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7 snack ideas if you have diabetes

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AlmondsHummus and veggiesHard-boiled eggsAvocadosRoasted chickpeasCottage cheeseBeef sticksMedication optionsSummary
Finding snacks may be challenging when you have diabetes. However, in moderation, there are several nutrient-rich options that can help satisfy your cravings without spiking your blood sugar levels.
Medically reviewed by Imashi Fernando, MS, RDN, CDCES
Written by Rashida Ruwa, RN
Updated on

There are plenty of snacks with a low glycemic index and high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats to help you manage your blood sugar.

A healthcare professional may recommend a diet plan alongside medications like glucagon-like peptide-1 receptor agonists (GLP-1 RAs) and sodium-glucose cotransporter-2 (SGLT2) inhibitors to help regulate your blood sugar levels. They can work with you to create a treatment plan that suits your lifestyle.

Here are 7 snack ideas to consider adding to your diet if you have diabetes:

1. Almonds

Almonds can be great snacks due to their various health properties. They are rich in magnesium and contain healthy fats and fiber, which can help manage blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of carbohydrates.

A 2021 study suggested that consuming 56 grams (g) of almonds daily for 12 weeks could significantly reduce LDL cholesterol levels, HbA1c (a marker of long-term blood sugar management), and total cholesterol. The study also found that almond consumption also led to a decrease in fasting insulin levels.

Healthcare professionals recommend consuming about 1 ounce or approximately 23 almonds per serving.

2. Hummus and veggies

Hummus is a dip made from chickpeas and an excellent source of protein. The protein content in hummus can help stabilize blood sugar levels by slowing the absorption of carbohydrates from other foods you consume alongside it. Additionally, protein-rich foods like hummus promote satiety (the feeling of fullness) and can help prevent overeating, which is important for managing blood sugar levels.

Vegetables, on the other hand, are rich in dietary fiber. Fiber helps slow down glucose absorption in the bloodstream, preventing rapid spikes in blood sugar levels. Including fiber-rich vegetables in your snack can help maintain more stable blood sugar throughout the day.

Although there is no recommended portion size for hummus, eating 2 tbsp per day is a suitable portion size to aim for. The specific serving size of vegetables may vary depending on the type, but eating approximately 5 servings per day within a 2,000-calorie diet can be a good guideline to follow.

It can also be helpful to speak with a healthcare professional who can help create a tailored dietary plan specific to your needs.

3. Hard-boiled eggs

Eggs are high in protein, with the egg yolk also containing several essential nutrients, making them a nutritious addition to your diet if you have diabetes. Protein has minimal effect on blood sugar levels compared to carbohydrates. Therefore, including protein-rich foods like hard-boiled eggs as snacks can help prevent spikes in blood sugar and promote satiety.

Additionally, studies have shown that eggs are high in essential nutrients such as vitamins, minerals, and antioxidants. They contain important nutrients like vitamin D, choline, and selenium, which support overall well-being. Vitamin D, in particular, may help manage insulin sensitivity and glucose metabolism.

When it comes to portion sizes, 1 hard-boiled egg is generally a suitable serving for a snack. However, consider talking with a healthcare professional to receive individual dietary recommendations.

4. Avocados

Several avocados cut in half.
A. Martin UW Photography/Getty Images

Avocados are low in carbohydrates, which means they have little effect on blood sugar levels, making them an ideal option to help manage blood sugar. Research suggests that avocado consumption may have a link with lower fasting glucose levels and insulin, as well as lower rates of type 2 diabetes.

The typical suggested serving size of avocado is 50 g. However, experts recommend people consume avocados in moderation as their calorie content can be higher due to their healthy fat content.

5. Roasted chickpeas

Chickpeas are high in fiber and complex carbohydrates, which help regulate blood sugar levels by slowing down the absorption of glucose. Fiber also promotes feelings of fullness and can help with weight management, which is a crucial part of diabetes management.

Roasting chickpeas can enhance their flavor and texture, making them a delicious and satisfying snack. However, paying attention to portion sizes is important to avoid excess calorie and carbohydrate intake. 

It can also be helpful to speak with the healthcare professional, who can help put together a tailored dietary plan with recommended portion sizes.

6. Cottage cheese

Cottage cheese is low in carbohydrates and high in protein, which can help regulate blood sugar levels. The protein in cottage cheese is also slow-digesting, which can help build muscle and prevent muscle breakdown.

Additionally, cottage cheese is a good source of vitamin B6, which has several benefits, including:

  • regulating blood sugar levels
  • promoting vitamin B12 absorption
  • supporting nerve function
  • helping sustain energy levels

A 100-g portion of low fat cottage cheese contains 12.4 g of protein. This serving size balances protein and other nutrients without significantly affecting caloric intake.

7. Beef sticks

Beef sticks can be a convenient snack when you have diabetes. They are a good source of protein, which can help stabilize blood sugar levels and promote feelings of fullness. 

However, some beef sticks may contain added ingredients like sugars or preservatives, so it is advisable to choose options that are low in added sugars and sodium. A healthcare professional may also recommend grass-fed beef sticks, which are high in omega-3 fatty acids that can help manage your blood sugar levels.

A healthcare professional may also recommend consuming beef sticks in moderation. Suitable portions can be around 1 ounce, depending on the specific brand and nutritional content. This portion size can help you manage your caloric intake and blood sugar levels effectively.

Medication options for diabetes

Sometimes, a healthcare professional may also suggest taking medications alongside a dietary plan to treat diabetes.

There are several classes of medications doctors commonly use to treat diabetes, including:

  • Insulin: This treatment helps replace or supplement the body’s natural insulin. Examples include insulin glargine (Lantus), insulin lispro (Humalog), and insulin aspart (Novolog).
  • GLP-1 RAs: These can help treat diabetes and obesity. A common example is semaglutide (Ozempic).
  • SGLT2 inhibitors: These can help lower blood sugar levels in people with type 2 diabetes. A common example is empagliflozin (Jardiance).

However, the choice of medication depends on various factors, including your medical history and treatment goals. You can talk with a healthcare professional to find the most suitable medication option and dosage for managing your diabetes effectively.

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If you have diabetes, choosing snacks can be challenging. However, plenty of healthy and delicious options are available, such as cottage cheese, beef sticks, and hard-boiled eggs.

Consider choosing snacks high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats, as they have a low glycemic index and can help you manage your blood sugar levels.

It is also important to pay attention to portion sizes and to take any prescribed diabetes medication as directed by a healthcare professional.

Download the free Optum Perks Discount Card to save up to 80% on some prescription medications.

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