By Marsha McCulloch, M.S., R.D., L.D.; Reviewed by Hope S. Warshaw, R.D., CDE, BC-ADM, 2011
When you have the munchies but no calories or carbohydrate grams to spare, get your fix with a free-food snack. A free food, as defined by the American Diabetes Association (ADA), is any food, drink, condiment, or seasoning that contains less than 20 calories and 5 grams or less of carb per serving.
ADA guidelines suggest you can eat up to three free-food servings per day without counting them in your diabetes meal plan. Do spread them out through the day. The small amount of carb they contain should have little impact on your blood glucose.
Before eating free foods, keep in mind that:
-- Eating three free-food snacks with about 20 calories each adds up to 60 extra calories, which could ultimately impact your waistline and efforts to lose weight if you include free foods every day.
-- Free foods, other than small amounts of some fruits and vegetables, contain few to no calories and minimal to no nutrition.
-- If chosen wisely, free-food snacks can enhance the flavor of nutritious foods while adding minimal calories.
The following slides give you free-food snack ideas to keep your stomach satisfied without ramping up your blood sugar.
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