkle the popcorn with one tablespoon of a mild-flavored vegetable oil and one tablespoon of grated Parmesan cheese. The farmer’s markets offer many cheese options, so it can be fun to try different flavors! Tip: If you don’t have an air popper, you can use a medium or large pot, add the oil first, spread ½ cup of popcorn in a thin layer, heat to medium and cover.
Cool, crisp and low in carbohydrates, cucumbers are an excellent source of vitamin K, and they also contain potassium and vitamin C. They are extremely versatile… tuna in cucumber cups, cucumbers with lime and chili powder, creamy dill cucumber yogurt dip, cucumber & avocado rolls, or cucumber lunch meat roll-ups! You can also just cut them up into slices and eat them plain.
- Brussels Sprouts
Brussels sprouts, the new favorite "trendy" vegetable, are loaded with vitamins A and C, folate, fiber, and are one of those “cruciferous” (i.e. coming from the cabbage family) low-carb veggies that may help prevent some cancers.[i] Sprinkle them with olive oil, fresh lemon juice and roast at 450 degrees for about 20 minutes, and you will have a delicious snack with a firm bite. There are numerous recipes online that showcase this tasty vegetable!
Another member of the cabbage family, Kohlrabi, can be enjoyed raw, as it is super crispy and has a mild peppery taste. They can be cut into matchsticks for dipping or to use for summer slaws. When roasted, kohlrabi cubes and wedges turn sweet and caramelized, making them a tasty side dish with any main course or snack by itself. They can also be stir-fried or steamed. Kohlrabi has the highest vitamin C content of almost every vegetable, and has a phytochemical content that is highly effective in preventing diabetes, heart disease and high cholesterol while improving liver and kidney function.[ii]
Mix it up this summer with new snack ideas!
Living with diabetes does not have to feel like a jail sentence, especially with all the exciting food choices that summer has to offer. Be adventurous at the farmer’s markets, knowing that just about every vegetable offered is diabetes-friendly, as well as some of the various dairy options.
We encourage you to continually explore healthy food and recipe options online and at your local supermarket, but be sure to follow your meal and care management plan.