Healthy snacks, as a part of a balanced diet, can help a person with type 2 diabetes (T2DM) manage their blood sugar levels.

Eating regular meals with healthy snacks in between can help a person with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels stable throughout the day.

In this article, we suggest snacks that may help a person with diabetes keep their blood sugar levels in their target range. We include snacks rich in protein, fiber, and healthy fats, as well as foods that may help stabilize blood glucose levels overnight.

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Some snacks rich in protein include:

Protein is crucial for the growth and repair of tissues. It also helps a person feel full and less prone to overeat.

On average, most adult females should consume at least 46 grams (g) of protein each day, and most adult males should consume at least 56 g of protein daily.

But protein needs vary based on factors such as height, weight, activity level, and state of health. Overall, protein should represent 10–35% of a person’s daily calories.

People with diabetes might try some of these high fiber snacks:

Fiber is an essential part of the diet. A 2022 systematic review and meta-analysis suggests that a diet rich in whole grains may reduce the risk of T2DM. The review notes an association between higher whole grain intake and a 21% lower occurrence of T2DM.

Carbohydrates in high fiber foods take longer to digest than those in low fiber foods. This can benefit a person with diabetes because slower digestion reduces the chances of blood sugar spiking. Fiber also provides dietary bulk, which can help a person feel fuller.

Females ages 19–30 years should consume at least 28 g of fiber per day, and males should consume 34 g. People over the age of 30 years require slightly less dietary fiber.

The following snacks contain fats that can be beneficial for people with diabetes.

Fat is an essential nutrient. In a 2018 review, researchers found that some types of fat, especially fats in oily fish, may help reduce the risk of T2DM.

However, it is important to focus on the right types and amounts of fat. Obesity and higher levels of body fat are risk factors for T2DM.

For adults, 20–35% of their calories should come from fats, and less than 10% should come from saturated fats. However, as with all dietary recommendations, this can vary from person to person.

A person with diabetes might try these low sodium snacks:

  • apple slices with almond or peanut butter
  • celery
  • quinoa
  • air-popped plain popcorn

Although salt, and the sodium it contains, does not directly affect blood sugars, it can raise the risk of hypertension. Therefore, a low sodium diet may help lower blood pressure and other cardiovascular risk factors associated with diabetes.

While more research is necessary to confirm whether it is beneficial, some people may benefit from a bedtime snack to help manage their blood sugars. A person might try the following before bed:

  • low sodium cottage cheese
  • hard-boiled eggs
  • sugar-free Greek yogurt
  • casein-based protein supplements

A person with diabetes may experience high blood sugar levels in the early hours of the morning. For some people, eating a small, high protein snack may help stabilize their levels throughout the night.

Some foods are not recommended for people with diabetes, especially those that can make it difficult to maintain stable blood sugar levels. These include:

  • fried foods and foods high in saturated and trans fats, as they are a T2DM risk factor
  • foods and drinks with added sugars, as they can cause blood sugar levels to spike
  • alcohol, as it can affect insulin levels and cause blood sugar levels to drop too low

Read on to learn more about dietary plans for those living with diabetes.

Beyond choosing the right foods, it is important to understand how fluid levels affect appetite and have reliable ways of managing any cravings.

The following strategies can support healthy snacking for people with diabetes.

Drink water instead of soda

Water is essential for good health, and it is important that a person stay sufficiently hydrated. A 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis also adds that an adequate water intake can help reduce T2DM risk.

Drinking water throughout the day can help a person feel full. For this reason, some experts advise replacing soda, sweetened juices, and other sweetened drinks with water.

Limit processed foods

Processed foods and packaged foods are typically higher in calories, sugar, salt, and harmful fats. Check labels carefully to see whether these products fit into healthy dietary planning.

Follow a routine

A meal plan is a guide that can help a person plan their food intake. It can help ensure that they meet their nutritional needs, as well as help keep blood sugar levels within the target range.

In addition to listing which foods a person should eat and what quantities, it can help with the timings of meals.

Spacing meals evenly can help prevent blood sugar dips and spikes and stave off hunger that can lead to overeating.

A person with diabetes may benefit from having regular healthy snacks as part of a tailored diet plan. This snacking can help stabilize blood glucose, promote feelings of fullness, and reduce any cravings.

Everyone’s situation is different, however, and a person with diabetes should ask their doctor or a registered dietitian to recommend the best options.