Sunday, September 5, 2010

Health Time: Goodies for the Sugarless

Special thanks to Herbie and Marian for the title of this blog.

Diabetes, like most diseases, are profitable. There are several companies that specialize in diabetes-related food products, the most famous is Fifty50, a company that makes twenty-five different low or sugar-free foods and donates half of its profits to diabetes research.

Another newer company is Glucerna, who has a line of shakes, cereals and snack bars. They taste great, are low-calorie and low-carb and light and small enough to fit in you pocket. But there's just one little problem.

They're expensive. It's great that there's more readily available foods for diabetics but what would really help is reducing the sugar content of “regular” food. For eight mini-bars the price ranges from five to six dollars. That's roughly sixty-three to seventy-five cents per bar. And yes, I know there are much more expensive snacks but I'm on a budget.

So I started looking around and found some alternative snacks that are less expensive. They had to match three criteria:

Low calorie

Low carb


Hunts Snack Pack. Sugar-free gelatin and pudding. I tried the cherry, strawberry, and orange gelatins and the vanilla, caramel, and chocolate. The gelatin have only ten calories and two grams of carbohydrates while the puddings range from sixty to eighty calories and eleven to fifteen grams of carbohydrates. My favorite is chocolate but they all taste good. A four pack cost me one dollar, or twenty-five cents per snack.

Unsweetened Applesauce. Mott's makes a good one, if pricey at two-seventy for six making it sixty-three cents a piece. It's a good low calorie choice, having only fifty and just twelve grams of carbs. I usually go with the store brand for one seventy-nine for six or thrity cents a piece. There are also several good organic applesauce but they're a bit more, ranging from two thirty-nine to three nineteen for four individual serving cups or sixty to eighty cents apiece. Always look for weekly specials because sometimes you can find them three for five dollars.

Lance Toasted Peanut Butter Crackers. I love these, they taste great and are so portable I even took them with me to Japan. A word of caution; out of all the snacks I sampled these were the highest in calories, about one hundred and ninety with nineteen grams of carbs and eleven percents of your recommended serving of sodium for just six crackers. Half the calories are from fat alone as well. These are good for incredibly busy days with lots of physical activity or just before exercise. They can range from two eighty nine to a mere one ninety nine for eight packs or thirty-six to twenty-five cents for each snack. Again, go with the store brand when you can find them.

Now this is just my evaluation of packaged snacks for busy on the go days. You can make your own at home for lower carb, fat, and price yourself. Here are some examples I found on the American Diabetes Association website. (

Snacks with less than 5 grams of carbohydrate

  • 3 celery sticks + 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter

  • ¼ cup of fresh blueberries

  • 1 cup of salad greens, 1/2 cup of diced cucumber, and with vinegar and oil

  • 1 cup of light popcorn

About 10-20 grams of carbohydrate

  • ½ cup almonds or other nuts

  • ¼ cup dried fruit and nut mix

  • 1 small apple or orange

  • 1/3 cup hummus + 1 cup raw fresh cut veggies (green peppers, carrots, broccoli, cucumber, celery, cauliflower or a combination of these)

About 30 grams of carbohydrate (good to eat before exercise)

  • ½ peanut butter sandwich (1 slice whole wheat bread + 1 Tablespoon peanut butter) + 1 cup milk

  • 6 oz light yogurt + ¾ cup berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or a combination of these)

  • 3/4 cup whole grain, ready-to-eat cereal + ½ cup fat-free milk

  • 1 medium banana + 1 Tablespoon peanut butter

There are plenty of other snacks you can make so be creative! Try new food combinations and if you're not sure about portion sizes, have your measuring cups and spoons ready.

Thanks for reading!

Disclaimer: This is my personal experience and my own opinions. I'm not trying to treat or diagnose anything and the opinions I express are my own. This is all conjecture. I'm learning as I go so forgive any inaccuracies. This is a way for me to cope and focus my emotions into something positive. If you read this and recognize yourself in anything I've written about, please, talk to your doctor. Read some books. And never be afraid to scream, cry, or yes, laugh about being a diabetic. I'm going to.