What are healthy snacks for people with diabetes?

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

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.

Jessica Crandall
Nutrition & Dietetics Specialist

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.

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.

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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.