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

If you have type 2 diabetes, snacks are a smart way to keep your blood glucose levels under control between meals. If your Registered Dietitian suggests daily snacks with about 30 grams of carbohydrates per serving, you’ll find lots of delicious ideas here!

What is a healthy snack?

Carbohydrate-rich foods make the biggest difference to your blood glucose levels, so it’s important to be consistent with the amount of carbohydrate in your snack.

Larger snacks should contain about 30 grams of carbohydrate. This is the amount found in two slices of bread or a medium banana. Carbohydrates are also found in sweets such as pastries, chocolate and candy. These options are not very nutritious and should be chosen less often, if at all.

When choosing carbohydrate-rich foods:

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

The large snacks listed below have 30 grams of carbohydrate each. They contain about 150-250 calories.


Mid-day snacks

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

  • 250 mL (1 cup) skim milk latte or chai tea with 45 g (1½ oz) small cranberry bran muffin 
  • 175 mL (3/4 cup) hot oatmeal with 60 mL (¼ cup) blueberries
  • 28 g (1 oz) reduced-fat cheddar cheese with 4 rye crisp bread crackers
  • 250 mL (1 cup) of sliced carrots and ½ whole grain pita dipped in 60 mL (2 tbsp) hummus
  • 250 mL (1 cup) romaine lettuce topped with 125 mL (½ cup) chickpeas and 15 mL (1 tbsp) oil and vinegar dressing
  • 125 mL (½ cup) cooked quinoa with 15 mL (1 tbsp) sunflower seeds and 6 chopped dried apricots – sprinkle with cumin or cinnamon

Post work-out snacks

Being physically active can help improve blood glucose control. Choose a snack that contains carbohydrates and a small amount of protein.

  • 75 g (2.5 oz) chicken breast (skinless) with 125 mL (1/2 cup) roasted sweet potatoes and 125 mL (1/2 cup) carrots
  • 1 hard-boiled egg, 6 whole wheat cracker squares and 125 mL (½ cup) grapes
  • 1 medium banana with 2 tbsp walnuts
  • 1 small (65 g) bran muffin with 1 oz (28 g) low fat (7% MF) cheese
  • ½ whole wheat tortilla (10 in/25cm), 30mL(2 Tbsp) of refried beans and 125 mL (½ cup) of diced tomatoes
  • 1 low-fat whole grain granola bar and 125 mL (½ cup) skim milk

Evening snacks

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

  • 1 small sliced apple or pear dipped in 175 mL (¾ cup) plain low fat yogurt
  • 30 g (1 oz) high-fibre cereal such as bran flakes and 125 mL (½ cup) skim milk
  • 15 mL (1 tbsp) almond butter spread on 1 medium banana
  • Homemade trail mix: 30 g high-fibre cereal with 15 mL (1 tbsp) raisins and 30 mL (2 tbsp) unsalted nuts
  • 125 mL (½ cup) low-fat frozen yogurt topped with 250 mL (1 cup) mixed berries
  • 1 whole grain English muffin topped with tomato sauce, 30 g (1 oz) melted mozzarella cheese (16% milk fat) and your favourite vegetables

Need some more snack ideas? See the Diabetes Menu Plan for Prevention and Management or Small 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 sugar levels stable between meals. And, you can mix it up! The snacks listed above can be used at any time of day, as long as they fit in your meal plan. Stick with about 30 grams of carbohydrate per snack and follow your dietitian’s advice.


You may also be interested in:

Diabetes Menu Plan for prevention and management

Video: Focus on Carbohydrate

Healthy snack choices for people with diabetes



Last Update – October 13, 2020

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