These simple options, from salty to sweet, make handling your hunger a breeze while keeping your blood sugar in check.
Living with diabetes can make finding a healthy, good-tasting snack a challenge. You want to pick foods that won’t cause your blood sugar levels to spike.
What you’re eating and when you eat can affect how you feel, too, along with your blood sugar management.
The following are easy, fast, nutritious snack ideas to help get you started.
Nuts provide a good source of protein and healthy fats. These can help you feel fuller for longer and will not cause your blood sugar to spike.
Some good options include:
Just make sure to pay attention to serving size and carb counts. Also, beware of special flavorings added to some varieties of nuts — these may have added sugars.
Hard boiled eggs are easy to make and take with you to work or school or when you’re at home and want a quick snack. You can boil up a bunch of them so you have a snack ready to go all week.
Hard boiled eggs are a great source of protein, with one large egg providing about 6.3 grams. Protein may help prevent your blood sugar levels from spiking. Make sure to eat the whole egg — most of the nutrients are in the yolk.
Chickpeas are high in fiber and protein, which may help regulate blood sugar levels. They make a great addition to salads either straight from the can or roasted, but when you roast them, they become a crunchy snack that can replace chips or other less nutritious options.
Chickpeas are not low in carbs, so watch your portions and test your blood sugar after eating.
Trail mix is a great on-the-go protein snack for hiking, shopping, work, or school.
But store-bought trail mixes often contain dried fruits, chocolate, and other ingredients that may spike blood sugar.
You can make your own at home by combining your favorite nuts and seeds with a small amount of dark chocolate chips. Check your blood sugar after eating to gauge how much you can have while staying in range.
Egg muffins are simple to make and deliver protein and all the other goodness of eggs. All you have to do is:
Like other protein-rich foods, egg muffins can help you feel fuller for longer and not spike your blood sugar levels.
Sliced green or red bell peppers provide great nutrients and less than 5 grams of carbs in a 100-gram serving. You can combine them with your favorite low carb dressing or vinaigrette for a quick snack.
Dark chocolate-covered strawberries make a great choice if you’re craving something sweet. Strawberries provide you with a lot of vitamin C, and dark chocolate is naturally lower in sugar.
You’ll probably need to enjoy this treat in moderation, though. About 3–4 chocolate-covered strawberries contain 13 grams of carbs. Check your blood sugar to see how your body responds.
Beef sticks or jerky are protein snacks that can keep you feeling full without spiking your blood sugar levels.
Depending on how they’re made, though, they can be full of non-nutritious additives and added sugar, so check the labels.
Cottage cheese is high in protein and low in carbs. It makes a great addition to salads or fruits for a quick snack.
A cup of full-fat (4%) cottage cheese contains about 24 grams of protein and 7 grams of carbs.
If you want something sweet and low in calories, sugar-free gelatin can give you a fast fix. A single snack-sized serving of sugar-free gelatin contains about 90 calories and about 4 grams of carbs.
While good for when you want something sweet, keep in mind, gelatin isn’t very filling and has almost no nutritional value.
One of the easiest options if you’re looking to grab and go, string cheese doesn’t require portioning or prep. Opt for the full-fat version and pair it with chopped veggies or fruit for a filling snack.
Seaweed is a good source of protein and fiber, along with nutrients like iodine. Dried seaweed snacks can be eaten straight from the package or added to other foods. For instance, you can crumble a sheet of seaweed over popcorn instead of salt.
Plain Greek yogurt combined with berries makes for a healthy, quick snack.
Evidence suggests that yogurt and other dairy foods may help you manage your blood sugar levels. Berries are low in carbohydrates, high in fiber, and contain antioxidants that offer health benefits to people living with diabetes.
Just make sure to look for unflavored yogurts. The flavored ones often contain a lot of added sugar.
Apples and peanut butter provide an easy-to-make, sweet snack that may be kind to your blood sugar levels due to the combination of protein, fat, and fiber. You’ll also feel fuller for longer.
Avocado is high in fiber and good fats that have a protective effect on your heart. You can slice it up and eat it as-is, sprinkle on some lime juice, or serve it over a salad or low carb toast.
You could also mash it with lime juice and cilantro to create a quick guacamole.
Popcorn is a diabetes-friendly snack, with about 6 grams of carbs per 1 cup serving of air-popped popcorn.
You can make your own popcorn at home if you have an air popper. If you do not have one, you can also make it on a stove with a large, sturdy pan and a little oil.
Roll-ups are sandwiches without bread. To make them, start with slices of lunch meat and cheese, and add lettuce or other vegetables if you like. You can also use mustard or other low carb condiments.
Roll all the ingredients with the turkey or chicken as the outside layer and enjoy them on the go without making a mess.
One thing to keep in mind is that sliced deli meat is usually highly processed, so you may need to enjoy this snack in moderation.
Crackers and cheese is a really simple snack you can prepare quickly when you get hungry. It contains a good combination of fat, protein, and fiber.
You can choose low carb, high fiber crackers and any cheese you like, which also means there’s a lot of variety in this snacking option.
Chicken and tuna salad are great on their own, over greens, or as an open-faced sandwich on low carb bread.
If you decide on tuna, research in 2020 suggests that the omega-3 fatty acids may help improve blood sugar control and reduce inflammation.
Oatmeal is high in carbs, but it also contains a good dose of fiber. Fiber may help to slow the absorption of other carbs, and it can help you feel satisfied.
When choosing oatmeal, avoid flavored varieties. These often contain large amounts of added sugar. Instead, you can dress up your own oatmeal, adding some berries or peanut butter. Classic rolled oats or steel-cut oats generally have less of an effect on blood sugar than quick oats.
Caprese is a simple “antipasto” of fresh mozzarella, tomatoes, and basil leaves. All you have to do to prepare the snack is layer some fresh mozzarella slices and tomato slices on top of each other on a plate. A drizzle of extra virgin olive oil and a sprinkle of flaked salt is all you need on top.
The fat and protein from the cheese may help to slow the absorption of carbs into the blood and keep you feeling full longer.
For a fancy addition, you can try a shrimp cocktail. While usually served with cocktail sauce and large shrimp, check the carbs on the sauce label, as they sometimes contain added sugars. You may want to swap it for other options like fresh lemon juice or salsa.
About 4 to 5 shrimp contain a whopping 15 grams of protein. This makes it a very filling snack that may not cause your blood sugar levels to rise dramatically.
There are plenty of nutritious, filling snacks to choose from if you are living with diabetes. The key things to focus on are carbs (not too many) and fats, protein, and fiber (plenty) from whole, unprocessed foods.
Medically reviewed on August 17, 2023
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