What are healthy snacks for people with diabetes?

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Carole Radney
Health Education
There are lots of snacks that I recommend for diabetics. For example, “ants on a log,” a snack of celery with peanut butter and raisins on it is a healthy snack for people with diabetes because celery is a non-starchy vegetable that doesn’t have many carbohydrates. Another healthy snack for people with diabetes is cucumbers topped with cream cheese.

You can also take bell pepper, scoop it out, fill it with store-bought spinach dip and roast it in the oven until it melts. Serve it with sliced peppers, carrots and celery.

Any type of nut is great for diabetics. Pistachios are great because you get a handful of those and by the time you're sick of cracking them, you're full.
Your snack should be one carb, which is 15 grams of carbohydrate. A carb is about the size of your fist, which gives you many different options such as a small apple, a handful of nuts or some string cheese.
 
Just remember to watch portion sizes. You can consider a small apple or a piece of fruit one carbohydrate, but a large apple may be two carbs. 
A healthy snack for someone who has diabetes should be 80-150 calories (and remember that snacks count toward your total calories for the day). Here are some ideas:
  • calorie-free snacks: salad greens, a cup of raw vegetables, frozen sugar-free popsicles, diet gelatin or broth.
  • very-low-calorie snacks: five saltine crackers, one rice cake with a tablespoon of low-fat cottage cheese or ricotta, a small fruit, one slice of lean turkey or a half-cup of sugar-free pudding.
  • low-calorie snacks: a toasted English muffin with sugar-free jelly, 12 baked tortilla chips with salsa, a cup of cereal with a half-cup of nonfat milk, half a sandwich made with lean turkey, a baked apple sprinkled with cinnamon or half a banana with peanut butter.
Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics
Snacks that are nutrient rich can be a great way to curb your hunger and control your blood sugar- make sure they are preplanned and try to take into consideration the carbohydrates, fiber and protein. I suggest looking for a snack around 15 grams of carbohydrates and then making sure it is a good source of fiber and protein such as wheat crackers and string cheese, cottage cheese and berries, nuts and a piece of fruit just to name a few examples.
If you have diabetes, regardless of how many snacks your meal plan includes, portion sizes are the key to controlling your blood glucose and avoiding weight gain. So, resist those trips to the vending machine -- plan ahead and pack a healthy snack! If you have diabetes, it is recommended that you eat foods with low carbohydrates. The following are healthy snacks that are low in carbohydrates:

Snacks with less than 5 grams of carbohydrate:
  • 3 celery sticks + 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 5 baby carrots
  • 5 cherry tomatoes + 1 tablespoon ranch
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 1 cup cucumber slices + 1 tablespoon ranch dressing
  • 1/4 cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup of salad greens, 1/2 cup of diced cucumber, and with vinegar and oil
  • 1 frozen sugar-free popsicle
  • 1 cup of light popcorn
  • 2 saltine crackers
  • 10 gold-fish crackers
  • 16 green olives
  • 1/2 cup sugar-free gelatin
  • 1 piece of string cheese stick
  • 2 Tablespoons pumpkin or sesame seeds
  • 1/4 of a whole avocado (4 g)
About 10-20 grams of carbohydrate:
  • 1/2 cup almonds or other nuts
  • 1/4 cup dried fruit and nut mix
  • 1 cup chicken noodle, tomato (made with water), or vegetable soup
  • 1 small apple or orange
  • 3 cups light popcorn
  • 1/3 cup hummus + 1 cup raw fresh cut veggies (green peppers, carrots, broccoli, cucumber, celery, cauliflower or a combination of these)
  • 1/4 cup cottage cheese + 1/2 cup canned or fresh fruit
  • 1 cheese quesadilla (made with one 6-inch corn or whole wheat tortilla + 1 oz shredded cheese) + 1/4 cup salsa
  • 2 rice cakes (with a 4-inch diameter) + 1 tablespoon peanut butter
  • 5 whole wheat crackers (or 3/4 oz) + 1 piece of string cheese
  • 1/2 turkey sandwich (1 slice whole wheat bread + 2 oz turkey + mustard)
  • 1/2 cup tuna salad + 4 saltines
About 30 grams of carbohydrate (good to eat before exercise):
  • 1/2 peanut butter sandwich (1 slice whole wheat bread + 1 Tablespoon peanut butter) + 1 cup milk
  • 6 oz light yogurt + 3/4 cup berries (blueberries, blackberries, raspberries, or a combination of these)
  • 1 English muffin + 1 teaspoon low-fat tub margarine
  • 3/4 cup whole grain, ready-to-eat cereal + 1/2 cup fat-free milk
  • 1 medium banana + 1 tablespoon peanut butter

Continue Learning about Diabetes

Diabetes

Diabetes mellitus (MEL-ih-tus), often referred to as diabetes, is characterized by high blood glucose (sugar) levels that result from the body’s inability to produce enough insulin and/or effectively utilize the insulin. Diabetes ...

is a serious, life-long condition and the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. Diabetes is a disorder of metabolism (the body's way of digesting food and converting it into energy). There are three forms of diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease that accounts for five- to 10-percent of all diagnosed cases of diabetes. Type 2 diabetes may account for 90- to 95-percent of all diagnosed cases. The third type of diabetes occurs in pregnancy and is referred to as gestational diabetes. Left untreated, gestational diabetes can cause health issues for pregnant women and their babies. People with diabetes can take preventive steps to control this disease and decrease the risk of further complications.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.