For so many years snacking has been vilified in the media as the simplest way to gain weight and over eat, but there’s a huge difference between snacking on the foods commonly assumed to be ‘snack foods’ like crisps and chocolate bars (and more recently healthier versions of the same: energy balls, protein bars etc), and snacking on real, whole foods that are savoury and protein rich.
You see, the thing that really gets me with ‘snacking’ generally, is that it seems to be yet another opportunity to consume sugar and raise our blood glucose levels. In my opinion there’s nothing wrong with a fatty, protein rich snack that will sustain you between meals and keep your blood glucose nice and stable and your metabolism and thyroid in tip top condition, but there’s a lot that’s wrong with the constant influx of sugar which puts us on a blood glucose rollercoaster throughout the day.
I caught up with Nutritional Therapist, Grace Kingswell, who has recently been tracking her blood glucose levels using a continuous blood glucose monitor, to get her thoughts on snacking.
“A healthy HbA1c (that’s a blood marker that is used to predict your likelihood for diabetes) with no risk for prediabetes is below 5.7mmol/L, so eating meals that spike well above that seems illogical to me. In my recent experience with the CGM I decided to test certain foods that I commonly see on my clients’ intake food diaries, porridge for breakfast, energy balls and ‘healthy’ treats, brown rice pasta bowls etc… the results were really shocking! I noticed that on the day that I had porridge for breakfast with fruit and honey and nut butter, not only did my blood sugar spike quite high (9mmol/L) but I really struggled to get a handle on things for the rest of the day too, despite then choosing to eat protein and fat for the rest of the day with a low intake of grains and sugar.
When your blood sugar is up and down throughout the day you can typically feel quite tired and drained, in need of a pick-me-up from caffeine or sugar, but it also contributes to PMS symptoms, poor sleep, mood swings and of course, there’s the risk that if you continually consume a lot of sugar that you may be at risk of prediabetes or even Type 2 Diabetes.
Snacking on food that doesn’t raise blood sugar excessively is completely fine, provided you’re getting enough movement in during the day too. I love the 8foods keto caramel shortbread, they are so fatty and delicious and I noticed very little change on my blood sugar graph after eating one. “ - Grace Kingswell, D.N.Med
So whether it’s because you exercise a lot, or because you’re eating regularly to make sure you’re properly nourishing your body, or whether it’s because you’re bored at your desk (yes, it happens to us all!) keto snacking could be a great option for you.
The key principles are to aim for protein rich, fatty foods as both protein and fat don’t raise blood sugar levels, but they do boost satiety hormone leptin, which makes you feel full. Carbohydrates, by comparison, don’t trigger leptin to be released, which is why you feel like you can just keep eating and eating!
So what are some healthy, low sugar, keto snacks? Here’s a quick round up of some of our faves:
Healthy Keto Snacks
Thanks to its low sugar content this Keto Raw Caramel Slice is a great addition to any low carb or keto lifestyle, and comes with a hefty dose of prebiotic fibre from chicory helping to keep your gut bacteria in tip top condition. Per shortbread slice: 2.7g Carbs, 1g sugar, 3.8g protein, 8.5g fibre.
This can also be made with full-fat Greek yoghurt if you tolerate dairy, which has the added benefit of containing a good amount of protein too. Coconut Yoghurt (my favourite is the CoYo brand as it has minimal ingredients and is also organic) is fatty and delicious, helping to keep blood sugar stable. Berries are a low sugar fruit, but come with a hefty dose of antioxidants and vitamins. Drizzle with some tahini or almond butter if you’re feeling extra hungry!
Rich, chewy, yet low carb and Keto-friendly, these coconut-based morsels are super chocolatey with a delicious hint of vanilla and sea salt.They are the perfect low carb, Keto treat, abundant in antioxidants, plus brain boosting MCT and the added benefit of all-important fibre to help keep you fuller for longer.
Or guacamole with 8foods kale or carrot seed crackers dipped in.
Deliciously crunchy, cheesy-tasting, but totally dairy-free kale crisps. A good-for-you snack that is gluten, wheat, dairy and refined sugar-free.
So there you have it, 10 simple, nutritious and filling keto snacks to try when hunger strikes!