There are times when I enjoy a snack before heading off to bed. I’m partial to a little bowl of cottage cheese or a piece of dark chocolate. The cottage cheese isn’t such a bad option, but the chocolate… With an estimated number of 492,000 adults in Missouri having been diagnosed with diabetes, a little bit of chocolate before bed is not a healthy option. (We can argue about the antioxidants and pure joy of chocolate some other time.) People with diabetes who have high blood sugar in the mornings need to find a way to keep their numbers in check. There are two things that contribute to this phenomenon of hyperglycemia in the morning:
- The dawn phenomenon. Between roughly 3:00 a.m. and 8:00 a.m., blood sugar levels surge as part of the process of waking up. This causes high blood sugar levels in the morning.
- The Somogyi effect. Glucose levels drop significantly between 2:00 a.m. and 3:00 a.m. The body responds by releasing hormones that raise blood sugar levels again. It can release too much of these hormones, leading to high blood sugar levels in the morning.
There are some snacks though that might help keep blood sugar levels from going off the rails. Tracking blood sugar is the first step, and people with diabetes should work with their dietitian to determine if an evening snack might help. (If you are diabetic and do not have a dietitian, contact the Jefferson County Health Department to see what options are available: 636-797-3737.)
Possible snacks to help levelize blood sugar overnight are those that have few carbohydrates, are high in protein, and contain healthy fats.
This seems like it makes sense, but then what are your options for snacks?
An article in Medical News Today has some great recommendations. Below are a few, but you should check out the article for other options too.
- Nuts-raw or roasted, but check the ingredients to see if oils are added. Also, watch the sodium amounts. Nuts are a better option than the corresponding butters because peanut butter, almond butter, and others generally have added sugar and oils.
- Boiled eggs-I like this option, but it takes some advanced planning. You could boil a half dozen or so on the weekend, and store them in the fridge to snack on throughout the week.
- Low-fat cheese or unprocessed cheese-I recommend mozzarella, ricotta, or Swiss.
- Baby carrots, cherry tomatoes, or cucumber slices-good because the caloric intake is minimal for a generous portion. There’s also some very beneficial fiber in fresh vegetables. I might need to pair this with a bit of cheese or hummus though!
- Roasted chickpeas-again, some planning is required. I normally have canned chickpeas in my pantry because I like to randomly make hummus. I have roasted some though, and they are delightfully crunchy. They are also a great source of protein and fiber! Check out this recipe for a spicy version.
Remember to check with your doctor and dietitian if you are diabetic and have blood sugar surges early in the morning. Talk to them about healthy snacks that might help keep those in check.