Having diabetes does not mean that you must stop eating snacks. It does mean that you should know what a snack can do to your blood sugar. You also need to know what healthy snacks are. The best snacks for type 2 diabetes have no added sugar and combine protein and healthy fats with high–quality carbohydrates which is an ideal mix for keeping hunger at bay and blood sugar levels consistent. Snacks with no carbohydrates change your blood sugar the least. The healthiest snacks usually do not have many calories.
Read food labels for carbohydrates and calories. You can also use carbohydrate counting books. Over time, it will get easier for you to tell, how many carbohydrates are in foods or snacks. Some low carbohydrate snacks, such as nuts and seeds, are high in calories. Some examples of low carbohydrate snacks are:
- Celery sticks
- Peanuts (unsalted, not honey-coated or glazed)
- Sunflower seeds
Most often, your snacks will be easy to digest foods that have 15 – 30 grams of carbohydrates.
Here are some examples of snacks with around 15 grams of carbohydrate:
- 3 whole-wheat crackers (Triscuits) with 2 tbsp natural peanut butter = 15g
- 1 small pear and a small handful unsalted (12) almonds = 16g
- 6 ounces of plain, lowfat yogurt with sugar substitute = 12g
- 2 cups of popcorn with 1 tbsp butter = 12g
- 1/2 cup of sugar-free pudding = 12g
- 1/2 cup of no-sugar-added ice cream
- 1/2 cup of blueberries and 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese = 15g
- 1 small protein bar with around 15 grams carbohydrate
- 1 small apple with 1 tbsp peanut butter = 17g
- 1/2 turkey sandwich on whole-wheat bread with mayo = 12g
- 4 baby carrots, 4 celery stalks dipped in 5 tbsp hummus = 15g
Here are some examples of even lower (under 15g) carbohydrate snacks:
- Handful of unsalted almonds, walnuts, or pecans
- Celery stalks with natural peanut butter
- String Cheese
- 3 cups of light popcorn
- 1/2 cup of low-fat cottage cheese
- Hard- boiled egg
- Veggies and ranch or bleu cheese dip
- Sugar-free Jello with lite whipped topping
Snacks with about 30 grams of carbohydrate (good to eat before exercise)
- 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 margarine
- 3/4 cup whole grain, ready-to-eat cereal + ½ cup fat-free milk
- 1 medium banana + 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
Tips to remember:
- Know your portion sizes beforehand, and if you aren’t sure, use measuring cups and spoons!
- Don’t forget to count the carbohydrate into your overall meal plan!
- Avoid mindless snacking in front of the TV, reading, or while driving.
- Stock up on healthy options and avoid shopping when you are hungry to decrease temptation at the store.