Before you reach for any old item in your fridge or pantry, remember that when you have diabetes, you have to snack with a purpose: to curb hunger pangs, get a little energy boost, and avoid having your blood sugar dip too low or spike too high. Depending on your meal plan and medication, it’s generally a good idea to aim for snacks with 15-25 grams of carbs and 50-100 calories per serving.
Here are some favorite snack choices from nutritionists Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, MS, RD, CDE, a registered dietitian and certified diabetes educator in New York City, and Ginny K. Mirenzi, RD, CDE, education coordinator for the University of Maryland Baltimore Washington Medical Center's Center for Diabetes and Endocrinology.
Mix one ounce of nuts with one ounce of dark chocolate or semi-sweet chocolate chips or 1-2 tablespoons of carob chips.
Toast a whole grain or low-glycemic slice of bread, smear on a few slices of avocado. (Here's why avocado is ridiculously healthy for you.) Top with a few slices of hard-cooked egg, or slices of roasted red pepper or slices of tomato.
Freeze your portioned fruit. It will take longer to eat and is a refreshing treat on a summer day. Refreshing options include 15 grapes, one cup of strawberries, or ½ cup of cherries.
Nosh on up to two cups of low-carb veggies such as broccoli, cauliflower, tomatoes, pepper, green beans, and mushrooms. Choose two tablespoons of tzatziki, salsa or hummus as your dip.
Make yourself three cups of air-popped popcorn with 3-4 tablespoons parmesan cheese.
Use 2 teaspoons of horseradish sauce for dipping (as traditional cocktail sauce contains too much sugar). Pair with 10 medium shrimp or five jumbo-size shrimp.
Cut a low carb wrap (around 60 calories) into wedges. Lightly spritz with olive oil spray and bake for 5 minutes in a 350-degree oven. Turn chips, lightly spray with olive oil and bake another five minutes or until crispy. If you choose salsa as a dip, you can have two low carb wraps. Guacamole is higher in calories, so stick to just one wrap if you’re using that as a dip.
Top one cup of 1% fat cottage cheese with lower glycemic index berries, such as strawberries, blueberries, raspberries, and blackberries. Here are other healthy fruits for a diabetic diet.
Smear a sliced apple with a teaspoon of peanut butter or nut butter, sprinkled with a teaspoon of mini dark chocolate chips. Here's why you're better off not using reduced-fat PB.
Make an extra half turkey sandwich when you pack your lunch. Choose a higher-fiber or low glycemic bread with at least 2 grams of fiber per slice. Add a lettuce, tomato, a slice of avocado, and/or mustard, and a dill pickle or hot pepper.
In a hurry? Grab string cheese and an apple or a piece of beef jerky.
Sip a cup of tea, low-sugar cocoa, or coffee. Opt for non-dairy milk options like unsweetened almond milk to flavor coffee. It’s lower in carbs than regular dairy milk.
For more diabetes diet advice, check out these 6 rules for healthy snacking with diabetes.