Connect with others who understand.

sign up log in
Resources
About DiabetesTeam
Powered By

5 Healthy Snack Ideas for Diabetes

Updated on August 24, 2022
Medically reviewed by
Robert Hurd, M.D.
Article written by
Anastasia Climan, RDN, CDN

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.

1. Grab-and-Go Snacks

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:

  • Blueberries or strawberries and a handful of roasted peanuts
  • Whole-wheat crackers and a can of sardines
  • An apple or pear with a cheese stick
  • Celery sticks with nut butter
  • Individual containers of Greek yogurt or cottage cheese
  • Snap peas, cucumber slices, or carrot sticks with a preportioned container of hummus

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.

2. Diabetes-Friendly Party Snacks

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:

  • Baked mozzarella sticks with whole-grain bread crumbs and marinara sauce
  • Baba ghanoush (a Middle Eastern eggplant dip) and whole-wheat pita chips
  • Deviled eggs
  • Red, green, yellow, and orange bell pepper strips with guacamole
  • Marinated chicken or shrimp skewers with tzatziki or fresh-squeezed lemon or lime
  • Black bean dip and salsa served with flaxseed chips or whole-grain chips
  • Turkey meatballs

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.

3. Snacks for Your Sweet Tooth

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:

  • Cottage cheese with fresh pineapple
  • Dark-chocolate-covered almonds, strawberries, or orange slices
  • A sweet-tasting protein shake
  • Dates stuffed with walnuts and low-fat cream cheese
  • Frozen cherries

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.

4. Salty and Savory Snacks

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:

  • Cold cut roll-ups made with low-salt, low-fat deli meats
  • Edamame or roasted chickpeas
  • Low-fat refried beans with salsa and tortilla chips
  • Nuts or seeds
  • Plain popcorn seasoned with garlic powder, Parmesan, or black pepper
  • Tuna with whole-grain crackers

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).

5. Simple Snack Recipes

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.

Talk With Others Who Understand

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.

All updates must be accompanied by text or a picture.
Robert Hurd, M.D. is a professor of endocrinology and health care ethics at Xavier University. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Learn more about him here.
Anastasia Climan, RDN, CDN is a dietitian with over 10 years of experience in public health and medical writing. Learn more about her here.

Related articles

Healthy eating is a crucial part of controlling blood sugar if you have type 2 diabetes, and...

Can You Drink Orange Juice if You Have Diabetes?

Healthy eating is a crucial part of controlling blood sugar if you have type 2 diabetes, and...
Although some lifestyle recommendations stand true for pretty much everyone with diabetes, coffee...

Coffee and Diabetes: 5 Safety and Blood Sugar Questions Answered

Although some lifestyle recommendations stand true for pretty much everyone with diabetes, coffee...
Some people living with diabetes wonder whether they should wear medical alert jewelry, a form of...

Diabetes Medical Alert Bracelets: What To Engrave on Yours

Some people living with diabetes wonder whether they should wear medical alert jewelry, a form of...
You may feel many emotions after receiving a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes (also called diabetes...

5 Tips for Adjusting to a New Type 2 Diagnosis

You may feel many emotions after receiving a diagnosis of type 2 diabetes (also called diabetes...
If you are one of the more than 34 million people in the United States living with type 2...

3 Dairy Foods To Try if You Have Diabetes

If you are one of the more than 34 million people in the United States living with type 2...
Some people stop drinking alcohol after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. They decide that...

Can People With Diabetes Drink Alcohol?

Some people stop drinking alcohol after being diagnosed with type 2 diabetes. They decide that...

Recent articles

Like many people, you probably grew up hearing how important it is to eat your fruits and...

Are Bananas Good for Diabetes? How They Affect Blood Sugar

Like many people, you probably grew up hearing how important it is to eat your fruits and...
Many adults can attest to enjoying a glass of red wine from time to time — and people with...

Red Wine for Diabetics: 5 Benefits and 5 Concerns

Many adults can attest to enjoying a glass of red wine from time to time — and people with...
Finding recipes and cooking substitutions can be complicated when you’re living with diabetes....

6 Recipe and Cooking Substitutions for Diabetes

Finding recipes and cooking substitutions can be complicated when you’re living with diabetes....
Although type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, there are effective treatments that have been proven...

Treatments for Type 2 Diabetes

Although type 2 diabetes cannot be cured, there are effective treatments that have been proven...
Type 2 diabetes, also known as type 2 diabetes mellitus, develops when your blood sugar (blood...

Signs and Symptoms of Type 2 Diabetes

Type 2 diabetes, also known as type 2 diabetes mellitus, develops when your blood sugar (blood...
If you have type 2 diabetes and have difficulty sleeping, you’re not alone. One DiabetesTeam...

Trouble Sleeping and Diabetes: 6 Tips for Better Rest

If you have type 2 diabetes and have difficulty sleeping, you’re not alone. One DiabetesTeam...
DiabetesTeam My diabetes Team

Thank you for subscribing!

Become a member to get even more:

sign up for free

close