The right snacks can play an important role in a diabetes meal plan, helping to provide the choices that keep blood glucose levels steady. The key is to recognize that snacks are part of the daily meal plan, and need to be counted for their carbohydrate content etc. This means that, as with every part of a diabetes meal plan, portion control is vital when it comes to snacks.
Let’s take a look at some snacks to choose more often, along with some others to choose on a more occasional basis. We'll focus on helping you finding healthy diabetic snacks on the run.
Snacks to choose more often
Snacks can provide a great opportunity to include another serving of healthy whole grains, vegetables or fruits. Compared to common sweet or salty snacks, these foods are lower in fat and calories and will help provide much needed energy.
Low carb snacks include:
- Carrot or celery sticks or sweet pepper slices– good to dip in low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter
- Cucumber slices, cherry tomatoes or halved raw mushrooms, served with a tbsp. of ranch dressing
- ¼ avocado
- 1 hard-boiled egg
- 1 cup light popcorn
Snacks with up to 20 grams carbs, include:
- 5 whole wheat crackers with 1 string cheese stick
- 1 small orange or apple
- 1 small frozen banana
- ¼ cup frozen blueberries or grapes
- Raw veggies dipped in hummus
- Pear or apple slices with ¼ cup low fat cottage cheese
- ½ cup nuts
- 2 rice cakes plus 1 tbsp. peanut butter
- 2 slices lean turkey on ½ a bagel
- 1 cup water-based low sodium soup like chicken noodle
Good snacks before exercise
Prior to physical activity, an individual with diabetes may be advised to seek out snacks that are higher in carbohydrates. These could include:
- ½ a tuna or peanut butter sandwich, made with whole wheat bread
- ¾ cup whole grain cereal with fat-free milk
- 1 banana plus 1 tbsp. peanut butter
Snacks to eat less often
The following types of snacks provide minimal if any nutrients and have higher carb content. They should be reserved for occasional indulgence only:
- Salty snacks (e.g. potato chips, salty crackers)
- Snacks with fats and trans fats (e.g. cookies, donuts, store-bought muffins, processed meats such as pepperettes)
- Cakes and candy
Planning ahead makes it easier to stick with healthier snacks. Reduce the vending machine temptations by packing prepared raw veggie sticks and low-fat cream cheese or peanut butter for dipping. Keep low-sodium chicken noodle soup on hand for use in the workplace microwave.
Do you have additional ideas for healthy snacking? We would love to hear them in the Community Forums section of the website.