I’m trying to break a bad habit. With Addison’s chronic fatigue is a symptom, especially in the afternoons as the stored cortisol levels from the morning dose are waning. I try to take a short nap or rest to combat the fatigue, but that really doesn’t help the low blood sugar, which itself is a response to low cortisol.
Waking up from these naps has become a trigger to stuff my face with the first available thing I can find in the kitchen. It doesn’t end well. For a man who looks routine and plans, I have terrible impulse control with snack food.
My little binges just continue the spiral as fistfuls of pita chips or pretzels are not going to raise my blood sugar, just the opposite really. To try to help myself stave off these afternoon binges (Dash will miss the sharing), I’ve recently tried hard to switch to higher protein, higher fat and lower glycemic afternoon snacks. The glycemic index gives you an indicator of your blood sugar’s response to eating a certain food.
Here are my 8 favorite afternoon snacks that help keep my blood sugar stable and keep me from turning into an irritable monster by the time everyone gets home for dinner.
1. Apple with Nut Butter
Unless it’s fall when just about any apple tastes pretty good, I’m buying Honeycrisps. Yes, a dozen cost almost as much as a month of day care, but is there anything worse than a bland or mushy apple. Just not worth the risk. The 16 pack of organic Honeycrisps at Costco is the best out of season price I’ve found. And it still makes me cringe. But at least I’m not cringing while I eat it.
I’ll typically slice up the apple and dip it into a couple table spoons of nut butter. Do not, I repeat, do not dip directly into the jar! It’s too easy to eat half a jar.
(Glycemix index: apple, 40 / nut butter, 40)
2. Whole grain pita with hummus
One of my rules in life is that everything tastes better wrapped in a pita or tortilla. I actually don’t need the tortilla to appreciate hummus, I love it on it’s own, but a warm tortilla or pita with hummus is a pretty good afternoon pick-me-up.
(GI: pita, 56 / hummus, 25)
3. Carrots with hummus
Carrots, like pitas or tortillas, are another near perfect hummus delivery system. I like to cut my own, but even those weird, lathed baby carrots work well, too.
(GI: carrots, 20)
4. Nut mix
For this one I make a concession to the modern grocery industry and go with the pre-portioned little bags or nut mix. It’s for my own good. Like the nut butter jar, if left alone in a room with a large bag or almonds or walnuts, I’m going to eat way too many, way too fast. I’ve come to accept that as a personal failing. I pay extra and get the big bag of little pre-portioned bags. My favorite is the nuts and chocolate mix from Trader Joe’s.
5. Plain yogurt with fruit
Typically this is Greek yogurt for me, and I’ll use my own fresh or frozen fruit to avoid the whopping amount of sugar they throw into the flavored yogurts.
(GI: yogurt, 12)
6. Edamame with sea salt
In the pods because it slows me down when eating. An important point for me as it allows my tummy to catch up to my awesome hand-to-mouth coordination in getting food in my mouth very quickly. No reason to over complicate things here, just add salt.
(GI: edamame, 18)
7. Popcorn with nutritional yeast
Avoid the weird chemicals and additives in the microwave varieties. Just cook plain popcorn in a pot with some salt and a little olive oil. If you’re really desperate, throw it in a paper bag and microwave it. Add some “nooch” for a little cheesy umami flavor.
No the best on the GI index, but sometimes you don’t want to fight it and you just want to cram your face with snacks. In those time, Orville Redenbacher to the rescue. You can eat a large mixing bowl size portion and still feel generally okay about your self-esteem. I love popcorn.
(GI: popcorn, 55)
8. Sweet potato
I’ve become mildly addicted to sweet potatoes recently. I don’t even do any fancy preparation. I’ll wash it, pierce it a few times and throw it in the microwave until cooked. Once done, I’ll split it in half and toast it a bit before throwing some salt on top. I’ll then sit at my computer and nibble at it like a hungry gopher while I work.
(GI: sweet potato, 50)
In summary, these eight afternoon snacks are currently filling my cupboards and helping me to avoid a post-nap insulin roller coaster. It’s only been a couple weeks, but I think it’s been helping me get through the afternoon and be a bit less cranky at dinner. So, I can then eat a pint of ice cream for dessert!