When you first learn that you have diabetes you can’t help thinking about how much your eating habits will have to change. Thankfully, you can eat healthfully and still enjoy snacks. Some people with diabetes are told to avoid heavy meals and to spread their eating throughout the day, so you may actually be encouraged to snack! The key to success is to monitor what you eat over an entire day and stay within your individualized nutritional goals.

Healthy Snacks
Many traditional snacks fall under the heading of healthy snacks. A piece of fresh fruit, carrot and celery sticks, pretzels, and low-fat yogurt are just a few examples of low fat snacks. Other foods can become healthy snacks with only a few modifications. A few squirts of butter-flavored spray and a sprinkle of garlic or onion powder on popcorn make a tasty snack that avoids high concentrations of fat and sodium. Using low or fat free dressings to dip bite size vegetables instead of sour cream based dips reduces the fat content considerably.

With a few modifications, healthy snacks can even be made from strawberries and whipped topping.Easy Snack Time Favorites
Try some of these ideas for tasty, healthy snacks. Use the exchange categories listed to help fit them into your eating plan. Nutrition facts listed on package labels can help you determine appropriate quantities, especially if you are interested in low fat snacks.

Peanut Butter Grahams
Spread low-fat peanut butter on a graham cracker. Top with a banana slice and you’ll have at least some of your protein and starch exchanges covered.

Fruity Gelatin
Prepare sugar-free fruit flavored gelatin. Add small chunks of fruit before chilling. The gelatin is a “freebie” and, depending on how much fruit you add, you may have to count this snack as a fruit exchange.

Baked Chips and Salsa
Baked chips still have carbohydrates and will count in your starch exchanges, but the salsa adds zip without fat or excessive calories.

Fix  Snacks Ahead
These snacks may take a little longer to prepare but are worth the effort!

Marvelous Bran Muffins
2 cups raisin bran cereal
1 cup skim milk
3 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 egg
1 ¼ cups all purpose flour
¼ cup brown sugar
2 ½ teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon cinnamon
¼ teaspoon salt

Preheat oven to 425 degrees. Prepare muffin tins with non-stick spray.
Mix cereal, milk, oil, and egg in large mixing bowl. Allow to stand for at least five minutes. Combine remaining dry ingredients and add to cereal mixture. Stir until all ingredients are moistened. Fill muffin cups about 2/3 full. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes.
Makes 12 muffins.
Serving Size: 1 muffin
Nutrition Information per Serving:
135 calories
22 grams carbohydrate
3 grams protein
4 grams fat

Banana Malted Milk Shake
2 cups nonfat chocolate or vanilla ice cream
1 sliced banana
½ cup skim milk
3 tablespoons malted milk powder
Put measured ingredients in blender and mix on high until smooth. Pour into chilled glass, garnish with banana slice, and serve.
Makes 4 shakes.
Serving Size: 6 ounces
Nutrition Information Per Serving:
150 calories
31 grams carbohydrate
5 grams protein
0.5 grams fat

Fast Food Nutrition
If you’re like most Americans, you’ll occasionally find yourself at a fast food restaurant, even if you’ve been diagnosed with diabetes. Knowing that many fast food choices are loaded with fat and calories, you can still choose wisely and make eating on the run a part of your healthy diet. Plan ahead, and arm yourself with a booklet containing nutrition facts for fast foods or ask the clerk for a pamphlet at the restaurant. You’ll be able to choose foods that will meet your nutritional guidelines and enjoy your healthy snack.

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