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
- 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
- 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
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
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.
"The snack challenge: put as many foods on your plate that add up to 10 grams of carbs in total to help kids find out the carb content of different foods in a fun way.”
Joanne, parent of a child with type 1 diabetes
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.
What snacks can people with diabetes eat at night?
Eating too many late-night snacks high in calories is not a good idea. This is because it can lead to weight gain, and the carbohydrate can cause your blood sugar (glucose) levels to rise above your target range. This means you need to be careful when choosing what to eat at night and be mindful of the portion size.
If you do find yourself hungry and in need of the occasional snack, we recommend eating a piece of fruit or vegetable sticks. This is the healthiest option, as fruit and vegetables contain a good mix of nutrients like vitamins, minerals and fibre. Other snacking options include rice cakes, crackers, cereal bars or unsweetened yoghurts.
Is peanut butter good for people with diabetes?
Peanut butter is a source of healthy fats, which is helpful for protecting the heart, and it is also high in protein. This makes it a healthy and energising snack for people with diabetes. That’s why we include it in our low carb meal plans and tips for eating ‘on the go’.
It is important to recognise that the nutritional value of peanut butter may differ depending on the type and brand you buy. We suggest checking the food label to get more specific information.
- 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