- Healthy Wraps
- Yogurt Parfait
- Nut Butter
- Boiled Eggs
- String Cheese
- Cottage Cheese
- Raw Veggies
- Cheese and Crackers
- Canned Fish
- Beef Sticks
- Chia Pudding
- Cereal Bar
In the past, snacks were considered an important way to stabilize blood sugar levels in people with diabetes. However, advances in medications, including insulin, make the need for frequent snacks less necessary. Eating too many snacks can actually cause your blood sugar to rise too much and might lead to weight gain.
Some people need healthy snacks to control their hunger between meals. A healthy diabetic snack can also help when taking medications. If you need to have a snack, it’s important to choose one with a mix of the right nutrients: protein, fiber, and healthy fats. These nutrients keep you fuller and help control your blood sugar levels. Not only that, they’re good for your overall health, too.
If you’re looking for some healthy snacks for diabetes, these 22 items have the right balance of nutrients and won’t raise your blood sugar levels. Most importantly, they’re delicious too.
A wrap makes a good snack choice since it’s versatile and can be filled with healthy ingredients. Start with a 6-inch whole-wheat tortilla and add a protein, like lean turkey, a slice of cheese, or hummus. Add some greens, like spinach or arugula, since these veggies contain several essential nutrients. You can also put some avocado in your wrap for some healthy fats.
Once you have your desired ingredients, wrap the tortilla tightly, and it’s ready to eat.
Yogurt, especially Greek yogurt, is a great healthy snack since it’s full of protein, calcium, and vitamin D. Calcium is important for bone health and may help you sleep better. The high protein count in Greek yogurt helps you stay full, especially if you need a snack at nighttime to get through until the morning.
For extra flavor and nutrients, top off half a cup of plain nonfat Greek yogurt with some berries and either nuts or seeds.
Nuts are another excellent snack choice since they contain protein, fiber, and healthy fats. When choosing a diabetic snack, avoid salted or fried nuts. Since nuts are high in fat, stick to just a handful, especially if you are trying to maintain your weight.
There are many kinds of nuts, and each type has health benefits. Here are three healthy options that make for great snacks:
- Walnuts: full of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids
- Almonds: a good source of calcium
- Brazil nuts: a good source of selenium, a mineral that is an essential nutrient
Just like nuts, nut butter is also one of the best snacks for people with diabetes. They are low in carbs and high in proteins and can be eaten in several different ways. Be sure to read the label on your favorite nut butter to ensure no added sugars or oils. Some good nut butters to try are peanut, almond, or cashew.
Some healthy snacks that you can make with a tablespoon of peanut butter or other nut butter include:
- Ants on a log: celery sticks with peanut butter and raisins
- Apple slices with nut butter
- Half a sandwich: use one slice of whole-wheat bread and nut butter
- Two rice cakes with nut butter
Chickpeas, the main ingredient in hummus, are legumes that are high in protein and low in fat. They are also a good source of fiber. Studies show that people who eat an ounce of hummus during their meal had insulin and blood sugar levels up to four times lower than those who had a slice of white bread with their meal.
This creamy spread can be used in several ways, but it pairs great with raw, crisp veggies for a low-carb snack. Good veggies for dipping include sliced radishes, bell peppers, or cucumbers.
Plain popcorn is low in calories and fat and has modest levels of carbs. A 3-cup serving of popcorn has less than 150 calories and between 15 and 20 grams of carbs. If you want to add extra flavor, add a drizzle of olive oil to your popcorn, as long as you’re mindful of the amount. You can also add a little seasoning, like Old Bay, Cajun seasoning, or salt and pepper.
Eggs had a bad reputation for a while but are now becoming recognized for all of their health benefits. They are high in protein and choline and almost no carbs, so your blood sugar shouldn’t rise much after eating them. Hard-boiled eggs are portable and make a great snack you can eat on the go. You can eat one or two sprinkled with salt or pepper if you need extra flavor.
Dairy products are full of protein, and low-fat varieties are even better. One string cheese stick has less than 5 grams of carbs, so it won’t raise your blood sugar. You can pair string cheese with another light snack like a small piece of fruit or a few crackers if you’re still hungry.
Cottage cheese is high in protein and low in carbs and has several vital nutrients, like calcium. Some studies show that eating full-fat cottage cheese may help to lower your blood sugar. You can eat cottage cheese by itself or topped with fruit.
Raw veggies are low in calories and carbs. Baby carrots have a low glycemic index score and are a popular healthy snack choice. Try cucumber, celery, or cherry tomatoes paired with hummus, Greek yogurt, or nut butter for extra protein.
Plain or roasted chickpeas are high in protein and low in fat. Legumes offer lots of vitamins and minerals and are also low in carbs. A quarter of a cup only has 75 calories and 9 grams of carbs. When roasting, add some of your favorite spices for flavor.
The best snacks for people with diabetes are whole, natural foods. Unprocessed fruit is low in calories, and many kinds are good sources of fiber to keep you full.
Half an avocado has less than 10 grams of carbs and is a good source of healthy fats. Avocado is high in calories, but they are from healthy fats. You can sprinkle on some seasonings for extra flavor.
Another great snack for diabetics is a piece of whole-wheat toast with mashed avocado. You can sprinkle on pumpkin or sunflower seeds for extra protein.
Like nuts, seeds are great sources of protein and healthy fats. Always opt for unsalted varieties, like pumpkin, sunflower, or linseeds, which are high in omega-3s and fiber. You can eat a small serving as is or top on yogurt.
Cheese and crackers
Low-fat cheese on whole wheat crackers is an excellent mix of proteins, fats, and whole grains. This pairing is also low on the glycemic index scale compared to full-fat cheese and plain crackers. While this is a great snack anytime, it’s a great choice to tide over late-night hunger.
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Edamame, like chickpeas or green soybeans, is a legume high in protein and fiber. Edamame is shown to lower blood sugar levels and help with insulin resistance. You can eat hot or cold beans and top them with seasonings, like salt and pepper.
Canned fish like salmon or tuna is full of protein and omega-3s. You can enjoy it alone or make half a sandwich using whole-wheat bread. Either way, you’re still getting a filling, low-calorie snack.
If you don’t like plain canned fish, make a quick tuna salad by mixing it with diced celery and red onion. Traditional tuna salad calls for mayo; you can use Greek yogurt, which has more protein and less fat.
Beef sticks are great snacks for people with diabetes since they are portable, high in protein, and low in carbs. This combo is essential for maintaining blood sugar levels. If you can, choose grass-fed varieties since they are higher in omega-3s.
Chia pudding is a portable snack that’s high in fiber, protein, and omega-3s. Chia seeds are proven to lower triglyceride levels, which helps with heart health. To prepare, soak chia seeds in milk overnight, and in the morning it will have a thick pudding-like consistency.
Cereal bars can be a good snack choice if you choose kinds that are low in sugar but high in fiber. Fruit and nut trail mix bars, fiber bars, and granola bars are all good choices.
A packet of instant oatmeal is a great way to get some whole grains and fiber. Oatmeal is also low in fat and calories. You can pair plain oatmeal with seeds or fruit for flavor. Be mindful of the sugar content in flavored varieties.
Sugar-free popsicle or gelatin
If you’re looking for something sweet after dinner, try a sugar-free popsicle or gelatin cup.
Health Solutions From Our Sponsors
American Diabetes Association: "25 Simple Snack Ideas," "What Can I Eat?"
Calorie Control Council: "Diabetes Myth Busting: Snacks are a Must."
Diabetes UK: "Healthy Swaps: Snacks."
Diabetic Me: "The Best Bedtime Snack for Diabetics - What is the best thing a diabetic should eat before bed?"
South Africans with Diabetes: "Ask The Dietician: are snacks a good idea?"
Tufts Medical Center Community Care: "Diabetes: Healthy Snacks."
University of Iowa Stead Family Children's Hospital: "Snack ideas for type 1 diabetes."
University of Michigan Comprehensive Diabetes Center: "Diabetes: Snack Options."
Virginia Diabetes Council: "The 21 Best Snack Ideas If You Have Diabetes."
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