How to overcome energy dips

Energy dips are most often experienced mid-afternoon. You may have rushed to the vending machine and grabbed a chocolate or packet of crisps in the past. But read what Tammy Jardine has to say first before grabbing that snack.

There is a myriad of reasons for energy dips that make you feel like you have hit a wall that you can’t climb, and if you have diabetes it’s important to see if you really are having a blood glucose dip before noshing on that high-energy snack.

Feeling fatigued can be related to eye strain, dehydration, stress and tension, hunger, illness, low blood pressure, low blood glucose and high blood sugar.

Test your glucose levels

If you have diabetes, it is important to test your blood glucose to double check what is happening. Your blood glucose reading will determine what kind of snack to choose.

If your blood glucose is lower then normal then choose a carbohydrate snack but if it normal or high then choose a snack that is low in carbohydrate.

Most people with diabetes may be able to tolerate 15g of carbohydrates for a snack. Having more carbohydrate between meals often will mean that your blood glucose is high before the next meal.

If you typically have low blood glucose before meals or experience hypos during the day, you should have a carbohydrate snack of 15g between meals.

If you do not have hypos or drop blood glucose quickly between meals then you should stick to low carbohydrate snacks (less than 5g carbohydrate).

You may also need a carbohydrate snack if you have a very long gap between meals.

Carbohydrates per portion food label

Use the food label to determine the amount of carbohydrates per portion. Choose natural foods as snacks as often as possible.

Snacks options containing 15g carbs

Snacks containing less than 5g of carbs

1 small apple (6,5cm diameter)

100g low-fat fruit yoghurt

4 Salticrax crackers

40g peanuts and raisins

2 cups popcorn

1 large carrot (7,5cm long) and 2 tablespoons hummus

½ an avocado

1 slice low-GI bread with butter or margarine or cheese

½ cup berries

100g double cream plain yoghurt

1 Salticrax cracker

40g peanuts

2/3 cup popcorn

1 stalk celery and 1 tablespoon hummus

Sugar-free jelly

Boiled egg


Cheese, cottage cheese, Laughing Cow cheese wedge


¼ avocado


Tammy Jardine is a qualified diabetes educator and a registered dietitian. Living with diabetes for over 15 years means that she knows first-hand how difficult it can be to achieve and maintain optimal blood glucose control with good lifestyle habits. She believes that diabetes affects every person differently and takes the time to understand how it’s affecting the individual and to help them manage it effectively. With more than 20 years of experience working as a dietitian in the UK and SA, she has a passion for helping people live a better and happier life with good food. Tammy currently works from Wilgeheuwel hospital.

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