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. You may need to have a snack between meals if you go for long periods of time without eating, are hungry between meals, exercise regularly or are at risk of having low blood sugar. If your dietitian suggests that a small snack fits into your diabetes meal plan, you’ll find many healthy ideas below.

What is a healthy snack for type 2 diabetes?

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 for type 2 diabetes

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 milk
  • 250 mL (1 cup) cantaloupe with 125 mL (½ cup) cottage cheese
  • 15 baby carrots with 30 mL (2 tbsp) hummus

On-the-go snacks for type 2 diabetes

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 with cheese
  • 1 single-serve (125 mL) unsweetened applesauce sprinkled with 15 mL (1 tbsp) slivered almonds
  • 250 mL (1 cup) carrot sticks with 45 mL (3 tbsp) hummus
  • 1 small apple with almond butter
  • 1 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 with 15 mL (1 tbsp) peanut butter
  • Trail mix: 30 mL (2 tbsp) raisins, 15 mL (1 tbsp) unsalted nuts
  • 80 mL (1/3 cup) roasted chickpeas

Evening snacks for type 2 diabetes

Unwind after a long day with one of these snack ideas if your dietitian recommends it.

  • 250 mL (1 cup) strawberries with 125 mL (½ cup) milk
  • 30 grams (1 ounce) cheese and 4 whole-grain crackers
  • 250 mL (1 cup) blueberries
  • 175 mL (¾ cup) plain yogurt or vegetable raita
  • 750 mL (3 cups) air-popped popcorn
  • 250 mL (1 cup) carrots with 175 mL (3/4 cup) plain yogurt dip
  • 1 slice whole grain bread with 40 g (¼ can) tuna and 5 mL (1 tsp) mayonnaise
  • 1 frozen yogurt and fruit popsicle

Need some more snack ideas?  See Diabetes Menu Plan for Prevention and Management or Healthy snack ideas for people with type 2 diabetes - Large Snacks.

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 understand food labels. 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 to about 15 grams of carbohydrate per snack and to follow your meal plan.

You may also be interested in:

Video: Focus on Carbohydrate

Tips for healthy snacking for people with diabetes

Last Update – September 8, 2019

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