Diabetic-Friendly Snacks

Sarah-Jane Bedwell, SELF magazine

Ever wonder exactly what a diabetic needs to eat to stay healthy and feel good? (In case you guys didn't know, today is World Diabetes Day.) So did I, so I chatted with my friend and colleague, Jill Weisenberger, MS, RD, CDE, author of Diabetes Weight Loss - Week by Week. And she gave me some delicious foods:

The same eats that help those with diabetes are just as good for those not afflicted with the disease. Chow down, ya'll.

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OATS AND BARLEY: These whole-grains contain a special type of fiber called beta-glucan, which helps to lower blood cholesterol and improve insulin sensitivity, which is critical for those with diabetes, but good for everyone, natch.

NUTS AND NUT BUTTERS:
These flavorful, protein-packed nomnoms have good-for-you fats, and since they're naturally low in carbs, nuts won't cause blood sugar to spike. And don't stick with just one type of nut--go for a variety. Each type has its own nutritional profile.

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EDAMAME: These beans are perfect for a high-fiber and high-protein snack, both which help keep blood sugar levels stable throughout the day. Edamame is quick to cook up, and you can even buy some frozen ones that are fully cooked and just need to be heated. Jill told me that she loves the ones in the pod because they're fun to eat. Just strip the pod through your teeth to release the delicious, nutrient-rich beans.

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CANNED BEANS AND DRIED LENTILS:
These are a great source of potassium, fiber and resistant starches. Resistant starch is a type of fiber that doesn't get absorbed, so it won't cause a spike in blood sugar levels. Plus, once it gets to the colon, beans can be fermented by the healthy bacteria in our guts. Bonus: You can wash away about 40% of the sodium in canned beans by draining and rinsing them. Jill recommends lentils because they are one of the few dried legumes that are quick to cook.

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