Living with diabetes is hard. If left unmanaged, it can lead to other serious or life-threatening diseases. Unfortunately, it cannot be treated.
The best way to combat diabetes is to reduce its progression by eating healthily, being physically active, and injecting insulin. This is why diabetics have to adjust and maintain a healthy lifestyle.
In this blog post, we’ll be discussing what, when, and how diabetics should eat.
- Understanding diabetes
- Diet plan for diabetics
- Best snacks for diabetics
- When is the best time to eat dinner for diabetics?
- What is the best type 1 diabetes bedtime snack?
- The best bedtime snack for gestational diabetes
- Frequently Asked Questions
Diabetes is a long-lasting chronic disease. It affects the way our body breaks down the food that we eat and turns it into energy. Here is how the process works:
- We eat food.
- The food is broken down into sugar which then goes to our bloodstream.
- The rising of our blood sugar level triggers the pancreas to release insulin. Insulin is the one that helps convert our blood sugar into energy.
If your body doesn’t produce enough insulin or does not utilize insulin properly, that is a case of diabetes. This means that too much sugar is stored in the bloodstream.
Having this type of condition can cause alarming health issues such as kidney problems, vision loss, and heart disease.
Diet plan for diabetics
Diabetes may seem like a hopeless case, but it’s not. Being diabetic doesn’t mean that you can never have a taste of the finer things in life.
You may still do so as long as you manage yourself properly and avoid overindulging in things that aren’t good for you.
Sugary and starchy carbohydrates can increase blood sugar levels. Therefore, you must learn how to balance your meals and monitor your carbohydrate consumption. Practicing self-discipline is one of the keys to having a healthier life.
Here is the recommended diet plan by the American Diabetes Association (ADA) for people living with diabetes:
- Plenty of fruits and vegetables
- More lean protein
- Foods, snacks, and drinks with less sugar
- No trans fats
Best snacks for diabetics
Just because you are diabetic does not mean you will only be limiting yourself to greens. Although vegetables are the best ones to include in your meals, you can still enjoy other kinds of food.
Tons of snacks are enjoyable to eat and will boost your energy without compromising your blood sugar level (and your weight!).
Here are some of the good snacks for diabetics to munch on:
If you’re a fan of having sunny side-ups or omelets in the morning, push those thoughts aside. This is the best and safest way for you to eat eggs. It contains 6 grams of proteins which will help prevent the increase of your blood sugar after you eat.
Almonds and Pistachios
We don’t recommend you to go nuts, except when it comes to eating. Consuming certain nuts is good for health and they make great snacks for diabetics. Two of the best nuts for diabetes are almonds and pistachios.
If you eat even a single ounce of almonds, your body will absorb about 15 vitamins and minerals. A study also revealed that almonds may help control blood sugar levels. Another one showed how it helped decrease levels of insulin in the body.
Meanwhile, pistachio nuts can also lower cholesterol levels, thanks to the powerful proteins and polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fats in them. It may also help reduce the risk of developing heart disease.
Avocados aren’t just tasty–they’re diabetic-friendly too! It is high in fiber and has monounsaturated fatty acids that help prevent blood sugar increase after eating.
However, remember that avocado is also high in calories so it would be best to consume at least ¼ to ½ of a whole. You can turn it into guacamole too, which makes a great dip or toppings for other snacks!
Yogurt with berries
One of the best things about eating healthily is combining one great snack with another. This is exactly the case for yogurt with berries.
Berries are filled with antioxidants that can help reduce inflammation and prevent damage to the cells of the pancreas. They’re also a good fiber source, which helps in regulating blood sugar levels and promoting smooth digestion.
Yogurt, on the other hand, is also known for lowering blood sugar levels. It has probiotics that help in metabolizing foods that contain sugar. Yogurt is also rich in protein.
By combining the two, you’ve got yourself a tasty snack that’s diabetes-friendly!
Cottage cheese contains various vitamins, minerals, and protein with only a little bit of carbs. Eating this from time to time may help reduce your blood sugar levels because of the high protein. If it tastes too plain for you, feel free to combine it with fruits.
Hummus and veggies
Hummus and vegetables are rich sources of vitamins, minerals, and fiber. Hummus is a spread made from chickpeas that’s high in protein. It pairs best with raw veggies, especially broccoli, cauliflower, bell peppers, and carrots.
When is the best time to eat dinner for diabetics?
For diabetics, dietitians recommend maintaining an eating schedule. This will enable people with diabetes to monitor their glucose levels better.
It will also teach the significance of self-discipline and self-control. The ideal meal schedule for diabetics is 3 meals a day, 4 to 5 hours apart. You may eat at the same time each day.
If you feel hungry after dinner, there’s no harm in having late-night snacks. However, you must remember to carefully choose the food that you will eat because some are high in calories.
Consuming too many calories and carbs, especially at night, may lead to weight gain.
What is the best type 1 diabetes bedtime snack?
It’s common for some people to have a growling stomach before bed. The best snacks to eat before bedtime need to be high in protein and low in fat to help regulate your blood sugar levels overnight.
If you feel like having a snack before heading off to dreamland, here are the best ones for those with type 1 diabetes:
- Hard-boiled egg
- Handful of nuts
- Cottage cheese
- Whole wheat crackers
- Sliced apples and peanut butter
The best bedtime snack for gestational diabetes
The most common types of diabetes would be type 1 and type 2 diabetes. But there is another one that occurs in pregnant women–gestational diabetes.
This occurs when a woman experiences high blood sugar during her pregnancy. It is found in 3 to 9% of pregnancies and is usually caused by the previously undiagnosed type 2 diabetes of the soon-to-be mother.
Leaving it unmanaged may harm both the mother and the baby’s health. This is why pregnant women who have this condition are highly encouraged to exercise and maintain a diabetic diet.
However, it also cannot be helped that women tend to eat more during pregnancy.
So, here are the best types of diabetic snacks before bed for those with gestational diabetes:
- Nuts like almonds, peanuts, and cashews
- Sugar-free greek yogurt
- Sliced cheese
- Mixed vegetables
- Hard-boiled egg
Frequently Asked Questions
How can I lower my blood sugar overnight?
There are plenty of ways you can regulate your blood sugar levels overnight. Some would include exercising earlier in the evening. Do moderate exercises like walking or jogging. Moving more means engaging your muscles more, therefore using more glucose. Glucose refers to the sugar in your bloodstream.
Over time, this will help lower your blood sugar levels. Also, eating certain snacks will help lower your blood sugar. Eat those that are high in protein and fiber such as hard-boiled eggs, nuts, sliced cheese, and many more. Snacks like these will provide your body with the necessary nutrients to regulate the levels of your blood sugar.
How many hours before bed should a diabetic eat?
Certain experts claimed that not eating for 2 hours before bed can help reduce high blood sugar levels and complications like diabetes and heart disease. However, there is insufficient evidence to back up this claim.
Ironically, it is recommended to eat a snack before bed. This snack must be high in fiber but low in fat. The reason why eating a snack before bed is good for diabetics is because of the “dawn effect”, which pertains to the spike in the blood sugar levels in the early morning hours. The release of hormones in the morning may intensify insulin resistance. Eating a high-fiber, low-fat snack will help combat this. Just make sure to keep the portion size small. Remember, overeating may lead to weight gain.
Does eating late at night raise blood sugar?
There is no harm in eating late at night, but it still depends on what you are eating. For diabetics, it is okay to eat snacks that are high in fiber but low in fat. Doing so may even lower their blood sugar levels. However, eating food that is high in fat, carbs, and calories is not so good. Other than the possibility of gaining weight, overindulging in this type of food all the time may cause other health issues.
If you feel hungry late at night but are diabetic, it would be best to learn about the snacks that are good for you. Some of the best snacks before bedtime are boiled eggs, sliced cheese, apples with peanut butter, air-popped popcorn, whole wheat crackers, etc. These are snacks that are tasty but won’t increase your blood sugar levels. Instead, they will help do the opposite.
What fruit should diabetics avoid?
Although fruits are undeniably delicious and generally healthy, not all of them are good for diabetics. Some fruits can particularly be dangerous for people with diabetes. These fruits are commonly high in sugar. The fruits that diabetics should avoid include watermelons, pineapples, overly ripe bananas, and dried fruits. All these have high levels of sugar and will only increase blood sugar levels.
Another type of fruit that diabetics should avoid is fruit juice. Drinking fruit juice during a meal or even on its own can increase a person’s blood sugar levels. However, when a person eats a whole fruit, the mix of simple sugar and fiber slows down the absorption of sugar into the bloodstream. This means consuming the whole fruit is better than drinking its juice version.
Can diabetics eat fruit at night?
In spite of what other people might say, fruits aren’t bad snacks for diabetics. In fact, they can be good for you because they’re high in fiber, antioxidants, vitamins, and minerals. This is even a common addition to a healthy diet plan. It is recommended to eat fruits as snacks during the night including apples, bananas, cherries, etc.
However, it’s important to be cautious about the fruits you choose. Some might affect your blood sugar levels more than most. Fruits that are high in sugar and low in fiber should be limited at all costs.
Kate is a health & lifestyle blogger who spends her entire day writing quality blogs. She is a passionate reader and loves to share quality content prevalent on the web with her friends and followers and keeping a keen eye on the latest trends and news in those industries.