The 21 best snack ideas for diabetes
Choosing healthy snacks can be difficult when you have diabetes.
The key is to choose snacks that are high in fiber, protein and healthy fats. These nutrients will help keep your blood sugar levels under control.
It’s also important to snack on nutrient-dense foods that promote overall health.
This article discusses 21 excellent snacks to eat if you have diabetes.
1. Hard-Boiled Eggs
Hard-boiled eggs are a super healthy snack for people with diabetes.
Their protein content really makes them shine. One large hard-boiled egg provides 6 grams of protein, which is helpful for diabetes because it keeps your blood sugar from rising too high after you eat.
In one study, 65 people with type 2 diabetes ate two eggs daily for 12 weeks.
By the end of the study, they experienced significant reductions in their fasting blood sugar levels. They also had lower hemoglobin A1c, which is a measure of long-term blood sugar control.
Eggs are known to promote fullness, an important aspect of managing type 2 diabetes. This disease is associated with a greater likelihood of becoming overweight and developing heart disease.
You can enjoy a hard-boiled egg or two for a snack on their own, or garnish them with a healthy topping like guacamole.
2. Yogurt with Berries
Yogurt with berries is an excellent diabetes-friendly snack for a variety of reasons.
First, the antioxidants in berries may reduce inflammation and prevent damage to cells of the pancreas, the organ responsible for releasing hormones that lower blood sugar levels.
Additionally, berries are a great source of fiber. For example, a 1-cup (148-gram) serving of blueberries provides 4 grams of fiber, which helps slow digestion and stabilize blood sugar levels after eating.
Yogurt is also known for its ability to lower blood sugar levels. This is partly due to the probiotics it contains, which may improve your body’s ability to metabolize foods that contain sugar.
Furthermore, yogurt is rich in protein, which is well-known for helping keep blood sugar levels under control. Greek yogurt is especially high in protein.
Yogurt and berries taste great together as a snack, as the sweetness of the berries helps balance out the tartness of the yogurt. You can simply mix them together, or layer them on top of each other to make a parfait.
3. Handful of Almonds
Almonds are very nutritious and convenient to snack on.
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of almonds provides more than 15 vitamins and minerals, including 32% of the recommended daily intake for manganese, 19% for magnesium and 17% for riboflavin.
Research has shown almonds may help control blood sugar in people with diabetes. In one study, 58 people who included almonds in their diets every day for 24 weeks experienced a 3% decrease in their long-term blood sugar levels.
In another study, 20 adults with diabetes who consumed 60 grams of almonds daily for four weeks experienced a 9% reduction in their blood sugar levels.
They also had decreased levels of insulin, a hormone that may worsen diabetes if levels are consistently high.
The ability of almonds to help stabilize blood sugar is likely due to the combination of fiber, protein and healthy fats they contain, all of which are known to have an important role in diabetes management.
What’s more, almonds have been shown to benefit heart health by reducing cholesterol levels and may also promote weight management, both of which are major factors in preventing and treating type 2 diabetes.
Since almonds are quite high in calories, it is best to limit your portion size to about a handful when eating them as a snack.
4. Veggies and Hummus
Hummus is a creamy spread made from chickpeas. It tastes great when paired with raw veggies.
Both vegetables and hummus are good sources of fiber, vitamins and minerals.
Additionally, hummus provides lots of protein, with 3 grams per tablespoon (15 grams). All of these properties may benefit blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
One study found that individuals who consumed at least 1 ounce of hummus at a meal had blood sugar and insulin levels that were four times lower than a group that consumed white bread at a meal.
You can experiment with dipping several types of vegetables in hummus, such as broccoli, cauliflower, carrots and bell peppers.
If you have diabetes, snacking on avocado may help manage your blood sugar levels.
The high fiber content and monounsaturated fatty acids in avocados make them a diabetes-friendly food. These factors may prevent your blood sugar from spiking after a meal.
One study found that individuals with type 2 diabetes who included sources of monounsaturated fatty acids in their diets on a regular basis experienced significant improvements in their blood sugar levels.
You can eat avocado on its own, or make it into a dip such as guacamole. Since avocados are quite high in calories, it is best to stick with a serving size of one-fourth to one-half an avocado.
6. Sliced Apples with Peanut Butter
Sliced apples paired with nut butter make for a delicious and healthy snack that’s great for people with diabetes.
Apples are rich in several nutrients, including B vitamins, vitamin C and potassium, while peanut butter provides significant amounts of vitamin E, magnesium and manganese, all of which are known to help manage diabetes.
Both apples and peanut butter are also very high in fiber. One medium apple combined with 1 ounce (28 grams) of peanut butter provides almost 7 grams of fiber, which is helpful for keeping your blood sugar under control.
Apples have been studied specifically for their potential role in diabetes management. The polyphenol antioxidants they contain are thought to protect pancreatic cells from damage that often worsens diabetes.
You can also try pairing other types of fruit with peanut butter, such as bananas or pears, for similar health benefits.
7. Beef Sticks
Beef sticks are convenient, portable and diabetes-friendly.
What makes beef sticks an excellent snack for people with diabetes are their high protein and low carb contents.
Most beef sticks provide around 6 grams of protein per ounce (28 grams), which may help keep your blood sugar under control.
If possible, you should choose beef sticks that are made with grass-fed beef. Compared to grain-fed beef, grass-fed beef is higher in omega-3 fatty acids, which are known for their potential role in keeping blood sugar levels stable.
It is important to note that beef sticks can be high in sodium, which can lead to high blood pressure in some people if consumed in excess. Thus, if you eat beef sticks, make sure to consume them in moderation.
8. Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas, also known as garbanzo beans, are an incredibly healthy legume.
There are close to 15 grams of protein and 13 grams of fiber in a 1-cup (164-gram) serving of chickpeas, making them an excellent snack for people with diabetes.
Research has shown that consuming chickpeas on a regular basis may play a role in preventing the progression of diabetes, thanks to their potential to help manage blood sugar levels.
In one study, 19 adults who consumed a chickpea-based meal daily for six weeks had significantly lower blood sugar and insulin levels after eating, compared to individuals who ate a wheat-based meal.
One way to make chickpeas easy to snack on is by roasting them, which makes them crunchy and convenient. They taste great when roasted with olive oil and seasonings of your choice.
9. Turkey Roll-Up
Turkey roll-ups are an easy snack to make.
They are essentially a breadless sandwich wrap consisting of turkey breast slices wrapped around low-carb contents of your choice, such as cheese and veggies.
Turkey roll-ups are a great snack option for people with diabetes due to their low carb and high protein contents. One wrap provides about 5 grams of protein, which will help prevent your blood sugar levels from rising too high.
In addition, the protein in turkey roll-ups may help lower your appetite, which is beneficial for preventing overeating and promoting weight management. Both of these are key factors in controlling type 2 diabetes.
To make a turkey roll-up, simply spread a tablespoon (about 10 grams) of cream cheese onto a slice of turkey and wrap it around sliced veggies, such as cucumbers or bell peppers.
10. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is a great snack for people with diabetes.
A half-cup (about 112-gram) serving of small-curd cottage cheese provides several vitamins and minerals, in addition to almost 13 grams of protein and only 4 grams of carbs.
Interestingly, eating cottage cheese may help manage your blood sugar.
In one study, men who ate 25 grams of cottage cheese with 50 grams of sugar had 38% lower blood sugar afterward, compared to those who consumed sugar alone.
The blood sugar-lowering effects of cottage cheese are often attributed to its high protein content.
If you choose regular cottage cheese rather than reduced-fat varieties, you’ll also take advantage of the blood-sugar-lowering properties of fat.
Cottage cheese tastes great plain, but you can also combine it with fruit for extra nutrients and fiber.
11. Cheese and Whole-Grain Crackers
“Cracker sandwiches” are a popular snack, and you can make them on your own by topping a few whole-grain crackers with cheese slices.
They are a good snack choice if you have diabetes. While crackers can be high in carbs, the fat in the cheese and fiber in the crackers may prevent them from spiking your blood sugar.
Fat intake from dairy products such as cheese may slow the digestion of carbs, reduce insulin levels and promote the release of hormones that lower blood sugar, such as GLP-1.
Make sure you choose your crackers carefully, as many brands are high in refined flour and added sugar, which may negatively affect blood sugar levels. To avoid these ingredients, always choose crackers made with 100% whole grains.
12. Tuna Salad
Tuna salad is made by combining tuna with mayonnaise and other ingredients, such as celery and onions.
A 3-ounce (84-gram) serving of tuna provides 22 grams of protein and no carbs, which makes it a great snack option if you have diabetes.
Additionally, tuna is rich in omega-3 fatty acids, which have been shown to help manage diabetes due to their potential to lower inflammation and improve blood sugar control.
You can make tuna salad even healthier and higher in protein by mixing it with cottage cheese or yogurt, rather than mayonnaise.
Popcorn is a very popular and healthy whole-grain snack food.
It has been deemed one of the best snack foods for people with diabetes, partly because of its low calorie density. One cup (8 grams) of air-popped popcorn contains just 31 calories.
Snacking on low-calorie foods may aid weight control, which is known to promote decreased blood sugar levels and better overall management of type 2 diabetes.
In addition, popcorn provides 1 gram of fiber per 1-cup (8-gram) serving, which is another property that makes it a diabetes-friendly food.
Since most prepackaged popcorn is full of salt, trans fats and other unhealthy ingredients, it is healthiest to air-pop your own.
14. Chia Seed Pudding
Chia seed pudding is made by soaking chia seeds in milk until the mixture achieves a pudding-like consistency.
It’s a healthy snack for people with diabetes because chia seeds are rich in many nutrients that help stabilize blood sugar, including protein, fiber and omega-3 fatty acids.
The fiber in chia seeds can absorb a significant amount of water, which may help control diabetes by slowing down the digestion process and release of sugar into the blood.
Additionally, eating chia seeds has been shown to help lower triglyceride levels, which can be good for heart health. This is beneficial because individuals with diabetes tend to have a higher risk of developing heart disease.
15. No-Bake Energy Bites
Energy bites are a fantastic snack idea for people with diabetes.
They are a delicious and healthy snack made by combining and rolling ingredients of your choice into balls. Some common ingredients include nut butter, oats and seeds.
Most of the ingredients used to make energy bites are high in fiber, protein and healthy fats — three key nutrients known for keeping blood sugar stable.
An added benefit of energy bites is their convenience. They don’t require baking, and you can carry them with you easily while you’re on the go.
16. Black Bean Salad
Black bean salad is a healthy snack.
To make it, simply combine cooked black beans with chopped vegetables, such as onions and peppers, and toss them in a vinaigrette dressing.
Since black beans are rich in fiber and protein, they make a healthy snack for individuals with diabetes. Eating them may prevent blood sugar spikes and help lower insulin levels after meals.
In one study, 12 people who consumed black beans with a meal had up to 33% lower insulin levels five hours after eating, compared to individuals who did not consume black beans.
Black beans have also been shown to benefit heart health by helping lower cholesterol and blood pressure levels.
17. Trail Mix
Trail mix is a snack made by combining nuts, seeds and dried fruit.
A 1-ounce (28-gram) serving of trail mix provides almost 4 grams of protein, which makes it a filling snack that may promote blood sugar control in people with diabetes.
Trail mix also provides some healthy fats and fiber from the nuts and seeds, which have been shown to help reduce blood sugar and insulin levels.
The key is to avoid adding too much dried fruit to your trail mix, as it is quite high in sugar and may spike your blood sugar if you consume too much.
Additionally, it is very high in calories, so you should avoid eating too much trail mix at once. A reasonable serving size is about a handful.
Edamame are unripe, green soybeans that are still in their pods. They are a very nutritious and convenient snack.
There are 17 grams of protein and 8 grams of fiber in a 1-cup (155-gram) serving of edamame, making it a great snack for people with diabetes.
In fact, some animal studies have shown that edamame may help lower blood sugar levels.
It may also improve insulin resistance, a condition in which cells are unable to use insulin effectively, leading to consistently high blood sugar levels.
More research is needed to determine the effects of eating edamame on diabetes in humans, but having it as a snack is certainly worth a try.
Edamame is typically served steamed, and you can enhance its flavor by mixing it with seasonings of your choice.
19. Homemade Protein Bars
Protein bars are a great snack option for people with diabetes due to the significant amount of protein they provide.
Many store-bought protein bars are high in added sugar and other unhealthy ingredients, so it’s beneficial to make your own.
You can also try Lara Bars, a popular type of protein bar made with a minimal number of ingredients.
20. Peanut Butter Celery Sticks
A popular way to enjoy celery sticks is by dipping them in peanut butter. It’s another healthy snack option for people with diabetes.
First, celery sticks are very low in calories, providing only 16 calories per cup (101 grams). This can help you manage your weight, which helps control type 2 diabetes.
Furthermore, celery contains antioxidants called flavones, which have been studied for their role in lowering blood sugar levels.
Adding a tablespoon or two (about 16–32 grams) of peanut butter to celery sticks adds some extra protein and fiber to the snack, which will benefit your blood sugar control even more.
21. Egg Muffins
Egg muffins are made by mixing eggs with vegetables and then baking them in a muffin tin. They make a quick, healthy snack for people with diabetes.
The main benefits of this diabetes-friendly food are the protein from the eggs and fiber from the veggies. Eating these may help keep your blood sugar stable.
The Bottom Line
There are plenty of healthy snack options to choose from if you have diabetes.
A good rule of thumb is to choose foods that are high in protein, fiber and healthy fats, all of which are known to help maintain healthy blood sugar levels.
Individuals with type 2 diabetes have a higher risk of obesity and chronic illnesses, such as heart disease. Thus, it is also important to focus on foods that are nutrient-dense and healthy overall.
Snacking when you have diabetes doesn’t have to be difficult. There are many quick and easy snacks you can prepare and eat even when you’re on-the-go.