Snacking Smart with Diabetes

When you are managing your diabetes or working to prevent its’ onset, planning meals and snacks is always important. For some people, when they think of snacks, it is automatic to think only of those foods high in fat or sugar. But there are so many more options that are good for you and taste good too. Snacks have the dual effect of curbing those hunger pains while adding that extra boost of energy to the day’s eating. So choosing foods wisely is important.

There are 5 characteristics of healthy snacking which apply to both those with diabetes and those who are trying to prevent it. These are adequacy, balance, calorie and fat control, moderation and variety. Together with your daily meals you can build a nutritious diet all day long. When you are considering a snack, remember it is a perfect opportunity to add extra servings of fruits, vegetables or whole grains. These food groups are lower in fat, calories and sugar compared to typical snacks like chips and sweets. They will help to fill you up, not out and give you that extra energy you need.

When you are planning your snacks, remember portion sizes are the key to controlling your blood glucose and your weight. Packing the right snacks from home can keep you away from those extras, available everywhere when you are out or the lure of the vending machines!

Here are a few snack ideas for you to consider. The total carbohydrates are listed for those controlling their intake while managing their diabetes

Snacks with less than 5 grams of carbohydrate 

• 3 celery sticks + 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter

• 5 baby carrots

• 5 cherry tomatoes + 1 Tablespoon LF ranch dressing

• 1 hard-boiled egg

• 1 cup cucumber slices + 1 Tablespoon LF ranch dressing

• ¼ cup of fresh blueberries 

• 1 cup of salad greens, 1/2 cup of diced cucumber, with vinegar and oil

• 1 frozen sugar-free popsicle

• 1 cup of light popcorn

• 2 saltine crackers

• 10 gold-fish crackers

• 16 green olives

• ½ cup sugar-free gelatin

• 1 piece of string cheese stick

• 2 Tablespoons pumpkin or sesame seeds

• ¼ of a whole avocado (~4 g.)


About 10-20 grams of carbohydrate 

• ½ cup almonds or other nuts

• ¼ 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)

• ¼ cup cottage cheese + ½ cup canned or fresh fruit 

• 1 cheese quesadilla (made with one 6-inch corn or whole wheat tortilla + 1 oz shredded cheese) + ¼ cup salsa

• 2 rice cakes (with a 4-inch diameter) + 1 Tablespoon peanut butter

• 5 whole wheat crackers (or ¾ oz) + 1 piece of string cheese 

• ½ turkey sandwich (1 slice whole wheat bread + 2 oz turkey + mustard)

• ½ cup tuna salad (with LF Mayonnaise) + 4 saltines 

About 30 grams of carbohydrate 

½ peanut butter sandwich (1 slice whole wheat bread + 1 Tablespoon peanut butter) + 1 cup milk 

• 6 oz light yogurt + ¾ 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 + ½ cup fat-free milk 

• 1 medium banana + 1 Tablespoon peanut butter