They strike out of nowhere. Maybe it’s during the mid-day slump at work. Or perhaps it’s late at night when you’re watching TV. Suddenly you find yourself having a full-blown snack attack.
You NEED something salty, creamy, crunchy or sweet. And you need it NOW.
Satisfying those cravings can be tough when you’re also watching your blood sugar. But don’t worry, using the glycemic index as your guide you can you indulge in delicious, crave-worthy foods that won’t spike your blood sugar.
Understanding the glycemic index
The glycemic index, or GI, is a scale that shows how much a carbohydrate will cause your blood sugar to fluctuate. Instead of looking at the number of carbohydrates in a food, its GI score is a measure of how those carbs affect your blood glucose levels.
Which means healthy carbs have lower GI ratings, while unhealthy carbs have higher GI ratings.
The GI scale runs from 0, foods that have the least impact on your blood sugar, to 100, foods that have the most impact on blood sugar.
- Foods with 55 or below are low GI foods; they won’t spike your blood sugar
- Foods with 56 to 69 are medium GI foods; eat them in moderation.
- Foods with 70 to 100 are high GI foods; eat sparingly, if at all
Snacks with a low GI rating won’t spike your blood sugar
Following are six crave-worthy foods you can turn to when that next snack attack strikes. No matter whether you’re craving something salty, creamy, crunchy or sweet they’ll leave you feeling satisfied, but won’t spike your blood sugar.
When you find yourself ransacking the kitchen looking for something rich and creamy to eat, reach for an avocado. Looking for something that’s a bit salty too? Sprinkle your avocado with some Himalayan or sea salt.
This delicious fruit is rich in healthy fats and protein, and lower in carbs. So you can satisfy that craving, without worrying about blood-sugar spikes.
Experts say the fats in avocado can even help improve your insulin sensitivity. And with a GI of 10 or less avocado is a great snack choice that won’t spike your blood sugar.
When your sweet tooth is demanding some satisfaction head to the produce aisle and pick up some juicy blueberries.
Despite their deliciously sweet taste, most berries are surprisingly blood sugar friendly. And blueberries are some of the best. In fact, a Louisiana State University study found they help your body process insulin to stabilize blood sugar levels.
Blueberries are high in anthocyanins, a compound that helps slow down digestion. Which means snacking on a cup of them won’t spike your blood sugar. Experts say they have a GI of 40 to 53.
Had enough blueberries? Try cherries instead. With a GI of just 20, when they’re in season they’re perfect for satisfying your sweet tooth without sending your blood sugar soaring.
Coffee fan? Go right ahead and indulge that craving. Your cup of Joe has a GI of 0. (Yes, ZERO!)
Just be sure to stick to black coffee, or add a splash of cream and some stevia if you prefer. Fancy coffee drinks from your local coffee shop, on the other hand, are swimming in blood-glucose-spiking sugar. Avoid them at all costs.
4. Dark chocolate:
Just because you’re watching your blood sugar, doesn’t mean you have to swear off chocolate completely. Experts say indulging in a bit of dark chocolate from time to time won’t spike your blood sugar. In fact, studies show dark chocolate can help your body use insulin more effectively, protecting you from blood sugar spikes and crashes.
Dark chocolate made with 70 percent cacao or higher has a low GI rating of 23. Which means it’s a great way to calm your cravings without breaking the blood-sugar bank. For a special treat, try melting a square of two in a cup of hot milk (GI of 31) for a satisfying cup of healthier hot chocolate.
Delicious? Check! Nutritious? Check! Won’t spike your blood sugar? Check!
Hummus, made with chickpeas, has a stunningly low GI score of 6. Which makes it the perfect choice when you’re craving something creamy, smooth and satisfying.
A serving size is 30 grams, or a bit over an ounce. Scoop it up with pepper, celery or carrot slices to satisfy a craving for something crunchy too.
When you’re craving a crunchy, salty snack few things satisfy as well as freshly popped popcorn. And lucky for us, as long as it is prepared the right way, popcorn makes the cut when you’re looking for a snack that won’t spike your blood sugar.
Air-popped popcorn is a whole grain, high fiber food and it just squeaks into the healthy snack category with a GI rating of 55. Just be sure to skip the unhealthy microwave version.
Air pop your corn kernels, or pop them on the stovetop in coconut oil, instead. Save it for a “sometimes” snack. And stick to one cup (two tops) for a serving.
Choosing low GI foods that won’t spike your blood sugar are a great way to satisfy your cravings, without harming your health. But don’t forget portion size is important too.
And keep in mind since everyone’s body reacts differently you should keep an eye on how each of these lower GI foods effects your own numbers.