Foods that can help control blood sugar levels and provide plenty of fiber, protein, and vitamins and minerals, are good snack options for those with diabetes.

Many people snack between meals, but if a person has diabetes, it can be challenging to choose snacks that do not adversely affect blood sugar levels.

This article lists five healthy snacks suitable for people with diabetes and explains why they are beneficial.

A person dipping chicory in hummus with is a healthy snack for diabetes.Share on Pinterest
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This snack consists of raw, fresh vegetables and chickpea-based hummus.

A 2016 review notes that chickpeas are low on the glycemic index (GI).

The glycemic index ranks the number of carbohydrates in foods from zero to 100. The higher the number of carbohydrates a food has, the more a person’s blood sugar will rise.

High GI foods can cause harmful blood sugar spikes in people with diabetes.

Additionally, some studies suggest that chickpea-based hummus can:

  • improve glycemic control
  • lower glycemic responses by slowing down the rate that the body absorbs carbohydrates
  • reduce the effects of foods that have a higher GI

A person can use vegetables, such as carrots, bell peppers, and radishes, to dip in the hummus.

According to a 2017 study in the Journal of Nutritional Therapeutics, vitamin C can help control type 2 diabetes.

The study also states that carrots score highly on the Aggregate Nutrient Density Index (ANDI), which scores vegetables based on how many nutrients they provide per calorie.

Raw carrots are very low on the GI, which means that they will not cause the blood sugar levels to spike.

A 2015 article notes that bell peppers also are rich in vitamin C. The concentration of vitamin C increases with the ripeness of the bell pepper. Red peppers are the ripest and green the least ripe. This means that red bell peppers contain higher amounts of vitamin C.

Here are some hummus recipes to try:

Learn about other foods that contain vitamin C here.

A person can spread avocado on whole grain crackers or toast for a healthy snack.

Approximately 1 cup of avocado, mashed or pureed, contains:

  • 19.6 grams (g) of carbohydrates
  • 1.52g of sugar
  • 15.4g of fiber
  • 33.7g of fat, with only 4.89g of saturated fat
  • 368 calories

Avocados contain high amounts of fiber and low amounts of sugar, carbohydrates, and saturated fat. All of which is beneficial for those with diabetes.

Learn more about avocado and diabetes here.

Apples are low on the GI, which is beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes. Fruits with a high GI can cause blood sugar levels to spike.

Almond butter contains more dietary fiber than peanut butter. Approximately 16g of almond butter contains 1.65g, whereas the same amount of peanut butter contains 0.768g.

Almond butter also contains fewer carbohydrates and sugar than peanut butter.

A person can try the following recipes to make almond butter at home:

Learn more about almond butter vs. peanut butter here.

An 18g portion of almonds contains:

  • 104 calories
  • 3.88g of carbohydrates
  • 2.25g of fiber
  • 48.4g of calcium
  • 0.783g of sugar
  • 3.81g of protein

An older 2010 study stated that eating nuts might lower insulin levels. A more recent 2017 study found that consuming almonds daily may have a positive effect on controlling blood sugar levels.

However, nuts can contain high amounts of calories. If a person is losing weight as a part of their diabetes management plan, they should be careful of how many nuts they eat per day.

Learn more about almonds and diabetes here.

Cheese contains low amounts of carbohydrates. According to USDA’s FoodData Central, Cheddar cheese contains 0.22 g per 9g. This means that it is low on the GI scale. As a result, cheese should not cause a person’s blood sugar levels to rise quickly.

According to a 2013 study, dairy products, such as cheese, may also reduce a person’s insulin resistance because it contains vitamin D.

The study notes that vitamin D can:

  • slow down the genes that are involved in insulin resistance
  • enhance the insulin receptor expression
  • enhance insulin responsiveness
  • have a direct effect on insulin secretion

According to a 2020 study, diets containing high amounts of fiber are important in managing diabetes. The study notes that a person with diabetes should consume 35g of dietary fiber per day.

A practical way to do this would be to consume whole grain foods over refined grain products.

A person should choose whole grain crackers.

Learn more about the health benefits of whole grains here.

According to the National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases (NIDDK), a person with diabetes should limit their intake of the following foods:

  • fried food
  • food high in saturated fat or trans fat
  • food high in salt
  • baked goods, such as pastries
  • candy
  • ice cream
  • drinks with added sugar, such as soda, juice, and energy drinks

The NIDDK also recommend that a person limits the amount of alcohol they drink.

Alcohol can cause the body’s blood sugar levels to drop too much if a person uses insulin or takes diabetes medication.

People with diabetes need to be careful with the types of food they eat because their bodies store sugar from food in the bloodstream.

According to the NIDDK, this is because the body does not make enough insulin or is resistant to insulin, which is a hormone responsible for allowing sugar to enter cells, which they use for energy.

When there is not enough insulin or cells do not respond well to insulin, the body stores sugar in the bloodstream instead.

High blood sugar levels can cause a variety of health conditions, such as:

A person with diabetes will need to be aware of the GI of the different foods they eat. The GI shows how quickly blood sugar levels rise after eating certain foods.

Foods that are low in sugar and refined carbohydrates but high in fiber, vitamins, and healthy fats, can make excellent snacks for people with diabetes.

If a person aims to lose weight as part of their diabetes management plan, they should be aware that some healthy foods, such as nuts, can be high in calories.

Learn more about the best ways to lose weight with diabetes here.

It can be challenging to plan a diet that is suitable for diabetes. However, there are plenty of easy to prepare snack options to keep a person from feeling hungry throughout the day.

Snacks that are high in minerals, fiber, vitamin C, and quercetin, which is a compound in plants, can help control diabetes. Fruits, vegetables, and nuts are all excellent sources of these nutrients.

Dairy products, such as cheese and yogurt, can also benefit people with diabetes, as they are low on the GI scale and provide essential vitamins.

A person should avoid high sugar and salt snacks to help keep blood sugar levels under control and promote overall health.

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