Living with diabetes means you can’t typically reach for snacks like candy bars and potato chips when you feel hungry. But you can find tasty snack options that still allow you to stay on track with your healthy meal plan.
Members of DiabetesTeam often share their favorite snack ideas that allow them to keep their blood sugar stable and feel their best. “I keep cheese sticks, beef jerky, almonds, pistachios, and cashews on hand to help with cravings,” one member wrote. “I also snack on pork rinds, apples, oranges, and pears.”
Fruits and vegetables are great snacks for people with diabetes. These high-fiber foods are filled with vitamins and minerals. You can pair fruits and veggies with healthy fats and protein to make a more balanced and filling snack.
Here are some diabetes-friendly snack ideas you can use for any occasion.
Simply having healthy food on hand is more than half the battle when you’re in a rush. That’s why it’s so important to make a grocery list and think ahead about what you plan to eat.
One DiabetesTeam member described their strategy for staying on track: “I prepare three meals and two small snacks the night before. This makes it harder to make bad food choices and feel the need to gorge while ravenous. Remember also to drink water with your meal or snack.”
People with diabetes don’t need to buy special foods or products. Instead, choose quick and easy options that give your body the fuel it needs between meals.
Some ideas include:
Watch out for added sugar and sweeteners in products like granola, flavored yogurts, and trail mixes. Taking a few extra minutes to compare food labels in the grocery store will make it easier to grab the best options when you’re in a rush at home.
Vibrant colors and fun flavors make party food more festive. When planning your party menu, use nutrient-dense foods that look appealing, taste good, and support stable blood sugar levels. You can cut back on sugar and fried foods by opting for some of these healthier options:
Celebrations and holidays can be tricky for anyone concerned about their blood sugar levels. Bringing some of your own healthier dishes can help you stay in control and take the pressure off during parties.
Many people struggle with sugar cravings. It may be OK to satisfy your sweet tooth once in a while, as long as you choose your ingredients wisely and control your portion sizes. The next time you’re craving something sweet, consider one of these options:
Experiment with your favorite baked goods by adding healthy ingredients like canned pumpkin, ground oatmeal, ground flaxseed, bran, or berries to boost the fiber content. Ask your doctor for a referral to a registered dietitian to discuss how to make healthy swaps in recipes you enjoy.
Processed snacks (like chips and pretzels) tend to be high in sodium. Because of the risk of high blood pressure, it’s a good idea to cut down on added salt whenever possible. Making your own savory snacks can help you reduce your sodium intake. These could include:
If you miss the salty taste of roasted seeds and nuts, mix half unsalted and half salted for a step in the right direction. Research on diabetes suggests that peanuts and tree nuts are protective against heart disease. Try drizzling peanut butter or almond butter over a bowl of fresh blackberries for a great snack reminiscent of a classic PB&J (minus the bread).
If you have time to prepare snacks in advance, these ideas are worth the wait.
Chia seeds have proven health benefits for people with diabetes. To make “chia seed pudding,” soak two tablespoons of dry chia seeds with 1/2 cup of your choice of milk. Stir occasionally while the mixture sits in the refrigerator and solidifies. Let the seeds soak for at least two hours or overnight. You’ll end up with a gelled pudding that’s similar in texture to tapioca. Put a creative spin on the recipe by adding shredded coconut, vanilla extract, sliced almonds, cinnamon, fruit, or dark chocolate shavings.
It’s no secret that dark, leafy greens are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. Considered a superstar food by the American Diabetes Association, greens like kale and spinach are rich in vitamins and minerals, with minimal carbohydrates and plenty of fiber.
To sneak in some greens at snack time, you can make crunchy kale chips. All you need for this basic recipe is a bunch of fresh kale (washed and dried), salt, and a tablespoon of olive oil. Lightly salt and oil the kale leaves, spread them flat on a baking sheet, and roast them in the oven at 300 degrees Fahrenheit. Remove the pan just as the leaves start to brown (but before they burn), usually after about 20 to 30 minutes. Store the cooled kale chips in an airtight container to preserve their crispiness.
DiabetesTeam is the social network for people with diabetes and their loved ones. On DiabetesTeam, more than 123,000 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with others who understand life with diabetes.
How does diabetes affect your snacking habits? Are there any great products or recipes you’d like to tell others about? Share your comments below, or start a conversation by posting on your Activities page.