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Posts Tagged ‘Healthy Snacks’

I went to my dietician to find out what snacks I could eat, as a hypoglycemic, that are good for me, will keep my blood sugar even, and keep me full.

She really emphasized balancing carbs, protein, and fat in my snacks, so you’ll see that below. I had asked specifically for very portable snacks since I travel a lot.

Note: She had originally gave me 200 calorie snacks, but I was still hungry two hours later, so these are all around 230 to 240 calories. You may need to adjust up or down depending on your activity level (I burn 1,400 calories just resting each day).

 

 

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Recently, I was in Greece to check-out the sites and get in some much-needed relaxation.

Greek Yogurt is served over there, in some form, in breakfast (mostly in general yogurt format), lunch (Tzatziki sauce) and dinner (as a desert, with honey and chopped dried dates).  I have to say, the Greek Yogurt in Greece was WAY BETTER than what we have in the U.S. It was so rich and creamy.

Battle 1: Which Greek Yogurt, easily available in the U.S., is the closest to that in Greece?

This was a simple, easy battle. I walked into a typical Greek grocery store and looked at their yogurt section looking for any brands available in the U.S. Fage was the only one. In taste-testing the 0% and 2% versions of Fage, the 2% is the closest (still a touch too sour) to what we had in Greece. I’ve noticed that eating one of these for an afternoon snack keeps me full for hours, which is a miracle for me.

Battle 2: Lowest Added-Sugar Greek Yogurt

Milk naturally has sugar in it, about 7-8 grams naturally occur in an individual-size (7 oz.) Greek yogurt but that’s an ok amount, especially given the protein you are also getting at the same time. What’s not good, especially for hypoglycemics, but really everyone, is the ADDED sugar they put in them.

A sugar cube is 2.3 grams of sugar, so basically, for every 2 grams of additional sugar, you need to mentally picture another sugar cube.  Check out the sugar cube stacks for Yoplait yogurt as an example.

Obviously, plain Greek yogurt is going to have the least amount of added sugar (basically none), but most people want some flavor. What I’ve found is that the amount of sugar, even in just vanilla Greek yogurt, varies greatly depending on the brands. I had some fun at the grocery store and took photos of different brands and types, including one worst-case scenario. See the comments on each.

Baseline: Fage 2% no flavor is 7 oz. has 8 grams of lactose sugars and 20 grams of protein for 150 calories. This is without any added sugars (chocolate, honey, sugary granola, fruit, etc.). I recommend adding cinnamon vs. a sugar.


Yoplait Greek 100 Calorie Yogurt 4 pack vanilla 

Nutrition label for Yoplait 100 Greek Yogurt

Yes, it’s less calories and looks like a decent amount of sugar, but look at it closer; they messed with the serving size, it’s 5.23 ounces, so about 2 ounces less of yogurt. That explains why the sugars seem fine and the protein is low. I’m guessing this has about 1 sugar cube worth of sugar in it.

H-E-B Greek 100 Calories Vanilla Bean

My local store brand, also the cheapest.

H-E-B Greek 100 Calories Vanilla Bean

ALSO only 5.23 ounces, so much smaller. This has a lot less protein, but look at the sugar! There are at least 2 sugar cubs in this. Also, there are a lot of black dots in this yogurt, I’m thinking a lot of those aren’t vanilla bean seeds, vanilla bean seeds are pretty expensive.

Dannon Light & Fit Greek Vanilla

Dannon Light & Fit Greek Yogurt Vanilla

Also 5.3 ounces, this one tasted the most sugary to me, and I see why. It’s only 80 calories, but only 13 grams of protein and 9 grams of sugar, so I’d guess 2.5-3 sugar cubs in each of these. And you won’t be full.

Chobani Flip Almond Coco Loco Greek Yogurt

Worst case scenario right here, Chobani Flip Almond Coco Loco Greek Yogurt. It’s the same amount of ounces as the others, but remember about 1/3 of that is the toppings, so you’re actually getting a lot less yogurt. The protein is at 12 grams, but the sugar! Oh my! It’s 21 grams, which will definitely counteract the protein. I’m estimating that there are 7 sugar cubes in this.

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My work wellness coach believes very heavily in the coaching part of her job, which means she doesn’t want to give you advice, just “coach” you and motivate you to come up with your own solutions. The following is a general idea (this is meant to be humorous) of what went down during our call.

Her: What’s your goal for our coaching sessions?

Me: I need help adjusting my food to higher-protein, lower-carb options, while still getting a lot of vegetables in. I especially need help with finding high protein snacks for on-the-go. I’m bored with my current set of snacks.

Her: Ok, how could you find help?

Me: I can call you and ask you.

Her: How ELSE could you find help? What could you do on your own?

Me: Calling you, an expert is helping myself.

Her: What could you do OTHER than call me?

Me: I know what you want me to say, you want me to come up with ways to research this on my own and I get it, “help people help themselves.” But the reality is, I’m a highly motivated person and I’ve already done everything else. I’ve read diabetic magazines, searched the web for recipes, gotten on bodybuilder forums thinking they’d have a lot of ideas, interviewed friends, and more. Logically speaking, considering my efforts thus far haven’t been very successful, the next most logical actionable step is to seek the help of someone more educated than I, which is you. So, while I appreciate what you are trying to do the best way for me to help myself at this point is to seek answers directly from you, my wellness coach.

Her: (exasperated, mumbled off a few names of some recipe books, told me to eat more beans and said we’d check back with each other in a couple of weeks…which didn’t happen).

Ah well, back to the drawing board :-). To be fair, I’ve had other wellness coaches that helped me immensely and her approach is correct for a majority of folks, just not me.

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A photo of a counter and a fridge in a hotel room stocked with healthy food

This was my “stash” of food for four days in Nashville. Note: i got lucky and got a bigger fridge than most people do.

I’ve written before on travel tips for hypoglycemics and healthy eaters. But, to give you a solid photo example from a food perspective, this is my stash after unpacking and a grocery store run in Nashville, TN. Admittedly, this ended up being too much food (my friend who lived locally got the leftovers I couldn’t pack), but it gives you an idea of how I stock-up when traveling to avoid making poor food choices.

I was staying at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel, which is known for expensive and not-so-good food. With a per diem budget of $66 per day (translation: not enough) and crappy food all around me, I tried to eat as many meals in my hotel as possible.

Here’s the full list of what I brought with me:

– Dried cranberries

– Emerald 100 packs of nuts

– PB2

– Local Texas Honey

– Lean Body protein powder

– Optimum Gold Standard Casein Powder

– Trader Joe’s Rosemary Raisin Crackers

– Paper plates

– Silverware

– Small plastic cups for the protein powder

 

What I bought at the store (about $45 total):

– Bananas

– Apples

– Clementines

– Salad mix

– Carrots

– Green Beans

– Chobani Plain Greek Yogurt

– Quaker Oats individual oatmeal cups

– Goat cheese

– 9 Grain bread

– Raisins (whoops, forgot to pack those)

– Caramel rice cakes (which were YUMMMY in the Greek Yogurt)

 

From this, I was able to:

– Have a ton of hypoglycemic-friendly snacks

– Mixed greens salads with goat cheese (protein) and cranberries (carbs) with 2 slices of 9-grain bread (for carbs/calories)

– PB2 & honey sandwiches with carrots and green beans

– Avoid most other food costs

 

And yes…I still splurged on a KILLER BBQ meal at Jacks Barbecue.

 

 

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A cup of hot chocolate

Photo from Flickr Creative Commons: avlxyz

I was working an all-day training session and thus had to pack all my food for the day with me., including my protein powder. The conference center we were at was scare on regular water, but they had hot water. It dawned on me, could I make a hypoglycemic-friendly version of hot chocolate by mixing my Optimum Gold Standard 100% Casein Chocolate Supreme protein powder with hot water?

Turns out, yep! It was a little hard to mix-up the protein powder with the hot water (I swear the colder the water is, the better it mixes), but once I got it mixed, it actually tasted pretty good!

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Another reader question, from Megan (thanks Megan!), requested a hypoglycemic-oriented grocery list.

Here are the items I try to keep in stock at all times. On top of reviewing this list, I try to make one special meal each week, so I’ll make sure to add any addition ingredients needed for that recipe to my list.

Freezer section:

  • Chicken
  • Edamame
  • Frozen veggies (some starchy ones and some not)

Refrigerated section:

  • Milk (be careful if you pick something other than regular milk, check carbs/protein levels)
  • Greek Yogurt
  • Eggs
  • Goat cheese (I keep 2, 4 oz packs on hand)

General:

  • Couscous
  • Almond meal
  • Rolled oats
  • Coconut flakes
  • Individual boxes of raisins
  • Oyster crackers
  • Popcorn (not microwave)
  • Individual boxes of dried cranberries
  • Individual packs of nuts
  • Almonds
  • Clif bars
  • Protein powder
  • Olive Oil
  • Canola Oil
  • Black beans
  • Kidney beans
  • Whole wheat pasta
  • Elbow macaroni
  • Marinara sauce
  • Tomato sauce
  • Salsa

Spices:

  • Italian blend
  • Salt
  • Pepper
  • AllSpice
  • Chili powder
  • Red pepper flakes
  • Cinnamon
  • Vanilla extract
  • Multiple types of vinegar

Produce:

  • Bananas (I cut them in 1/2 and freeze them for use in smoothies)
  • Bananas (if I’m making the breakfast cookies)
  • Spinach (2 bags)
  • 3 cucumbers
  • 7 apples (one per day til I go back to the store)
  • Carrots
  • Some other fruit on sale, enough for at least one serving per day for an entire week

 

If you keep these items in stock, you’ll have all you need for the following recipes (plus ones  you make up on your own):

No sugar oat drop cookies (breakfast cookies)

Spinach, cranberry, goat cheese salad

Apple pie smoothie

Add beef or turkey to your grocery list and you’ll have everything, except the cheese, for this 30-minute chili mac

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This No Sugar Oat Drop Cookie recipe quickly became my go-to breakfast after a friend introduced it to me a few years ago. I go to the gym and then to work, so, because I’m hypoglycemic and because muscle repair is so important, I eat one of these and drink a glass of milk (much-needed protein) after my morning workout each day.

With all that said, I always wondered how the nutrition on them stacked up.

Below is the nutrition for them care of SparkPeople Recipe Calculator. As a side note, I happened to look at the coconut flakes I’m using and they are SWEETENED! Ugh! I’ll be looking for unsweetened next time.

 

Nutrition Facts 

User Entered Recipe 

  12 Servings

Amount Per Serving
  Calories 223.9
  Total Fat 10.3 g
  Saturated Fat 3.5 g
  Polyunsaturated Fat 2.0 g
  Monounsaturated Fat 3.9 g
  Cholesterol 0.0 mg
  Sodium 135.6 mg
  Potassium 250.7 mg
  Total Carbohydrate 29.6 g
  Dietary Fiber 3.4 g
  Sugars 15.9 g
  Protein 2.7 g
  Vitamin A 0.5 %
  Vitamin B-12 0.0 %
  Vitamin B-6 10.5 %
  Vitamin C 5.4 %
  Vitamin D 0.0 %
  Vitamin E 9.4 %
  Calcium 1.9 %
  Copper 5.5 %
  Folate 1.7 %
  Iron 5.8 %
  Magnesium 5.5 %
  Manganese 10.0 %
  Niacin 2.0 %
  Pantothenic Acid     0.9 %
  Phosphorus     3.4 %
  Riboflavin 4.0 %
  Selenium 0.7 %
  Thiamin 2.5 %
  Zinc 1.3 %

*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet. Your daily values may be higher or lower depending on your calorie needs.

 

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