Top 10 Best Snacks for Type 2 Diabetes
When you have type 2 diabetes, a smart strategy for controlling your blood sugar levels is to think of snacks as miniature versions of meals and plan your carbs accordingly. Snacks with a good mix of protein, fat, and fiber will help keep hunger at bay and your blood sugar on an even keel throughout the day. “Since a meal should include 45 to 60 grams of carbohydrates, a snack should have around 15 to 20 grams,” says Katherine Basbaum, MS, RD, a clinical dietitian in the Cardiology and Cardiac Rehabilitation departments at University of Virginia Health System in Charlottesville. By the same token, she says, fill your snack plate the same way you would for a regular meal. That means half should be non-starchy vegetables, one-quarter should be lean protein, and one-quarter a starchy carb.
Here are 10 terrific options for healthy diabetes snacks.
String Cheese and Whole-Wheat Crackers
Individually wrapped sticks of low-fat string cheese are easy to slip into your purse or backpack, but you’ll want to add a few other foods to round out this diabetes snack. For a more nutritionally complete snack, munch on a single serving of low-fat string cheese, five whole-grain crackers, and some baby carrots or apple slices, suggests Basbaum.
Almonds and Dried Cranberries
For a power-packed diabetes snack that’s sweet and crunchy, try this mix of nuts and dried fruit. Almonds limit the blood sugar spike that normally follows eating and they keep you feeling full, according to a study published in the November 2013 issue of European Journal of Clinical Nutrition.
With this snack, however, portion control is essential, because both foods are calorie-dense and the dried fruit packs a carb wallop. Stick to two tablespoons of each, which adds up to 20 grams of carbohydrates.
Hummus With Veggies
Build this healthy diabetes snack around one-third cup of hummus. Use it as a dip for cucumber, celery, broccoli, peppers, or carrot sticks. Hummus is calorie-dense but also offers fiber and nutrients. If you don’t like hummus, you can pair veggies with another healthy dip, such as a tablespoon of low-fat salad dressing, 2 tablespoons of plain yogurt, or tzatziki, a Greek yogurt dip made with cucumber, garlic, and spices.
Greek Yogurt and Raisins
Top off a half-cup of plain Greek yogurt with a tablespoon of raisins for a satisfying diabetes snack. In a small study in the March 2014 issue of Nutrition, researchers in Greece tracked people with diabetes who ate raisins, a food rich in antioxidants yet dense in carbs. Raisins didn’t raise blood sugar and lowered blood pressure, making them a healthy snack for people with type 2 diabetes.
Chicken Noodle Soup
For a warm and soothing snack, have a cup of chicken noodle soup. In fact, any low-sodium, broth-based soup that contains a mix of veggies, protein, and a small amount of noodles or starchy carbs will fit the diabetes snack bill. Try turkey and wild rice or a savory fish soup with a small amount of potato. Sip slowly for longer-lasting enjoyment.
Open-Faced Turkey Sandwich
Top one slice of whole-grain bread with 2 ounces of roasted turkey or chicken without the skin. Jazz it up with some mustard or a smear of light mayonnaise, lettuce leaves or other greens, and sliced tomato to add volume, taste, and more nutrients to this diabetes snack. Avoid prepackaged or processed luncheon meat whenever possible, which is preserved with lots of added salt. Opt instead for store-cooked or homemade roasted poultry.
Blend half a small banana, a half-cup of no-fat milk or yogurt, and a half-cup of frozen berries for this flavorful and refreshing diabetes snack. Adding ice during blending will thicken up the smoothie without adding more calories or carbs.
Snacks should be less than 150 calories, which can be challenging with smoothies, so measure your ingredients carefully for this healthy recipe. For a protein boost, add a dash of protein powder to the mix.
Hard-boiled eggs provide a protein punch and travel anywhere you do. You can also mash a hard-boiled egg with about a teaspoon of low-fat mayonnaise, or add an extra egg white or two for more protein. Eat this diabetes snack with five multigrain-crackers or spread on a slice of whole-grain bread. Or, for a change of pace, have it with a small serving of fruit, such as a handful of grapes.
One small apple with the skin on is a diabetes snack that provides about 20 grams of carbohydrates. To jazz it up with 10 more grams of carbs and added flavor, slice the apple and spread 1 tablespoon of natural peanut butter on the slices. Adding peanut butter to meals may help control blood sugar levels and manage hunger, according to research in the June 2013 issue of British Journal of Nutrition.
Make your own miniature pizza starting with a healthy 6-inch whole-grain tortilla “crust.” Spread low-sodium tomato sauce first, top with a few sliced olives, mushrooms, cooked onions, or roasted peppers, and then finish with 1 ounce of shredded cheese — try Parmesan, mozzarella, or both. Heat the mini-pizza in a microwave, toaster oven, or under the broiler until the cheese melts, and you’ve got a satisfying and healthy snack that’s ready in minutes.