10 Snacks to Help You be Healthy with Diabetes

  • author name Pamela J. Gress, BSN, RN, CCM, CDE
Apples with peanut butter

Snacks are an important part of being healthy and maintaining good blood sugar control for people with diabetes. The team at the Diabetes & Nutrition Center at Penn Medicine Lancaster General Health has pulled together some helpful tips and tasty snack ideas designed to help you stabilize your blood sugar and prevent overeating.

Eat Small, Eat Often

Most people with diabetes get the best control over their appetite by eating small meals and snacks spaced every 3-5 hours throughout the day. It’s best to start soon after getting up until just before going to bed. Experts usually recommend a bedtime because it stabilizes blood sugar overnight and, in many cases, actually makes the morning blood sugar lower.

Whole Grains and Raw Vegetables

The most satisfying snacks contain carbohydrate and protein. They are more filling and digest slowly for better blood sugar control. Look for whole grain versions of your favorite snacks, including food items with fiber, to help you feel full longer and stabilize blood sugar. Adding raw vegetables to any snack helps add volume which fills you up and gives you some extra nutrition.

Snack Guidelines for Men and Women

Women: Limit snacks to about 15 grams of carbohydrate and 150 calories. Men: 15-30 grams of carbohydrate and 200 calories.

The following 10 snack ideas contain about 15 grams of carbohydrate and are less than 200 calories. Each snack idea also contains some protein for stay power:

  • 1 cup of melon (or ½ cup of “lite” canned fruit) and ¼ cup of cottage cheese.
  • ⅓ cup of hummus and raw vegetables.
  • Small serving of fruit and 15 nuts (almonds/walnuts/pecans).
  • ½ whole grain English muffin with 1 tablespoon of tomato sauce and 1 ounce low fat cheese; heat to melt the cheese.
  • 3 cups of low-fat popcorn and 15 nuts (almonds/walnuts/pecans).
  • Small apple or banana with 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • Plain Greek yogurt (6 oz.) with ¼ cup of blueberries and a few drops of vanilla extract—add a pack of sweetener if needed.
  • Graham cracker (1 sheet) and 1 tablespoon of peanut butter.
  • Low fat cheese (1 oz.) and 4-6 whole grain crackers.
  • Half a turkey sandwich on whole grain bread with lettuce, tomato, and mustard.

Plan Ahead to Stay on Track

By planning healthy snacks as part of your daily meal plan, you can reduce mindless eating. Whenever possible, pack your snack from home. This helps avoid the temptation of the office food stash, vending machines, and the local convenience store. Get more information on living with diabetes in the LG Health Hub.

author name

Pamela J. Gress, BSN, RN, CCM, CDE

Pamela J. Gress, BSN, RN, CCM, CDE, is a certified diabetes educator and manager of the Diabetes & Nutrition Center.

Call: 717-544-5923

About LG Health Hub

The LG Health Hub features breaking medical news and straightforward advice to help individuals of all ages make healthy choices and reach their wellness goals. The blog puts articles by trusted Lancaster General Health clinical experts, good 'n healthy recipes, videos, patient stories, and health risk assessments at your fingertips.


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