by April Benshosan
Medically Reviewed by:
Amy Richter, RD
by April Benshosan
Medically Reviewed by:
Amy Richter, RD
Snacking can help keep your blood sugar levels steady and prevent you from overeating later in the day.
Choosing snacks comes with responsibility: Instead of reaching for just anything, opt for a snack that’s low in sugar and starch but high in protein, fats, and fiber. This balance of nutrients helps promote fullness and stable blood sugar levels.
Fiber, protein, and fats keep you fuller for longer because they digest slower than carbs, starch, and sugar — this helps prevent those rapid blood sugar spikes after eating.
Plus, the American Diabetes Association recommends prioritizing whole, unprocessed foods and snacks that are low in added sugars and sodium when possible.
So when you’re feeling peckish, make sure to prioritize whole foods and combine a bit of carbs with protein or fat for a nutrient-dense snack that will keep your blood glucose levels in check.
Below, find examples of some tasty low carb snacks for people with diabetes.
Pair apple slices with your favorite nut butter when you’re craving something crunchy and sweet. Slice a small apple and dip it into peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter. If you have a nut allergy, try sunflower butter, which is nut-free and made of sunflower seeds.
A small apple contains about 20 grams (g) of carbs, 4 grams of which are fiber. Nut and seed butter is a great source of protein and fats.
Eggs are a great source of healthy fats and protein — two nutrients you’ll want to prioritize in a diabetes-friendly snack. One large egg has 6.3 grams of protein and nearly zero carbs.
A 2011 study found that including eggs as part of a high protein, calorie-restricted diet may lower fasting blood sugar and HbA1c levels. Try sprinkling one or two hard-boiled eggs with salt and pepper for a quick snack.
Berries, such as raspberries, blueberries, and strawberries, are low in sugar and high in fiber, making them some of the best fruits to eat on a diabetes diet. Whole milk Greek yogurt is packed with protein and some healthy fats.
Pair these two foods together, and you have a healthy, low carb dessert that will crush any ice cream craving.
Chia seeds are jam-packed with omega-3s (an anti-inflammatory type of fat), fiber, and protein — all nutrients that can help manage diabetes.
To make chia pudding:
There are only 4 grams of carbs in 1 cup of unsweetened soy milk.
Even better: Meal prep a batch of chia seed pudding jars and let them set in the fridge overnight for a week’s worth of nutritious snacks.
Hummus is made of chickpeas and tahini (a sesame seed paste). It’s full of fiber and healthy fats.
Skipping the chips and opting for veggie crudité (think sliced celery, carrots, and peppers) will help you enjoy the creamy chickpea dip without overloading carbs. Sprinkling nutritional yeast will add some protein and B vitamins, making for the perfect balanced snack.
Skip the dried fruit and chocolate — toss together a variety of nuts and seeds for a healthy homemade trail mix.
Try a crunchy mix of walnuts, almonds, pistachios, and sunflower seeds. All of these have healthy fats, protein, and fiber to keep you fuller for longer.
Cottage cheese is an excellent low carb source of protein. For example, a half-cup serving of low fat cottage cheese has 13 grams of protein and just 5 grams of carbs for about 90 calories.
Pair a serving of this powerhouse protein with savory fiber-rich add-ins, such as chopped cucumbers, tomato, and scallions, and then top it off with freshly cracked black pepper or za’atar for a savory bowl that satisfies.
To make sure you’ve got healthy fats in the mix, skip the nonfat cottage cheese and go for one with some milk fat (1% or 2%).
Turkey is high in protein, which is key for stabilizing blood sugar levels. And turkey jerky is a tasty, convenient snack you can take with you on the go and nosh on when hunger strikes.
Just make sure to choose a jerky that’s free of added sugars and isn’t too high in sodium. Aim for less than 20% of your daily value of sodium per serving.
The amount of carbs in turkey jerky may depend on the ingredients. Sugar and other high carb ingredients are often added to jerky so be sure to read nutrition labels before munching on this tasty snack.
Make a quick tuna salad at home by combining:
Mix it all together and spread it on celery sticks. One stalk of celery is just 1.2 carbs. Now, you’ve got yourself a protein-rich snack to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Chickpeas are a good source of protein, fiber, and a small amount of healthy fats (2 g per 1/2 cup) — the nutrient trifecta that can help keep blood sugar levels nice and steady.
You can roast a batch of chickpeas in the oven until they’re crunchy or purchase a bag in the snack aisle of your grocery store.
Medically reviewed on December 20, 2023
Have thoughts or suggestions about this article? Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
About the author
April Benshosan is a writer, editor, and content strategist covering health, fitness, beauty, and wellness. She holds a Master’s degree in Publishing, and her work has been published in both print and digital outlets, including Women’s Health, EatingWell, Shape, Well+Good, Livestrong, Paceline.fit, and more. Before freelancing full-time, she spearheaded the nutrition vertical at Livestrong. April’s dedication to responsible health journalism, as well as her personal passion for weightlifting, has led her to cover everything from the nuances of how diet affects skin health to the best mattress for workout recovery. Follow her on LinkedIn.