Type 2 diabetes is a condition that occurs when the body can’t metabolize sugar correctly. The body will either resist the movement of sugar into cells or doesn’t produce enough insulin to maintain glucose levels. Once considered a condition only found in adults, more and more children are affected. Common symptoms can include increased thirst, unexplained weight loss, frequent urination, feeling tired, or wounds that don’t heal. Typical treatments may include a type 2 diabetes diet, exercise, weight control, oral medications, and/or insulin shots.
In most cases, insulin shots are not the first treatment option when trying to lower and maintain glucose levels, instead focus on your diet:
1. Low-sugar diet and snacks
When it comes to building and maintaining a low sugar diet, it may seem difficult at first. You must learn how to count carbs and understand how carbs affect your body. However, knowing some low-sugar snacks will help to curb hunger and maintain a healthy type 2 diabetes diet. Some foods substitute real sugar for a simulated sugar, but beware that these foods can be higher in sodium and can still affect your glucose level. The best low sugar foods are:
- Fibrous fruits: oranges, avocados, blackberries, blueberries, apples, raspberries, pomegranate, and pears
- High-fiber vegetables: butternut squash, artichoke hearts, fennel, broccoli, cauliflower, kale, spinach, spaghetti squash, and zucchini
- Dairy/non-dairy: almond milk, cheeses, non-dairy yogurt, and greek yogurt
When trying to stay low sugar it is always best to find foods that are naturally sweet as these will be better options for a diabetes diet.
2. Protein snacks
Snacks that are rich in protein can help keep your sugar levels stable for longer periods of time. They are also great for appetite control. Protein-dense foods will make you feel full longer, so it will aid in maintaining a balanced diet. The following are protein rich foods that do not contain extra sweeteners:
- Roasted chickpeas, apples, celery, and kale
- Almonds, walnuts, and pistachios
- Trail mix (without sweeteners)
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Turkey or smoked salmon roll ups
- Yogurt with berries
Making your own roasted or dried fruits and veggies is simple to do at home and will have less sodium or sweeteners that could potentially affect health. Eating smaller snacks or meals throughout the day will keep your hunger and sugar under control. Animal protein can be high in saturated fat. This is not good for those with diabetes and can raise the risk of heart disease and stroke. However, it is possible to eat animal proteins in moderation by sticking with lean meats. Plant-based proteins are able to offer heart health and diabetes management.
3. Keto-friendly snacks
The idea of the keto diet is to eat a low-carb and high-fat/protein diet. If done correctly, it can be used to maintain ideal blood sugars and a healthy weight. Like with any diet plan, you want to have snacks that can be eaten regularly or as a splurge. The following are keto diet approved snacks:
- Pork rinds (consume sparingly due to sodium)
- Seeds: sunflower, pumpkin, chia, and flax
- Laughing cow cheese wedges
- Hummus: use with pork rinds, carrots, celery, peppers, or other veggies
- Dark chocolate ( on occasion)
- Seaweed: comes in many flavors and is a delicious chip alternative
- Beef jerky
These are just a few suggestions, but they can be used in several combinations to keep your diet fresh and interesting.