Smart and Healthy Snack Ideas for Diabetics

September 20, 2012
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For diabetics, snacking is crucial to maintaining energy levels throughout the day. Because they can stabilize or quickly boost blood sugar levels, planned snacks help diabetics prevent hypoglycemia, manage weight, and curb hunger.

For diabetics, snacking is crucial to maintaining energy levels throughout the day. Because they can stabilize or quickly boost blood sugar levels, planned snacks help diabetics prevent hypoglycemia, manage weight, and curb hunger.

If you or your loved one is diabetic, choosing the right snacks is important. Diabetics should stay away from high-calorie, high-fats foods to avoid rapid spikes in blood sugar which could damage to blood vessels in the body. Those with diabetes should look for foods with a low-glycemic index to supplement meals, such as whole grains, fruits, and vegetables.  In general, snacks containing between 15 and 30 grams of carbohydrate and 100 to 200 calories are recommended, however make sure to consult with a registered dietician and your physician to create a plan customized to your individual needs, weight loss goals, and medications.

So, yes, you can snack if you have diabetes! Here are smart and healthy snack choices for those with diabetes that have the seal of approval from diabetes educators, nutritionists and the American Diabetes Association.

Free Foods or Snacks with less than 5 grams of carbohydrate

Free foods are those that contain less than 5 grams of carbohydrate and less than 20 calories and 5 grams per serving. According to the American Diabetes Association, diabetics can include up to three servings of free foods a day without having to count those carbohydrates

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in your meal plan.

  • 1 piece of string cheese
  • ¼ cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 hard boiled egg
  • 3 celery sticks and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • ¼ of an avocado
  • A frozen, sugar-free popsicle

Snacks with about 10-20 grams of carbohydrate

One carbohydrate serving contains 15 grams.

  • A small apple or orange (2.5 inch diameter)
  • ½ cup of nuts
  • 1 cup of vegetable soup
  • Light popcorn, 3 cups popped
  • 3 saltine crackers with 1 oz of cheese
  • Mixed berries, 1 cup

Snacks with about 20-30 grams of carbohydrate

If your diabetes meal plan allows for a 30 gram carbohydrate snack, here are a few additional options: 

  • 1 medium banana and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 1 English muffin and 1 teaspoon of low fat margarine
  • 1 small pear
  • 8 oz of low fat chocolate milk
  • Low fat, Fruit-flavored yogurt (6 oz)
  • 1 cup cereal with ½ cup milk

Are you or is someone you love a diabetic? What health diabetes-friendly snacks would you recommend to others?