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Healthy Eating

The #1 best snack for your blood sugar, according to Dietitian

The best snack to eat if you’re looking to stabilize your blood sugar levels—and it’s a surprisingly easy one to grab.

It’s no secret that controlling your blood sugar levels is important, particularly for those who are prediabetic or managing a diabetes diagnosis. Unsteady blood sugar levels over time have even been linked to heart disease, vision loss, and kidney disease. Given that food directly impacts blood sugar, choosing what to eat can seem daunting—even when it comes to picking an afternoon snack.

Nonetheless, health experts do recommend snacking for steady levels, particularly snacks that have a healthy balance of macronutrients. We asked Lisa Young, PhD, RDN, author of Finally Full, Finally Slim and a member of our medical expert board, to share with us the best snack to eat if you’re looking to stabilize your blood sugar levels—and it’s a surprisingly easy one to grab.

“The best snack for your blood sugar is an apple with your favorite nut butter,” says Young. “The fruit provides fiber and the nut butter provides protein and fat, the perfect combination to keep your blood sugar steady.”

1. Apple nutrition facts

One medium-sized apple (200g) provides 104 calories, 0.5 grams of protein, 27.6 grams of carbohydrates, and 0.3 grams of fat. Apples also provide fiber, potassium, and vitamin C. The nutrition information is provided by the USDA. Red, green, or other varieties of apples are all very similar in their calorie and nutrient profiles with only very slight differences in calories, fiber, etc.

Calories: 104
Fat: 0.3g
Sodium: 2mg
Carbohydrates: 27.6g
Fiber: 4.8g
Sugars: 20.8g
Protein: 0.5g
Potassium: 214mg
Vitamin C: 9.2mg
Vitamin A: 6mcg

Carbs: A medium apple has 27.6 grams of carbohydrates, with 4.8 grams of fiber and almost 21 grams of natural sugar. Apples have a low glycemic index between 34–38.

For peeled apple nutrition differences, you can expect the fiber to be substantially reduced. According to the USDA, an apple with skin removed has 1.5g of fiber instead of nearly 5g with skin on.

Fats: There is less than 1/2 gram of fat per medium-sized apple.

Protein: Apples are low in protein. A medium apple has just a 1/2 gram of protein.

Vitamins and Minerals: Apples are a good source of potassium and beta carotene. They provide some vitamin C, folate, magnesium, and calcium.

Calories: A medium, raw apple provides 104 calories. A small apple (165g) provides about 165 calories and a large apple (242g) provides 126 calories. A one-cup serving of apple slices provides about 65 calories.

The #1 best snack for your blood sugar, according to Dietitian

2. Protein, fat, and fiber keep your levels steady

It’s important to get a sufficient amount of the three major macronutrients in your diet—carbohydrates, protein, and fat. However, eating a high amount of carbohydrates is what causes your levels to rise because carbs convert to sugar during digestion and get sent to the bloodstream. While reducing your carbohydrate intake does help with managing blood sugar levels, consuming enough protein and fat can also help with keeping glucose levels steady.

Protein has a minimal effect on blood sugar levels, according to Joslin Diabetes. Foods higher in protein can take up to four hours to be digested, which is a much slower process than carbohydrates. Fat (the healthy kind, like what you would find in nuts and nut butter) also slows down digestion, creating a delayed rise in glucose levels because it takes longer to digest.

While not technically a macronutrient, fiber is an important element of carbohydrates that also benefit those looking to manage glucose levels. Fiber cannot be broken down into sugar molecules, making high-fiber snacks a healthier choice for managing blood sugar.

3. Apple and peanut butter is a satiating combination

This winning combination of fiber, protein, and fat are all present when you snack on an apple with nut butter. The fiber comes from the apple—one medium-sized apple contains 4.4 grams of fiber, which is 17% of your recommended daily value (DV). If you choose peanut butter, you get an additional 2 grams of fiber in a serving (2 tablespoons) along with 8 grams of protein (16% DV) and 16 grams of fat (24% DV).

Although some health gurus would claim that almond butter is better for you, these two popular nut butters are nutritionally very similar. Almond butter will clock in a slightly smaller amount of protein (7 grams per 2 tablespoon serving) but a higher amount of fiber with over 3 grams. The fat count is the same.

Whatever type of nut butter you decide, it is still a powerful source of protein and fat that will complement the fiber-rich apple, keeping your blood sugar levels steady and leaving you feeling full for hours to come.

The #1 best snack for your blood sugar, according to Dietitian

4. Peanut butter nutrition facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 2 tablespoons (32g) of smooth peanut butter with added salt.

Calories: 190
Fat: 16g
Sodium: 136mg
Carbohydrates: 8g
Fiber: 2g
Sugars: 3g
Protein: 7g

Carbs: Peanuts butter is relatively low in carbohydrate. The carbs in a serving of peanut account for only 13% to 16% of their total weight, translating to a glycemic index (GI) of only 14. A serving of peanut butter is less likely to affect blood sugar than higher-GI foods like the white bread (75 GI per slice) used to make a PB&J sandwich.

Most of the carbohydrates in peanuts are complex, the type that the body breaks down gradually. Peanut butter has few of the simple carbohydrates that trigger spikes in blood sugar.

Even commercial peanut butter brands that add sugar tend to keep it to a minimum, adding no more than a gram or two to those naturally found in peanuts.

Fats: Although 16 grams of fat per serving may seem like a lot, most are “healthy” monounsaturated fat and polyunsaturated fat. Only around 4% is from “unhealthy” saturated fat, the type that can clog your arteries.

The monounsaturated fats in peanuts are primarily from oleic acid (which positively influences cholesterol levels), while the polyunsaturated fats are predominantly from linoleic acid (which helps build muscle). Peanut butter also contains significant amounts of omega-3 fatty acids, which are anti-inflammatory and associated with a reduced risk of diabetes and cardiovascular disease.

However, some commercial brands contain hydrogenated oils that stabilize the peanut butter and prevent the natural oils from separating and rising to the top. Unlike monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, hydrogenated oil does affect blood lipid levels, causing “bad” LDL cholesterol to rise and “good” HDL cholesterol to fall.

Protein: Approximately 35% of peanut butter’s total weight is from protein, making it a good source of plant-based protein. It provides 7 grams of protein per serving.

Vitamins and Minerals: Peanut butter is nutrient-dense and can help you meet your reference daily intake (RDI, or recommended daily amount) of vitamins and minerals. Peanut butter provides important B-complex vitamins as well as essential minerals and antioxidants.

Here is how 32 grams of peanut butter contribute to the RDI of key nutrients:

Copper: 43% of RDI
Manganese: 28% of RDI
Vitamin B3 (niacin): 25% of RDI
Iron: 22% of RDI
Folate: 20% of RDI
Potassium: 18% of RDI
Vitamin E: 18% of RDI
Vitamin B1 (thiamine): 17% of RDI
Magnesium: 14% of RDI
Vitamin B5 (pantothenic acid): 11% of RDI
Zinc: 10% of RDI
Vitamin B6 (pyridoxine): 9% of RDI
Unlike tree nuts, peanuts and peanut butter do not provide vitamins A or C.

Calories: Packaging often lists a single serving of peanut butter as 2 tablespoons (32 grams), roughly the amount needed to make a peanut butter sandwich. Like all other types of nut butter, peanut butter is high in calories, and has 191 calories per serving.

But the good news is that peanut butter packs a lot of nutrition into a small amount of food. And, because peanut butter can make you feel fuller faster, you don’t tend to eat a lot. What you do consume can support health.

5. Almond butter nutrition facts

The following nutrition information is provided by the USDA for 1 tablespoon (16 grams) of plain almond butter (no salt added).

Calories: 98
Fat: 9g
Sodium: 1mg
Carbohydrates: 3g
Fiber: 1.6g
Sugars: 0.7g
Protein: 3.4g
Vitamin E: 3.9mg

Carbs: Almond butter is very calorie-dense, with 98 calories per tablespoon. It contains only 3 grams of carbohydrate per serving, most of that from fiber (1.6 grams per tablespoon). The glycemic load of a 1-tablespoon serving is estimated to be 0.

Fats: There are 9 grams of fat in a 1-tablespoon serving. A small amount of the fat is saturated (just over 1 gram), but most of it is healthy monounsaturated (5.2 grams) and polyunsaturated (2.2 grams) fat.

Protein: Like other nut butters, almond butter is a good source of protein, with 3.4 grams per tablespoon.

Vitamins and Minerals: Almond butter is high in potassium, calcium, manganese, and magnesium. The sodium count will vary a bit based on whether or not the almond butter was made with added salt and how much is added during processing. Check the label on the packaging for sodium levels.

Almond butter is an excellent source of vitamin E. One tablespoon contains just under 4 milligrams, which is 26% of the recommended daily allowance (RDA) for the vitamin. Vitamin E is a fat-soluble antioxidant that helps the immune system function.

Calories: A one-tablespoon (16-gram) serving of almond butter contains 98 calories. Approximately 76% of almond butter’s calories are from fat, 13% from protein, and 11% from carbs. Almond butter is a calorie- and nutrient-dense food.

Source: Eatthis/verywellfit!

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