Healthy snack ideas for people with type 2 diabetes – Small Snacks

If you have type 2 diabetes, a snack can help you manage your blood glucose levels. If your Registered Dietitian suggests that a small snack fits into your diabetes meal plan, you’ll find many healthy ideas below.

What is a healthy snack?

Your snack choices should be based on the four food groups in Canada’s Food Guide. The amount of carbohydrate in your snack is very important since carbohydrate-rich foods make the biggest difference to blood glucose levels. Smaller snacks should have about 15 grams of carbohydrate. This is the amount found in one slice of bread or one small apple.

Carbohydrates are also found in sugary sweets like pastries, chocolate bars and candy. Because they are not very nutritious, they should be chosen less often, if at all.

Here’s a good rule to remember when choosing carbohydrate-rich foods:

  • Choose more vegetables, fruit, legumes and whole grains like oats, barley, brown rice and whole wheat.
  • Choose fewer products that are made from sugar, white flour and white rice.

The smaller snacks listed below have about 15 grams of carbohydrate each. They each have 85-150 calories.

Mid-day snacks

Your eating plan may include a snack in the morning or the mid-afternoon. Here are some delicious options.

  • 1 slice whole grain bread with 10 mL (2 tsp) peanut butter
  • 1 small orange and 175 mL (¾ cup) edamame (green soybeans in the pod)
  • 250 mL (1 cup) latte, cappuccino, unsweetened cocoa or chai tea made with skim milk
  • 250 mL (1 cup) cantaloupe with 125 mL (½ cup) low fat cottage cheese
  • 15 baby carrots with 30 mL (2 tbsp) hummus

On-the-go snacks

These snacks can be left in your briefcase, knapsack, car or your desk drawer. They will come in handy when you have a very busy day and need to grab a quick snack.

  • 2 whole grain rye crispbread crackers
  • 1 single-serve (125 mL) unsweetened applesauce sprinkled with 1 tbsp slivered almonds
  • Low-fat whole grain granola bar (with no chocolate or marshmallows)
  • 250 mL (1 cup) fortified soy beverage in a tetra pack (or “drink box”)
  • 2 brown rice cakes
  • Trail mix: 30 mL (2 tbsp) raisins 15 mL (1 tbsp) and unsalted nuts

Evening snacks

Unwind after a long day with one of these snack ideas. If you have an early dinner, have a bedtime snack two to three hours later. It may help control your blood glucose levels in the morning.

  • 250 mL (1 cup) strawberries with 125 mL (½ cup) skim milk
  • 30 grams (1 ounce) low-fat cheese and 4 whole-grain crackers
  • 250 mL (1 cup) blueberries
  • 175 mL (¾ cup) sugar-free, low-fat plain yogurt or vegetable raita
  • 750 mL (3 cups) air-popped popcorn
  • 250 mL (1 cup) skim milk with 2 small low-fat cookies (arrowroot or graham crackers)
  • 1 slice whole grain bread with 40 g (¼ can) tuna and 1 tsp light mayonnaise

Need some more snack ideas?See the Diabetes Menu Plan for Prevention and Management or Large Snacks for Type 2 Diabetes.

Sugar-free snacks

Be careful when choosing sugar-free foods that say “made for people with diabetes.” You may find this term on sugar-free cookies, cake and ice cream. Sugar-free foods can still contain carbohydrates that have to be counted as part of your diet. They may also be high in fat, sodium or calories, so it is important to read Nutrition Facts tables. Sweet-tasting sugar-free snacks might also have sugar alcohols. Eating too much sugar alcohol can cause an upset stomach, bloating and diarrhea in some people.

Bottom line

Snacks are a good way to keep blood glucose levels in control between meals. And, you can mix it up! Any of the snacks listed above can be used at other times of the day. Just make sure to stick with about 15 grams of carbohydrate per snack and to follow your meal plan.

If you need help choosing meals and snacks that fit with a diabetes eating plan, speak with a Registered Dietitian at EatRight Ontario. She can help you get started on healthy eating, walk you through a meal plan, send you handouts and find a Diabetes Education Program in your neighbourhood. Call 1-877-510-510-2 or send an email.

If you’d like handouts for an African and Caribbean, North Indian, South Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan or Latin-Hispanic eating plan, call 1-877-510-510-2 or send an email.

You may also be interested in:

Diabetes Menu Plan for prevention and management

Video: Focus on Carbohydrate

Healthy snack choices for people with diabetes

Was this article helpful? Tell us how. Please fill out our short survey.

Last Update – October 9, 2016

Phone Icon

Dietitians look beyond fads to deliver reliable, life-changing advice. Want to unlock the potential of food? Connect with a dietitian.