Healthy Snacking for Better Blood Sugar

Healthy Snacking for Better Blood Sugar - Simply Nourished Wellness

One question I get asked a lot is:

“What do you eat for snacks?”

My answer…I don’t really snack that much in general!

You might have heard that you’re supposed to eat 5-6 small meals per day or 3 meals plus snacks. The problem is that when we do this, especially with carb filled snacks (like crackers, granola bars, “breakfast” bars, etc), we are continually spiking our blood sugar and releasing insulin to deal with that glucose.

When our bodies have good blood sugar regulation, we can eat a meal, see a small rise and then it levels out in a normal range. Dysregulated blood sugar is when the blood sugar spikes and then crashes below normal…which = hangry feelings, cravings, headaches, etc. Which leads you to grab that granola bar for a snack…which shoots your blood sugar up again. Yes, it makes you feel better…but only until it crashes again! This especially happens when you consume high carbohydrate meals & snacks that aren’t well balanced with proteins and fats. Over time, blood sugar becomes dysregulated and unless you work to change that, you stay in the cycle of cravings, crashes, and snacking.

I’m not saying to not eat carbs. We need all three macros (carbs, protein, & fats) – but in balance. So step 1 is to work towards balanced meals. Your main meals should include a large serving of non-starchy veggies, a nice serving of protein, healthy fats, and a bit of starchy carbs if desired. For more detail on balanced meals, see my post on Healthy Eating for Better Blood Sugar.

Healthy Snacking for Better Blood Sugar - Simply Nourished Wellness

Now let’s talk snacks...

When we get our eating on track and eat eat enough at meals, snacks aren’t really needed.

In the past, I used to eat and snack all…day…long. Once I went paleo and transitioned from there to a whole foods (semi-paleo) diet, I found that I wasn’t really needing snacks anymore. Breaking the mental habit of eating snacks took time as well. Boredom, habit, and thirst can all masquerade as hunger. It’s important when you feel like snacking, to assess what is really going on. Are you wanting a snack because you always had one mid-afternoon to break up the workday? Or are you truly hungry?

But what about when you ARE hungry between meals? Or what about during that time when you’re transitioning your eating to be more balanced as I mentioned earlier? Because it is likely that as you switch your eating, you will still have times when you have those blood sugar crashes between meals. It will improve as you continue to fuel your body better and fix your blood sugar.

The key here is balance as well (I love that word!). Snacks should always include some kind of protein & fat. Do not eat high carb only snacks (and by this I mean even fruit on its own, too). Not only will this help regulate blood sugar overall, but it will also keep you feeling full longer. So instead of just eating an apple, eat apple slices with cheese or dip them in peanut butter. Eat your veggies with a fat-based dip or guacamole (no low/non fat dips!). By combining any carbs with fats or protein, you’ll lessen the blood sugar spike from the carbohydrates as well as keep you feeling full for longer. It’s a double win!

Download the Snack List

I’ve created a handy healthy balanced snack sheet for you to download too. It has a nice list of some of my favorite balanced snacks that promote good blood sugar regulation and I also threw my Ranch Dip mix recipe on there as it is awesome for dipping veggies! You can download it below.

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Healthy Snacking for Better Blood Sugar - Simply Nourished Wellness
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