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The Best Kinds of Low-Carb Snacks

Low/no-carb snacks can be an excellent choice for people with diabetes to satisfy cravings between meals, while still keeping blood glucose levels under control, according to Elizabeth Staum, MS, RD, LDN, Nutrition Educator at Joslin Diabetes Center.

Diabetes Snacking Habits

Your snacking habits with diabetes should depend on the type of diabetes medication you’re taking and your diabetes meal plan.  If you take oral diabetes medications, you may want to eat smaller meals and have more substantial snacks with protein, to keep you from getting hungry and overeating.          
If you take insulin, Staum says it’s better to eat the majority of your carbs at mealtimes, when you still have insulin coverage.  Depending on your need for insulin, your snack should usually have 15 grams of carbs or less.

Snacks are beneficial for people with diabetes whose blood glucose tends to drop at a certain time of day even after adjusting their insulin regimen, Staum says.  People with diabetes also benefit from carb-containing snacks pre- and post-exercise, when blood glucose can drop as well.

Key Ingredients in a Good Diabetes Snack

People with diabetes should choose snacks that are full of healthful nutrients such as protein, fiber, and vitamins and minerals.  Snacks rich in protein and fiber make your snack more satisfying, Staum says.  Snack ideas that contain protein can include choices such as:

  • Natural peanut butter
  • Low fat cheese or cottage cheese
  • Unsalted nuts
  • Egg
  • Yogurt
  • Milk

To get more fiber, and vitamins and minerals, try eating vegetables, fruits, or whole grain crackers or bread.  Snacks for people with diabetes should also be heart-healthy, meaning low in sodium (140 mg per serving or less), low in saturated fat, and no trans fat.

Review your diabetes goals with your health care team to see how snacking can be incorporated into your diabetes meal plan.

To make an appointment with a nutrition educator, please call (617) 732-2400.

Your Snack Should Include:

  • 15 g of carbs, if on mealtime insulin
  • 15-30 g of carbs, if exercising or having problems with hypoglycemia
  • Carbs combined with protein, if trying to satisfy hunger and prevent overeating

Click here for a list of low/no-carb snack choices.


Nutrition & Meal Planning offers guidance and tips on what a meal plan should look like; carb counting; tips for cooking and baking; meal replacements and much more.

Click here to purchase this book from the Joslin Store.

Page last updated: November 07, 2019