What’s a good diabetic snack?

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One of my friends has become diabetic recently, adding to the many people I know that were already diabetic. Fortunately for her she has gestational diabetes (diabetes when pregnant) so she doesn’t have to live the life of insulin dependence forever. However, she is more likely to get diabetes later in life because she’s had it now with both of her pregnancies.
With that in mind a couple of us have decided to organise a baby shower for her, but with an emphasis on diabetic friendly foods so that she can actually join in the food fun with us. So, in planning for her baby shower I’ve come across a lot of information about what diabetic snacks actually are.
What are diabetic friendly foods?
And you know what? Diabetic snacks are the ones that are low in sugar! And that’s great, because recently I’ve been cutting out as much of the added sugar in my diet as I can, so it was amazing to find out that diabetic friendly snacks aren’t actually something new and difficult to learn. 
So why am I telling you? If you don’t have diabetes, you still might need to keep this information handy. If you’ve got guests coming over its always a good idea to have one or two of these snacks on the table for everyone to enjoy, because best of all, they are just simple foods that are made from real food. What better way to prepare food from scratch than in trying to be more inclusive at a party you host for others? We could all do to eat healthier anyway.
Common diabetes friendly snacks
Here are a list of some of the most common diabetes friendly snacks I’ve found while searching the web:
  • Popcorn
  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Whole nuts, especially pistachios – unsalted and roasted if preferred.
  • Peanut butter or cream cheese on celery sticks
  • Chopped vegetables and hummus, cottage cheese or guacamole
  • Rice cakes with cheese
  • Unsweetened or natural yoghurt with chopped nuts and/or seeds
  • Fruit based frozen icy poles
  • Mini toaster pizza using half an English muffin, vegies and cheese
Some diabetic friendly recipes for you to try
Below I’ve listed some of the best recipes that I cook myself, or that I’ve found in my quest. I thought I’d share them with you so you have something to get you started. 
Image courtesy of piyato/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Barbeque Popcorn
Its really easy to make popcorn yourself and its so cheap to make. You can buy the corn kernels specially for popping from the supermarket for only a few dollars (but don’t buy the prepackaged ones covered in additives). You only really need 1/4 cup of the kernels to use for 2-3 people so you’ll have plenty of kernels left over for the next time you want popcorn (or make a couple of batches with different flavours.) 
When making popcorn you need to get your frypan warm, and use an oil that has a low burning point. By burning point I mean that there is a point that the oil can be heated to until it starts to smoke and therefore is burnt. Vegetable oils like canola oil and sunflower oil are better to use for this than olive oil as the olive oil burns at a lower heat.
Put two tablespoons of oil in the warm pan and throw in the corn kernels. Mix them around in the oil and then put the lid on the frypan. Keep the heat high until the first few kernels start to pop, and then lower the heat to medium or even lower. You need the pan to stay warm enough for the kernels to pop but cool enough that you don’t burn the kernels and have bad tasting popcorn (you don’t want anyone to crack a tooth either!). 
It took me four attempts before I perfected this method because the temperature of the heat is key, and that will vary depending on the frypan you use – thinner frypans heat up faster and burn quicker; thicker frypans heat up slowly but hold an even temperature for longer.
Toss the popcorn around in the pan every so often so that the uncooked kernels can get the heat evenly. Your popcorn will be cooked once you don’t hear much popping going on and you’ll have a few unpopped kernels in the bottom of the pan (but just throw these out). 
Once your popcorn is cooked throw the popcorn into a large cliplock (zip lock) bag and add salt (or chicken stock powder as its basically flavoured salt), oregano and paprika in as well. Shake the bag so the flavour gets evenly coated over the popcorn and voila! You have made your own barbeque flavoured popcorn.
Note: there is a microwave method as well that you might like to try. But be careful as it can burn easily, and don’t walk away from the microwave when you are making it!

Photo courtesy of porbital/FreeDigitalPhotos.net

Homemade hummus

The best recipe I ever found for making hummus was from Smitten Kitchen. In this recipe she takes the time to separate the skins from the chickpeas because it makes a smoother hummus, but if you don’t want to go to the trouble of doing that, then you don’t have to.
Hummus is basically cooked chickpeas blended with tahini (which is made from sesame seeds), garlic, lemon juice and some olive oil and a pinch of salt. 
A recommendation though: Don’t put the tin of chickpeas straight into the food processor as I find these aren’t quite soft enough for a smooth dip like this. I like to cook my tinned chickpeas in water on the stove for about 10-15 minutes just to make them that little bit softer. And you really do want a soft hummus, so its worth the extra effort.

Pair your hummus with vegetable sticks – the more the better so everyone can find something they like.

Yoghurt with chopped nuts
Most of us like to have our yoghurt with fruit, but if you ditch the fruit and go for nuts and seeds instead then you can create a more diabetic friendly dessert or snack. 
However, having said that, diabetics are allowed to eat fruit, but they have to be careful which fruits to eat. Plums, peaches and cherries are all good choices, and are considered Low GI foods. Low GI refers to foods with a low Glycemic Index, or the marker of how the sugars in a food will effect the blood sugar levels. Low GI foods are the ones that keep you fuller for longer and also keep your blood sugar under even control.

In the picture above I roasted halved plums with some orange juice, brown sugar and cinnamon then put them hot over some plain yoghurt. This would be a great dessert for a diabetic friend if you left out the brown sugar that I added.

But if you want to really do the nuts and seeds on top of yoghurt instead, try some of the ideas from The Kitchn for some inspiration.

Question: Do you regularly cook any other type of diabetic friendly snacks? Do you cook with only Low GI foods?

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