Snacking and "Treating" with Diabetes

Ann Bartlett Health Guide
  • My husband came walking into the kitchen at 5:30 pm, chatting about something, when I turned around to catch him slicing part of a brownie to snack on. I became annoyed. Why the brownie? Of all the foods to eat, he picked something that really made me mad, but I wasn’t exactly sure why I was so mad. It’s not as if my husband has a weight problem, or diabetes, so how much harm can it do?  I have this same feeling when I watch some of my friends offer their toddlers sugary treats as a daily food option. Then it hit me. What’s the difference between a snack and a treat?



    Do people make a distinction between snacks and treats? I mean if he is eating brownies randomly during the day, is that a snack or a treat? I had made gluten-free brownies to get rid of the mix that has been sitting in our cabinet for over four years, and 24 hours later, half the brownies were gone. It wasn’t me that ate them, but my non-diabetic husband.

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    My husband’s family is probably more typical of Americans than my own. His mom was big on baking lots of cookies and pies. And, being from Ohio, she regularly made Buckeyes (a peanut butter ball dipped in chocolate that resembles the nut from the Buckeye tree). She also would add sugar to the water for cooking fresh sweet corn, and even her potato salad had a pinch of sugar. So, is it any wonder that my husband has a passion for sweet flavors?(And it's even harder to understand when I see how prevalent type 2 diabetes is in his family tree!)


    For me, treats are empty calories. Little is given back to your body in the form of good nutrition in terms of producing consistent energy for thinking, writing, or just about any task at hand during the day.


    To add to the “snack” confusion, people with diabetes are educated that if you are suffering from a low blood sugar, then grab a snack. So, do we grab a snack or a treat to kill a low?


    When I’m low, I usually treat it with juice, and I follow up with a protein, like nuts, or cottage cheese, or perhaps a lean meal like a homemade turkey wrap. If it’s a bad low, all of that goes out the window and I eat whatever sweet I have on hand. (For extreme lows, I like Swedish fish. While totally unhealthy, I have peace of mind that it works.)


    Between meals, my favorite snacks are nuts.  And, just like David Mendosa, I love almonds (albeit mine are roasted and unsalted). For me, real treats are occasional and indulgent and never form my snack routine. To tell the difference, the nutrition in the food determines whether it is a treat or a snack.


    How about you?  Are your snacks sometimes treats, or are your treats sometimes snacks?

Published On: November 08, 2013