- Healthy swaps: snacks
- Snack guidance
- Confused where to start with snacks?
- Snacks under 50 calories
- Snacks under 100 calories
- Snacks under 150 calories
- Snacks under 10g carbs
- More snacking advice
- Snack swaps
- Diabetes and Peanuts
- Preventing Pre-Diabetes
- Is Hummus Good for Diabetic Snacks?
- Hummus Makes Great Diabetic Snacks!
- Delicious Diabetic Snack Recipes with Hummus
- Healthy snacks fact sheet
- Carbohydrate-based snacks
- Snacks low in carbohydrate
- More information
- The NDSS and you
Healthy swaps: snacks
Everyone needs a snack in between meals occasionally – but, if you have diabetes, you’ll want something small that will satisfy your hunger, is low in fat and sugar, and will not have a big effect on your blood glucose level.
If you’re bored with the same old snacks, here are some quick and easy ideas you can put together from ingredients you have at home or can buy easily. They also don’t need any cooking.
We’ve divided them into snacks under 10g carbs and those containing 50, 100 and 150 calories.
If you’re trying to lose weight, opt for the snacks with the least amount of calories.
We don’t recommend snacks labelled ‘diabetic’, which tend to be expensive and don’t offer you any special health benefits. The key is to plan your favourite snacks so they fit into your overall diet and watch your portion sizes.
Confused where to start with snacks?
Depending on whether you need help with calorie-controlled snack ideas or low-carb snack guidance, click on the relevant link below:
- Snacks under 50 calories
- Snacks under 100 calories
- Snacks under 150 calories
- Snacks under 10g carbs
- Advice on snacking
Snacks under 50 calories
- 1 small apple: 38 calories
- 2 satsumas: 50 calories
- 4 heaped tbsp blueberries: 44 calories
- 1 handful of grapes: 45 calories
- 1 kiwi fruit: 42 calories
- 1 peach: 30 calories
- 3 rings pineapple: 50 calories
- 1 light cheese triangle (25 calories) and 8 cherry tomatoes (24 calories): 49 calories
- 30g ready-to-eat partially rehydrated prunes: 48 calories
- 1 rice cake (27 calories) and 1 teaspoon (10g) pure fruit spread (22 calories): 49 calories
- 1 x 14g mini box of raisins: 45 calories
- 1 lighter cheese slice (34 calories) with ¼ cucumber (11 calories): 45 calories
- 1 x 115g pot sugar-free jelly: 8 calories
Snacks under 100 calories
- 4 bread sticks: 92 calories
- 80g defrosted frozen cherries (38 calories) with 50g 0% fat Greek-style yogurt (55 calories) whizzed together with ice: 93 calories
- 10 almonds: 69 calories
- 100g carrot batons (42 calories), ¼ cucumber (11 calories) and 50g (¼ pot of 200g pot) salsa (27 calories): 80 calories
- Half a pot (300g) of shop-bought fresh tomato soup: 93 calories
Snacks under 150 calories
- 1 tsp (15g) almond butter (97 calories) spread onto slices of a chopped apple (50 calories): 147 calories
- 100g 0% fat Greek-style yogurt (57 calories) plus 100g blueberries (68 calories): 125 calories
- 4 small (9g) crispbreads (108 calories) and 60g 0% fat cottage cheese (39 calories) and): 147 calories
- 25g toasted seed mix: 132 calories
- 1 (25g) slice Edam cheese (78 calories) and 1 apple (50 calories): 128 calories
- 2 small crispbreads (78 calories) and 1 x (30g) slice chicken breast (38 calories): 116 calories
- 25g raisin, nut, goji berry and seed mix: 124 calories
- 2 rice cakes (54 calories) and ¼ pot (50g) tzatziki dip (61 calories): 115 calories
Snacks under 10g carbs
If you have Type 1 diabetes, and have been on a carb-counting course such as DAFNE, you will know that you don’t have to take insulin to cover snacks with less than 10g of carbs. (If you’re on an insulin pump, you will probably still be covering it with a bolus.)
For people with Type 2 diabetes, who are trying to limit their carbs, these low-carb snack ideas are also useful.
- 115g pot of sugar-free jelly: 1.2g carbs and 8 calories
- 25g toasted seed mix: 3.8g carbs and 132 calories
- 25g almonds: 1.7g carbs and 153 calories (If you are watching your weight, bear in mind this is fairly high in calories)
- ¼ pot (50g) reduced-fat hummus (5.7g carbs and 120 caloires) and ½ packet (75g) fresh sliced peppers (3.6g carbs and 22 calories): 9.3g carbs and 140 calories
- 1 chopped boiled egg (1.7g carbs and 63 calories) and 100g carrot batons (7.7g carbs and 42 calories): 9.4g carbs and 107 calories
- 25g root veg crisps: 10g carbs and 129 calories
- ½ an avocado (80g): 1.5g carbs and 158 calories (Although high in calories, they are calories from good fats)
- 1 kiwi fruit: 8.5g carbs and 44 calories
More snacking advice
If you have Type 1 diabetes, you might need to eat a small snack between meals sometimes to help keep your blood glucose levels up. However, regular snacks can make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight, so check with your diabetes team for specific advice that’s tailored for your – or your child’s – diabetes management.
If you have Type 2 diabetes, it usually isn’t necessary to eat snacks between meals if you aren’t taking any medication for your diabetes. If you treat your diabetes with insulin and/or certain Type 2 medications that put you at risk of hypos (low blood glucose), you may need a snack. However, if you find you are having to snack regularly to prevent hypos, speak to your diabetes team. Regular snacks can make it difficult to maintain a healthy weight and, in the long term, this can affect your diabetes management.
- Instead of crisps, try plain popcorn with added spices or cinnamon
- Instead of bread and dips, try carrots and celery with salsa or low-fat hummus
- Instead of milk chocolate, try dark chocolate rice cakes
- Instead of ice cream, try frozen banana or low-fat frozen yogurt
- Instead of fizzy sugary drinks, try water flavoured with mint or fresh fruit
Diabetes and Peanuts
- Individuals with diabetes need foods that can help manage blood sugar and weight.
- Peanuts and peanut butter can be a powerful ally to reaching success.
- Peanuts and peanut butter have a low glycemic index, which mean they don’t cause blood sugar to rise sharply.
- For great ideas for including peanuts and peanut butter in meals, visit our recipe pages.
Successfully Managing Diabetes
More than 25 million people in the U.S. have diabetes (NIDDK, 2011). Successfully managing diabetes requires nutritious eating and maintaining a healthy weight, as well as monitoring blood sugar and taking medications as prescribed. When it comes to diet, peanuts and peanut butter are like a secret weapon because they taste great, but don’t cause blood glucose to spike. They have a glycemic index of just 14. Glycemic index is a measure of how quickly the blood sugar rises after eating a specific amount of a food, as compared to a control food – the lower the glycemic index number, the lower the impact on blood glucose (The University of Sydney, 2001). As part of a carbohydrate controlled diet, peanuts can add flavor, variety, and substance to meals.
Heart Health and Healthy Weight
The number one killer for people with diabetes is cardiovascular disease. In order to maintain good health, people with diabetes need to also reduce the risk for other disease. Incorporating foods that help promote heart health, including peanuts, is an important part of nutritious eating. In fact, scientific evidence suggests but does not prove that eating 1.5 oz. per day of nuts, including peanuts, as a part of a diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol may reduce the risk of heart disease. As part of reducing cardiovascular risk and managing diabetes, maintaining a healthy weight is paramount. Peanuts can be part of a heart healthy diet.
Experts agree – peanuts and peanut butter are regularly on the recommended foods list by many expert organizations, including the American Diabetes Association, because they have been shown to have a low GI and are full of nutrition. They also serve as a great vehicle food, helping people enjoy more fruits and vegetables, as well as whole grains.
- American Diabetes Association – peanuts and peanut butter are consistently mentioned as good choices for those managing diabetes
- Dietary Guidelines for Americans, 2010 – peanuts and peanut butter are featured in all of the recommended eating patterns
- American Heart Association – peanut butter and “many nuts and seeds” are recommended as foods to choose
Some great ways to include peanuts and peanut butter in your diet:
- Mixed into a bowl of whole grain oats at breakfast
- Sprinkled on a salad to add protein and crunch with lunch
- A handful as a mid-afternoon snack will help control the munchies
- Melted and mixed with a little lite coconut milk as a sauce for grilled chicken breast
- With crackers as an evening snack
- Try one of these recipes today to help make eating diabetes friendly…and delicious!
Nov. 26, 2002 — You stick it in the kids’ lunchbox and it sticks to the roof of their mouths. And now, researchers say that peanut butter may help stick it to the nation’s diabetes epidemic.
In a new study, Harvard researchers found that women who regularly consume peanut butter and nuts have a reduced risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who don’t — and the more they eat, the lower the risk. Their findings are published in the Nov. 27 edition of the Journal of the American Medical Association.
“While peanut butter and nuts do contain lots of fats, most are unsaturated fats — the healthy monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats that previous research shows can improve glucose and insulin stability,” says researcher Rui Jiang, MD, of Harvard School of Public Health.
Women who reported eating a tablespoon of peanut butter at least five times a week had a 21% reduced risk of type 2 diabetes compared to those who rarely or never ate it, according to the study. A 27% decrease was noted in women who consumed five ounces of nuts each week compared to women who never or almost never consumed nuts.
The findings are based on questionnaires sent every four years to 83,000 women participating in Harvard’s ongoing Nurses’ Health Study, which has tracked their dietary and health habits over 16 years. During that time, the researchers documented 3,200 new cases of type 2 diabetes in these women.
“We didn’t distinguish what types of nuts were consumed — we just asked if they ate nuts or peanut butter and did the calculations,” Jiang tells WebMD. “But we do not expect the association to differ by the type of nuts, because they have a similar nutrient profile. Most nuts, as well as peanut butter, are rich in the healthy types of fats and a good source of antioxidant vitamins, plant protein, and dietary fiber.”
Type 2 diabetes is among the fastest-growing epidemics in the U.S. During the 1990s, the number of new diagnoses jumped 50%, reports the CDC. About 200,000 Americans die from its complications each year, which include heart disease and stroke.
Pre-diabetes is a serious medical condition that puts you at a higher risk for developing type 2 diabetes. Pre-diabetes is also very treatable, and if you have it, there is a good chance you can prevent or delay type 2 diabetes by making changes in your diet and increasing your level of physical activity.
Type 2 Diabetes
Type 2 diabetes occurs when your body does not produce or use enough insulin to be able to turn glucose into energy. Glucose is the sugar and starch that comes from the food you eat, which fuels your body.
Insulin is a hormone that carries glucose from your blood into your cells. Without enough insulin, sugar builds up in your blood and can cause serious health problems.
Pre-diabetes is when your fasting blood glucose (blood sugar) level is above normal. To test for pre-diabetes, your doctor will take a sample of your blood after you have fasted overnight:
Normal fasting glucose: 60 to 99 milligrams per deciliter (mg/dl)
Pre-diabetes (impaired fasting glucose): 100 to 125 mg/dl
Diabetes: 126 mg/dl or higher on 2 occasions
Healthy Tips for Preventing Type 2 Diabetes
If you have pre-diabetes, you should talk to your doctor about developing a lifestyle plan to reduce your risk of type 2 diabetes. The American Diabetes Association recommends increased physical activity and, if you are overweight, losing 5-10 percent of your body weight. Your doctor may also want you to take medication if you have a family history of diabetes, you are obese, or have other cardiovascular risk factors (high blood pressure, high cholesterol levels, or a history of heart disease).
Below are tips to help you keep pre-diabetes from progressing to Type 2 diabetes:
Exercise Every Day
Since muscles use glucose for energy, activities like walking, bicycling, and gardening help to lower the sugar in your blood. Aim for 30 minutes or more of moderate exercise on all or most days of the week. Even 10 minutes at a time can be beneficial with a goal of 150 minutes per week.
Lose Weight If You Are Overweight
Extra body fat contributes to insulin resistance, which makes it more difficult for insulin to lower blood sugar levels, and increases the likelihood of pre-diabetes. Your doctor will likely tell you to look for areas in which you can cut your calorie intake by 250 to 500 hundred calories per day, such as:
- Eating smaller portion sizes
- Reducing the intake of foods such as cookies, desserts, bread, pasta, tortillas, rice, crackers, pretzels, and chips
- Choosing water in place of sodas, fruit juices, lemonade, smoothies, sweetened coffee and tea drinks, and alcohol
- Substituting lowfat and no-fat dairy products for whole fat ones
- Eating lean cuts of meat and fish, and removing skin from poultry
Choose Your Carbs Carefully
Be careful about the kinds of carbohydrates you eat and spread them evenly throughout the day. Remember, it is important to control your portions and not overeat!
Minimize intake of:
White bread, white rice, pasta, pastries, potatoes, sugared soda, highly processed foods (cakes, cookies, chips, and candy). Remember, the more processed a food is, the less fiber, vitamins, and minerals it has — leaving behind mostly starch.
Pastries, sugared soda, highly processed foods (cakes, cookies, chips, and candy)! These foods are mostly empty calories with no nutritional value which can add extra calories to your diet.
Move Toward Healthy Carbs
- Don’t over do it on carbohydrates at one meal or snack. Combine a carbohydrate with lean protein and unsaturated fat for a more satisfying meal.
- In place of fruit juice with toast and jam, eat a slice of whole grain bread with peanut butter or with an egg white omelet and have half a banana on the side.
- Choose high fiber, unrefined, whole grain carbohydrates (for example, whole wheat bread in place of white bread). You still must watch your portion sizes.
- Eat a heart-healthy diet low in saturated fat and cholesterol. Avoid all trans fats. Eat healthy, unsaturated fats instead (e.g. olive oil, canola oil, nuts, avocado, or fatty fish), but remember that all high-fat foods are dense in calories.
Is Hummus Good for Diabetic Snacks?
If you live in America, there’s roughly a 30% chance that you have either diagnosed or undiagnosed diabetes. That’s a pretty high number! This is largely due to the efforts of large food manufacturers and conglomerates to boost sales revenue while cutting production costs, by adding high doses of corn syrup, high fructose corn syrup, and sugar to mainstream food items. Heck, in America, even our bread has sugar in it!
The problem is that excessive sugar consumption is a key cause of diabetes—and for diabetics, avoiding high fructose corn syrup and other added sweeteners is a necessary part of maintaining healthy blood sugar levels. Even intake of foods high in simple carbs, such as pasta and bread, needs to be moderated. So it goes without saying that your diabetic snacks won’t be including many Skittles or Ho-Hos!
So what foods can you use in low carb snacks for diabetics, if you want something tasty, filling, nutritious?
Hummus Makes Great Diabetic Snacks!
Thankfully, hummus is one of the best diabetic snacks around. In addition to being packed full of diabetes-friendly complex carbs, protein, heart-healthy monounsaturated fats, and vitamins and minerals, hummus has a super low glycemic index! The American Diabetes Association recommends a 1/3 cup serving per day, preferably with vegetables to round out a filling and low carb snack for diabetics.
And as long as you’re checking out how healthy this “wonder dip” is, you may want to take a closer look at the brand label—because many popular hummus brands are not as healthy as they’d like you to think. Just like so many other foods, hummus can be laden with preservatives and low-quality conventional ingredients, treated with high heat, and full of unhealthy oils that are cheaper than real extra virgin olive oil.
Before you fix up a diabetic snack, make sure you’re prepared with the healthiest hummus—like HOPE Hummus! Not only do we have tons of delicious flavors to choose from, like Buffalo Bleu and Roasted Black Garlic, but we maintain the highest standards for our ingredients:
- Use only 100% Extra Virgin Olive Oil
- USDA Certified Organic—no synthetic additives or unhealthy pesticides
- High Pressure Processed—no heat treating, no preservatives
So once you’ve picked out your favorite HOPE flavor, it’s time to whip up some tasty diabetic snack recipes!
Delicious Diabetic Snack Recipes with Hummus
The simplest hummus diabetic snack is dipping veggie sticks in your favorite flavor! And there’s nothing wrong with that… but suppose you’re hankering for something a bit more creative. What can you do? First, you can visit the HOPE Kitchen, Instagram page, or YouTube channel for some delicious ideas. But if you want something now, here are just a few of the diabetic snack recipes we have available:
- Chickpea and Tofu Lettuce Wraps by @thekindcoconut, featuring Original Recipe hummus
- Kale Pesto Zucchini Noodles, featuring Kale Pesto hummus
- Black Garlic Tuna Salad Bhudda Bowl, featuring Black Garlic hummus
- Salmon Hummus Salad by @coffeeandcardio, featuring Spicy Avocado hummus
These are just the tip of the iceberg… let us know how you incorporate delicious and healthy HOPE Hummus into your creative diabetic snacks!
As always, cheers and happy eating.
Healthy snacks fact sheet
This fact sheet is available in two formats.
You can download and print out the PDF version.
Or you can read it as a website page below.
Eating the right balance of healthy foods can help you live well with diabetes. Snacks can be part of your daily nutrition. It’s important to make healthy choices and watch your portions to manage your health.
The snacks listed below contain one carbohydrate exchange (approximately 15g of carbohydrate). Talk to your diabetes health care team about whether you need to eat carbohydrate-based snacks.
- Fresh fruit: one apple, pear, orange, large peach, large nectarine, or small banana; three medium apricots or small mandarins; two kiwifruit or plums; one cup of grapes, cherries or melon
- Canned fruit in natural juice (drained): once cup of fruit salad, apricots or peaches
- Dried fruit: one tablespoon of sultanas; six prunes; four whole dried apricots (eight halves)
- A half cup of no added-salt baked beans
- One steamed cob of corn
- Small can (125g) corn kernels
Dairy and alternatives
- 100g of low-fat flavoured yoghurt or 200g of diet, natural or plain varieties. Flavour natural yoghurt with nuts or seeds
- 250ml of low-fat plain milk or soy milk with added calcium
- Medium cappuccino, café latte or flat white coffee with low-fat milk or soy milk
Breads and cereals
- One slice of dense grainy or seeded bread (plain or toasted) with a thin spread of avocado, low-fat ricotta, cottage cheese or hummus, with sliced tomato and sprouts
- Half a wholegrain English muffin grilled with one slice of low-fat cheese and a sliced tomato
- One small wholemeal pita pocket or wrap with grated carrot and grated low-fat cheese
- Two wholegrain crispbread with cottage cheese, low-fat cream cheese, hummus or avocado and tomato
Muesli and nut bars
Muesli and nut bars are a ‘sometimes’ snack as they can be high in kilojoules, added fat and sugar. Check the nutrition information panel to see if the product is a healthy option. Eat these only occasionally.
Homemade snacks can be a healthy choice but they can still be high in kilojoules. Eat small portions of these only occasionally.
Cakes, biscuits, muffins and slices baked at home can be made healthier by using olive, canola, rice bran, grapeseed or sunflower margarines or oils; stewed or dried fruit in place of sugar, wholemeal flour, oats or oat bran, legume flours, nuts and seeds.
Snacks low in carbohydrate
These snacks are good choices for people who want to include snacks without affecting their blood glucose levels. Try these ideas in the recommended portions:
Nuts and seeds
- 30 grams (a small handful) of plain, raw unsalted nuts: mixed, macadamias, walnuts, almonds, cashews, brazil, hazelnuts, pecans or pistachios
- 30 grams (a small handful) of pumpkin or sunflower seeds
Salad and vegetables
- Vegetable sticks: celery, carrot, capsicum, cucumber or snow peas with one slice (20g) of low-fat cheese or one tablespoon of hummus, tomato salsa or tzatziki yoghurt dip
- Celery boats with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter or hummus
- A handful of cherry tomatoes
Lean meat and alternatives
- A mini can of tuna, salmon or sardines served in half a capsicum or a lettuce cup
- A hard-boiled egg
- A slice of marinated tofu, grilled
- Half a cup boiled or roasted edamame (green soy beans)
- One cup of air-popped popcorn served plain, or sprinkled with cinnamon, paprika or chilli
Some fruits do not contain enough carbohydrate to impact on your blood glucose levels. They include:
- Two passionfruit
- Half a cup of strawberries
- Half a cup of raspberries or blackberries
- One fresh fig
When shopping, try to limit buying snacks that are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt (sodium), such as the examples below.
- Sweet biscuits and some crackers
- Cakes, muffins and slices
- Chocolates and confectionary
- Potato crisps, corn chips and other salty snacks
- Processed and pre-packaged snack foods
- Fast foods and high-fat takeaways
It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Water is the best drink, but some alternatives are listed below.
- Mineral or soda water flavoured with sliced lemon/lime/frozen berries/ cucumber/fresh mint
- Black/oolong/green/herbal tea
- Coffee or decaffeinated coffee with a dash of skim or low-fat milk
An occasional diet drink may add variety without extra sugar or kilojoules.
The booklet, The healthy shopping guide – your essential supermarket companion, can help you to make healthy snack choices. To order a copy, call 1300 136 588.
The NDSS and you
A wide range of services and support is available through the NDSS to help you manage your diabetes. This includes information on diabetes management through the NDSS Helpline and website. The products, services and education programs available can help you stay on top of your diabetes.
This fact sheet is intended as a guide only. It should not replace individual medical advice and if you have any concerns about your health or further questions, you should contact your health professional.
Version 2 November 2018. First published June 2016.