6 Weirdly Amazing Food Combinations You Must Try

When it comes to diabetes, what you eat is very important. But, it isn't always easy to come up with inventive and tasty snack and meal options that are actually filling and nutritious. Sometimes you need to get creative. These are some of my all-time favorite patient "confessions." Each pairing is oddly delicious and healthy. Perhaps you can give some of these a try.


Peanut Butter and Carrots

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Many people with diabetes believe that they are not "allowed" to eat carrots because they are too high in sugar. While some of the carbohydrates in carrots do come from sugar, carrots are also rich in fiber, Vitamin A, Vitamin C, Vitamin B6, and folate (to name a few).

Sure, you can't eat the whole bag, but a serving or two will definitely keep you full and provide a huge nutrition punch. And, if you pair carrots with protein (like peanut butter), the digestion process is slower so your blood sugars won't raise as quickly.

One serving of carrots: (1 medium sized about 7 inches long or 7 medium baby carrots) has about 30 calories, 0 g fat, 7 g carbohydrate, 2 g fiber, 5 g sugar 2 g protein. If you are eating this as a snack keep your portion to no more than two servings so that you are eating about 15 g of carbohydrate and less than 15 g of sugar (less than a serving of fruit).

Drizzle some organic peanut, almond or other nut butter alternative for a savory/sweet treat. The combination of healthy fat, protein, fiber, and crunch will keep you full and satisfied.


Hummus and Apples

Hummus is a dip made from chickpeas and tahini (sesame seed paste). It is naturally rich in healthy unsaturated fat as well as filling fiber. Fiber is an important nutrient when it comes to diabetes and losing weight because it can help to increase that feeling of fullness and slow down how quickly blood sugars rise.

In combination with apples, this snack can be doubly filling. While apples do contain carbohydrate, they are also rich in nutrients. Be sure to choose an apple that is portion controlled—about the size of a tennis ball. To keep calories at bay, measure your hummus for a filing, yet nutritious snack.


Sardines, Capers, and Tomato Sandwich

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Don't knock it until you try it. Sardines, specifically Pacific wild-caught, are on the "Super Green List" put forth by the Monterey Bay Aquarium Seafood Watch. This means that they are low in mercury (they are at the bottom of the food chain which makes them naturally low in mercury), rich in omega-3 fatty acids, and are considered to be a sustainable fish.

Increasing EPA and DHA (omega-3 fatty acids) intake may be beneficial to people with diabetes, especially those with elevated triglyceride levels or with a history of heart attack.

Sardines are naturally carbohydrate free too, which means they will not increase your blood sugars. Pair them with tomatoes and capers for a low carbohydrate meal option or place them between two slices of whole grain bread for a carbohydrate controlled lunch or dinner.


Brown Rice Crackers With Almond Butter and Jalapenos

Sound like a pregnancy craving? It very well could be, but it's also delicious, nutritious and carbohydrate controlled. Studies have shown that spicy foods such as jalapenos, which contain capsaicin, may increase metabolism temporarily, which is a benefit for those trying to lose weight.

In combination with brown rice and almond butter this snack or lunch packs in protein, whole grains, fiber, and healthy fats.


Sliced Pear With Low-fat Greek Yogurt and Hot Sauce

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It might seem odd when people put hot sauce on "random" things, but this combo seems to work. It is a nutritious, portion controlled snack. 

A small pear (the size of a tennis ball) has about 4 grams of fiber and 15-20 g of carbohydrates. Pears are also rich in vitamin C and water content.

Low-fat Greek yogurt is rich in calcium, protein and is naturally lower in carbohydrate than regular yogurt. The yogurt goes through a straining process which removes some of the lactose.

So how can you put this together? Layer low-fat Greek yogurt with chopped or sliced pear sprinkled with hot sauce for a spicy, sweet option. Increasing the heat in your diet may help to boost your metabolism and studies have shown that eating a lower carbohydrate, higher protein breakfast may help to reduce A1C and weight. This might serve as a good breakfast option, too.


Turkey Bacon and Grapefruit Lettuce Wraps

If you are looking for a low carb option, lettuce wraps are the way to go. This tart, salty combination is rich in protein and low in saturated fat. 1/2 of a grapefruit contains a mere 52 calories, 13 g of carbohydrate, and 2 grams of fiber, as well as 64 percent of your daily needs for vitamin C.  

While this food combination is delicious, it may not work for everyone. If you have a history of high blood pressure then aim to choose a lower sodium turkey bacon variety, as one slice can clock in as much as 200 mg of sodium. I also like to tell people to buy organic when they can.

Lastly, if you are taking a statin for your cholesterol you will likely need to avoid grapefruit altogether as this drug-nutrient interaction can be deadly.

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