Diabetes prevention is something we all should be working for, and your diet plays a huge factor in this. One often overlooked part of the conversation surrounding a healthy diet is snacking. While the obvious answer may seem to be to give up snacks altogether, depriving yourself of your favorite treats may not be the best protection from diabetes either. Below are a few ways to develop snacking habits that can reduce your chances of developing diabetes, as well as a few different foods to implement into your diet.
Avoid Glucose Spikes
Diabetes is characterized by having blood sugar levels that are unnaturally high due to insulin resistance. One of the ways that this insulin resistance can develop is by having spikes in your blood sugar that make it difficult for your body’s insulin to break down all of the glucose in the body. You can avoid these spikes by limiting consuming foods that quickly raise your blood sugar, such as sweets, starches, and processed foods.
Choose Your Snacks Wisely
Instead of choosing foods that are unhealthy in nature, try to focus on curbing your hunger with healthier options. Skip the donuts, cookies, and cakes and reach for fruits, vegetables, and nuts instead. Many adults struggle to meet their daily value of fruits and vegetables, so incorporating these foods into snack time can help you reach your nutritional needs.
There are certain foods that can help prevent diabetes more than others. Foods like apples and berries can satisfy your sweet tooth while carrots and pumpkin seeds can give you that crunch that you crave from chips and other salty snacks. Incorporating these foods into your snacking routine can help cut your risk of developing diabetes by minimizing spikes in blood sugar and preventing insulin resistance.
Space Out Your Snacks
While it might seem counterintuitive, snacking does have the potential to prevent blood sugar spikes from happening if eaten at the right times. When there is a large gap of time between meals, your blood sugar can dip, sometimes to dangerously low levels. This can result in extreme highs and lows that can make your body become less sensitive to its own insulin, ultimately leading to diabetes. Snacking can help prevent these highs and lows by keeping your blood sugar levels steady throughout the day because of the more consistent intake of nutrients. If you find yourself getting hungry throughout the day or if you know there is going to be a large gap between your meals, try keeping a snack nearby to help hold you over and stabilize your blood sugar.
Be mindful of your snacking
While it may appear that snacking is purely a physical activity, the way that you snack is heavily tied to your emotional being as well. Unpleasant emotions like stress, anxiety, and depression can lead to overeating and cravings for those “comfort foods” that tend to be unhealthy in nature. And when it comes to emotional eating, you often won’t stop munching until you feel better, or until your body can’t physically take another bite. These snacking sessions can contribute to blood sugar spikes and insulin resistance because of the sheer volume and contents of the foods involved.
A change in mindset can help prevent you from snacking mindlessly, as well as keep you from eating foods that are less healthy in nature. A great way to get a handle on your emotional eating is to first assess why it is that you’re tempted to start eating. Ask yourself— Are you really hungry? Are you upset? Are you avoiding something? If you realize that your cravings are originating from something other than hunger, try resisting the urge to snack for about 15 minutes to see if the feeling subsides. The more self-aware you become of your snacking habits, the better you’ll be able to fend off the development of diabetes.
Just 1 in 10 adults meet the federal fruit or vegetable recommendations, according to a study published today in CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report (MMWR). This report highlights that very few Americans eat the recommended amount of fruits and vegetables every day, putting them at risk for chronic diseases like diabetes and heart disease.
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