Diabetic Friendly Snacks

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person eating diabetic friendly snacks

If you have Type 1 diabetes or take insulin or medication for Type 2 diabetes, snacking between meals can help you control your blood sugar. But not all snacks are created equal. Sugary foods and drinks, alcohol, fried foods or food high in saturated fats can cause blood sugar to spike and are not diabetic friendly snacks. Learning which foods help to keep blood sugar levels stable is beneficial in managing diabetes.

Simple Health: A Free Guide to Living Well with Diabetes

Developed by registered dietitians and occupational therapists, this guide offers real-word advice and recipes to help you live with diabetes.

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Healthy Snack Options for Diabetes

Studies have shown people make 200 food-related choices every day—many related to snacks. Being mindful of those choices can help you maintain blood sugar control and keep your energy level up. Healthy options include:

High-Fiber Carbohydrates

If you have Type 2 diabetes, fiber has been shown to aid in blood glucose control. Fiber helps you feel fuller and more satisfied and the carbohydrates in high fiber foods take longer to digest so are less likely to cause blood sugar spikes. High-fiber options include:

  • Nuts
  • Popcorn
  • Berries
  • Pears
  • Prunes
  • Apples
  • Hummus with berries


If you have diabetes, you probably need about the same amount of protein as a person without diabetes, unless you have kidney disease. Protein is important because it helps with skin and tissue healing and aids in muscle building. Protien-rich snack options include:

  • Hard boiled eggs
  • Greek yogurt with berries
  • Beef sticks or beef jerky
  • Roasted chickpeas (garbanzo beans)
  • Turkey breast slices wrapped around veggies
  • Low-fat cottage cheese (with or without fruit)
  • No-bake energy bites

Healthy Fat

Monosaturated fats and polyunsaturated fats are considered healthy fats and when consumed in moderation can be diabetic friendly snacks. They can improve insulin sensitivity and help regulate blood sugar levels and can be found in:

  • Avocados
  • Olives
  • Nuts (almonds, pistachios, pecans, or walnuts)
  • Celery stuffed with peanut butter
  • Chia seeds
  • Sunflower seeds

Make a Plan

It is easier to eat healthy when you have a plan. The Diabetes Plate Method is an easy tool that assists you in organizing your meals. Simply visualize a 9-inch plate divided into three sections. Half the plate should be filled with nonstarchy vegetables, one-fourth of the plate should consist of lean proteins, and the final quarter of the plate is filled with complex carbohydrates. Water is the drink of choice, but acceptable substitutes include other zero or low-calories drinks such as unsweetened tea, coffee or club soda.

Determine your calorie needs. If weight loss is part of your plan, reduce the calorie count to meet that goal. Start with three meals a day and plan to incorporate one to two high-protein, high-fiber snacks. Avoid skipping meals because that can lead to blood sugar fluctuations. Eating regular meals and snacks will also keep you satisfied and reduce the risk of overeating.

Even small changes can provide big benefits. Exchange one sugary drink for a glass of water, focus on eating meals prepared at home rather than fast food or restaurant meals. Aim for gradual changes and build new eating habits. Increase the number of fruits, non-starchy vegetables, lean proteins and whole grains in your diet. By replacing unhealthy foods with better choices, you’ll be on your way to a more balanced diet.

Diabetic Snack Recipes

Being mindful of your snack choices is important in maintaining blood sugar control. Plan ahead and keep plenty of healthy snack options on hand. Expand your snack options by trying some easy recipes, like the following one from the Encompass Health Simple Health Guide.

Trail Mix

Serving size: ¼ cup


  • 1 ½ cups each your choice of unsalted nuts (almonds, walnuts, cashews, pistachios or peanuts
  • 1 cup each desired seeds (sunflower, pumpkin or other)
  • ½ – 1 cup unsweetened dried fruit ( prunes, raisins, apricots, dates, cherries, or blueberries)

Be aware, nuts are high in fat and dried fruits are high in sugar. Stick to the ¼ cup serving size and limit the amount of dried fruit used in the recipe.

No Bake Energy Bites

Serving size: 2 energy bites


  • 1 cup old fashioned oats
  • 2/3 cup shredded coconut, unsweetened (optional)
  • ½ cup creamy peanut butter (or other nut butter)
  • ½ cup ground flaxseed
  • ½ cup semi-sweet chocolate chips
  • 1/3 cup honey
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 Tbsp chia seeds
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon


  • Add all ingredients together in a large mixing bowl. Stir to combine.
  • Cover mixing bowl and chill in refrigerator for 30 minutes.
  • Remove from refrigerator and roll mixture into 1-inch balls.
  • Serve and enjoy
  • Refrigerate in a sealed container for up to 2 weeks. Freeze up to 3 months.

Source: Gimme Some Oven (n.d.) No-Bake Energy Bites

Grab and Go Packaged Snacks

Don’t let a busy schedule derail your eating plan. There are plenty of healthy snacks you can keep on hand for days when you’re on the go. If possible, select packaged snacks that are high in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, but low in carbohydrates. Also aim to keep snacks low in sugar.

Some easy prepackaged snacks include:

  • SkinnyPop popcorn. Available in multiple flavors, this satisfying snack contains both protein and fiber.
  • Quinn peanut butter filled pretzel nuggets. At 130 calories for 8 pieces, the gluten-free snacks have 3 grams of protein.
  • Heritage blend potato chips by Terra. Made from four different vegetables, these chips are high in protein and fiber but low in sugar.
  • Harvest Snaps. The baked veggie chips are a great substitute for potato chips and come in a variety of flavors. With 8 grams of protein and 4 grams of fiber, a one-ounce bag contains 130 calories.
  • Sargento Light string cheese. These easy-to-grab part-skim mozzarella snacks (don’t confuse them with low-fat mozzarella sticks) weigh in at only 45 calories a stick.
  • Wholly Guacamole. Sold in a package of four individual serving cups, these tasty treats offer plenty of monounsaturated fats, fiber, potassium, and antioxidants.
  • Natierra organic freeze-dried strawberries. Satisfy your sweet tooth with this crunchy snack with no added sugar.
  • Think keto bars. A great tasting snack that comes in a variety of flavors, each bar contains 180 calories, 14 grams of carbs, 10 grams of fiber, and 10 grams of protein. These grab-and-go bars are ready to travel with you throughout your busy day. Just be sure to select the keto bars since other Think thin bars have a higher carb count.
  • Nature’s Garden healthy trail mix snack packs. For days when you don’t have time to make your own trail mix, these individual pouches are a great choice. Packed with healthy fats, fiber and plenty of protein, these delicious snacks come in a variety pack.

Tips for Diabetic-Friendly Snacking

Snacks can be an important part of a diabetic diet, but make sure you are mindful of a few things when incorporating them into your daily eating plan.

  • Keep an eye on portion size. Look for snacks that are portioned into smaller single serving packets.
  • Don’t rely too heavily on snack foods that are artificially sweetened. While artificial sweeteners have a place in a diabetic diet, it’s best to limit them since they can increase sweet cravings.
  • If you purchase canned or packaged fruit, look for those packed in juice – not syrup.
  • Remember snacks with a high fiber content are more filling.
  • To satisfy a sweet tooth without diving into a sugary treat, try frozen fruit bars, unsweetened applesauce, graham crackers or frozen grapes.
  • Measure servings carefully and don’t snack directly out of a large size bag.
  • Keep plenty of healthy snacks on hand, so you aren’t tempted by poor choices.
  • Select snacks that you enjoy. It is hard to stick to an eating plan when you don’t like the food.

Adjusting to a Diabetic Eating Plan

Changing your diet is hard but following a healthy eating plan is essential to maintaining blood sugar and controlling diabetes. Complex carbohydrates—good carbs—such as whole grains, brown rice, fruits, vegetables, nuts and beans are good choices for a diabetic diet. Simple carbs, including foods like white bread, cookies, cakes and other sugary treats, can cause a sharp rise in blood sugar. By building a diet rich in good carbs, healthy fats and high fiber foods, you will be well on your way to balancing your blood sugar and boosting your health.

The content of this site is for informational purposes only and should not be taken as professional medical advice. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare provider with any questions you may have regarding any medical conditions or treatments.