Eating on the Go When You Have Type 2 Diabetes
At the vending machine:
Most vending machines are full of sodium and sugar. The standard package of crackers with peanut butter or cheese would seem like a safe option, but “they have so little protein that they end up just being carbs,” Smithson says.
Your best bet: Nuts. “They’re low in carbs, contain protein, and are a healthy source of ‘good’ mono- or polyunsaturated fats,” Smithson says. Careful, though: Many vending machines will carry a large package, when 1 ounce -- about 18 cashews or 28 peanuts -- is all you need.
Inside the convenience store:
While they don’t have the array of options that a grocery store does, convenience stores do offer some good choices, especially in the refrigerated section.
Your best bet: “Try a pack of veggies and dip,” says Alison Massey, RD, director of diabetes education at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore. “Most veggies are low in calories but also low in carbs, so they’ll cause a minimal rise in blood sugar. Plus they’re a great way to get vitamins and minerals in your diet.”
Other options: a tennis-ball-size piece of fruit or a small container of plain yogurt.
At the coffee shop:
Need a midmorning or late afternoon pick-me-up? So long as you skip the specialty coffee drinks that can be loaded with sugar, it’s OK to indulge.
Your best bet: Keep your drink order simple: “unsweetened tea, caffé Americano, or a ‘skinny’ flavored latte that uses sugar-free syrup and low-fat milk,” Massey says. “The calories and carbs are often much lower than the original version; but check the nutrition facts to be sure.”
At your desk:
The biggest challenge of eating away from home? “Realizing that healthy eating requires planning ahead,” says Lori Zanini, RD, certified diabetes educator for HealthCare Partners in Los Angeles.
Keep a stash of healthy fixings at work.
Your best bet: “If you’re more than 5 hours out from your previous meal, aim for a snack that pairs one serving of carbohydrate (15 grams) with a serving of protein,” Zanini says. Try a small apple with a tablespoon of natural peanut butter; 2 tablespoons of raisins and 1/4 cup of almonds; 3 cups of air-popped popcorn and a handful of roasted pecans; or a natural peanut butter sandwich on whole wheat bread.