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?
Your snack choices should be based on the four food groups in Canada’s Food Guide. 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.
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
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.
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.
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.
If you need help choosing meals and snacks that fit with a diabetes eating plan, speak with a Registered Dietitian at EatRight Ontario. She can help you get started on healthy eating, walk you through a meal plan, send you handouts and find a Diabetes Education Program in your neighbourhood. Call 1-877-510-510-2 or send an email.
If you’d like handouts for an African and Carribean, North Indian, South Indian, Pakistani, Sri Lankan or Latin-Hispanic eating plan, call 1-877-510-510-2 or send an email.
You may also be interested in:
Diabetes Menu Plan for prevention and management
Video: Focus on Carbohydrate
Healthy snack choices for people with diabetes
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Last Update – October 9, 2016