Q. I seem to do really well with my food plan until about 3:00 in the afternoon. Then, it is downhill from there. At work, I am craving sweets, and either I eat some candy or go without any food until I walk into my house around 6:00. Then I am ravenous and find myself eating anything I can put my hands on. Can you help?
A. What you describe is very typical, not just for diabetics, but for anyone with a busy schedule. It is not unusual to want a snack around 3:00, when our energy starts to wane. As you have experienced, eating a snack that causes a sharp rise in blood sugar (like candy) or skipping food altogether, can cause blood sugars to plummet, leaving you feeling like you are “starving” when you arrive home. Then you are ready to eat the first thing you can find, most often things like crackers, pretzels, cookies, etc.
To break this cycle, here are some tips that will help you feel satisfied all day long, with energy to spare.
Eat a nutritious breakfast: Believe it or not, what you eat at breakfast has an impact on how you are feeling the rest of the day. Breakfast does not have to be a large meal, but it should provide fiber and nutrition to stabilize your blood sugars and set the stage for eating well the rest of the day. Good choices for breakfast include a high quality protein, high fiber whole grain and vegetables and/or low glycemic fruit.
Don’t skip lunch: Even if you are pressed for time or aren’t feeling overly hungry, try to have something at lunchtime. Best choices for lunch include vegetables, salad, and/or high quality protein. If you are going to eat a sandwich or grain, don’t overdo it and make sure that the bread or grain is a whole grain with plenty of fiber. If available, try sprouted whole grain bread for sandwiches.
Include a nutritious snack mid-afternoon: Having a mid-day snack can be very helpful to keep blood sugars stabilized and hunger at bay, as long as you are eating a nutritious snack that won’t cause sharp spike in blood sugars. Here are some suggestions:
¨ Miniature Low Fat Cheeses (such as Laughing Cow)
¨ Hummus with Veggies
¨ Turkey & Cheese Roll-ups (add avocado or other vegetables)
¨ Sprouted Grain English Muffin Pizza
¨ Vanilla Smoothie
¨ Pumpkin Seed Mix (with Sunflower seeds and assorted chopped nuts)
¨ Cucumber or Zucchini rounds with Tuna
¨ Deviled Egg
¨ Apple slices with almond or peanut butter
¨ Cup of bean or vegetable soup
¨ Small Cup of Chili
¨ Marinated vegetables
¨ Cottage cheese with Vanilla whey powder & sliced strawberries
¨ Woven wheat crackers with spreadable goat cheese, onion and nova salmon
So never be afraid to snack, just make sure it’s a snack that packed with nutrients. You’ll feel energized and satisfied, without the worry.
Janet Sanders/Diabetes Coach