One way to keep blood sugar stable is to eat every few hours. It’s kind of like thirst and dehydration, once you are thirsty, you are already dehydrated. Once you are hungry, it’s too late. Your blood sugar is starting to plummet. Again, the key is to keep it as stable as you can. You can achieve this through snacking. Not grabbing a bag of potato chips type of snacking, but through the following 4 intentional and nutritional snacking tips:
1. Eat every couple of hours.
Eating every couple of hours will allow your child/teen to keep his/her blood sugar stable. For some, “couple” will mean 1.5 hours, and for others it will mean 2.5 hours. The exact time is not as important as the idea to eat in between meals in order to maintain blood sugar.
2. You don’t want to be hungry when you eat.
This doesn’t mean you want to promote eating when your child/teen feels stuffed from the meal before. However, if they are starving, they are more likely to grab something convenient, which usually means “junk” food. It is important to communicate that balance of satiation when you feel you aren’t full, yet you aren’t hungry either. If your child/teen binges when they get home, then that balance hasn’t been achieved.
3. Be prepared.
Convenience is a factor. Students are usually starving when they get home from school, and they will eat whatever is around, easiest to consume and tastes best. Sometimes taste isn’t even a factor according to some teens. Mediocre works, revolting doesn’t. Talk with your child/teen (when he/she isn’t starving) about snack options so he/she is part of the process. Give them 2-4 options and have them ready to go. Your child/teen can also be part of the preparation like chopping vegetables, cleaning fruits or preparing their own trial mixes.
4. Offer choices.
Trail mix with superfoods-make your own by combining nuts (or not), goji berries, mulberries, golden berries, cacao nibs, hemp seeds, pumpkin seeds, sunflower seeds, etc.
Chia jam-mix 1 tablespoon of chia seeds with 1 cup of fresh or defrosted mashed fruit (organic if possible). Wait approximately 5 minutes and the mix will gelatinize into a fruity jam. Mamma Chia is a store bought option.
Smoothies or green drinks-have ingredients in fridge or freezer and ready to go.
Whole Fruit-berries, apples, etc.
Fruit with nut or seed butter
Cut vegetables plain or with salsa, hummus, tahini, or guacamole
If your child/teen loves chips, switch to lentil chips or terra chips, which are made with vegetables like sweet potato and parsnips. Jicama is a great root vegetable that can be sliced and eaten raw with the crunch of a potato chip as well.