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Diabetes: Healthy Snacks

Is it OK to include snacks in my diabetic meal plan?

The need to eat between meals or before bed depends on your blood sugar control and how many calories you need to eat per day. Adults who eat fewer calories and carbohydrates (carbs) may not need to snack if their blood sugar stays in control between meals.

Snacks can help to prevent low blood sugar. You may want to include snacks in your meal plan because:

  • Snacks can help you balance the food you eat with the medicines you take.
  • Eating smaller meals and having snacks with protein may help you avoid hunger and overeating.
  • You need to spread the carbohydrates that you eat more evenly throughout the day to help decrease spikes in your blood sugar after meals.
  • You exercise and want to prevent a drop in your blood sugar.

Which foods are good snacks?

Different types of snacks have different effects. The best choices for snacks are foods:

  • Low in saturated fat, such as lean meats, or low or fat-free milk products
  • High in fiber, such as fruits, vegetables, nuts, or whole grain foods

Snacks that are high in protein and fiber may satisfy hunger longer. Sugar from fruit will last 1 or 2 hours, so fruit is good for a morning or afternoon snack. Carbs eaten with proteins, such as low-fat cheese or lean meat, change to sugar more slowly. If you have low blood sugar during the night, you can add a lean protein to your evening carbohydrate snack. This can help the sugar last through the night. Milk and yogurt are a natural mix of carbohydrate and protein and make a good bedtime snack choice.

Snacks that contain 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate fit into most diabetic meal plans. If you are on a high-calorie meal plan, you may need to eat as much as 60 grams of carbohydrates (4 carb choices) per snack. You should also work with a dietitian to help plan your food choices.

If you are still hungry after a snack, try sugar-free Popsicles or Jell-O. Or make up a vegetable tray using cold crunchy vegetables and a fat-free dressing for a dip.

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Developed by RelayHealth.
Adult Advisor 2015.1 published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2014-06-20
Last reviewed: 2014-06-20
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
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