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10 Sugar-Free Snack Ideas for Diabetics

Head and shoulders photograph of Anju Mobin
Banana bread, nuts, cinnamon sticks, and bananas
If you are diabetic, you need to be careful when choosing snacks that won't spike your blood sugar levels. The key is to go for low-carb, moderate protein, high-fiber snacks. Combining them with foods rich in potassium and magnesium can help improve insulin resistance, the root cause of diabetes.

It's not always easy or convenient to make the right snack choices as a diabetic. Luckily, some meal delivery services offer healthy, diabetes-friendly snacks for those who don't have the time to make them. For example, Sunbasket and Nutrisystem offer delicious snacks like grab-and-go bars, smoothies, soups, and sandwiches so that you have the right foods available when you get hungry.

But before you go ordering food, here are 10 sugar-free snack ideas for diabetes that you can easily make at home.

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1. Boiled Eggs

Eggs are great for diabetes. A 2018 study found that eggs could actually improve fasting blood sugar levels in Type 2 diabetics if taken regularly (1). They are very low in carbs, with one large hard-boiled egg having only 0.6 grams of carbs. This means that not much sugar is released into your blood when you consume them, so, the egg glycemic index is quite low.

Eggs are a great source of protein—about 6 grams each— which helps to regulate your blood sugar levels. They also have the highest anabolic effect, meaning that eggs can provide useful proteins that build your muscles.

2. Yogurt With Berries

Of all the types of yogurt, Greek yogurt's glycemic index is just 11, making it the best for diabetic diets.

Yogurt is low in carbs and high in protein, with just one container having about 8 grams of net carbs. Yogurt is also rich in vitamin D, which helps to improve insulin sensitivity and insulin production. Yogurt can help reduce inflammation and improve blood sugar control, which is really important for diabetics since they tend to have high levels of inflammation.

Frozen yogurt for diabetics can be treated as a dessert; you can have it plain or with nuts, seeds, and fresh fruits—especially berries—to improve its flavor and increase its nutritional value.

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), berries are diabetic superfoods. They are packed with antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and fibers. One cup of fresh blueberries has just 84 calories, and one cup of strawberries contains only 46 calories.

» Not planning your meals yet? Here are the top reasons for meal planning.

3. Handful of Nuts

People with Type 2 diabetes are 2-4 times more prone to heart disease than those who do not have diabetes. Nuts help maintain adequate glycemic control (2), and those that are very good for diabetics include almonds, walnuts, pistachios, and peanuts. The cashew glycemic index is 22, while the glycemic index of walnuts is only 15, making the latter a better option. One ounce of both almonds and walnuts contains 2 grams of net carbs, while the same quantity of peanuts has 4 grams of net carbs.

Here's a quick breakdown of the best nuts for diabetics:

  • Almonds help manage glucose levels because of their high magnesium content
  • Walnuts help reduce fasting insulin levels
  • Pistachios help improve fasting blood sugar levels
  • Peanuts are one of the lowest glycemic index nuts and have a very low impact on blood sugar

4. Avocado

The avocado glycemic index is just 15 while low in carbs and high in fiber. There are 9 grams of carbs in 100 grams of avocado, but only 1.8 grams are digestible, therefore, they don't spike your blood sugar levels but can actually reduce your fasting blood sugar and A1C levels.

Avocado is high in monounsaturated fatty acids that help improve insulin sensitivity. Healthy fats can slow carbohydrate digestion, keeping your sugar levels in check. It also makes you feel full, which keeps your food cravings in check.

Low-glycemic snack ideas include avocado smoothies, avocado salad, and avocado spread sandwiches.

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5. Edamame

Is edamame good for diabetics? Yes!

Edamame is young soybeans that are harvested before they ripen or harden. Considered one of the most nutritious and convenient snacks for diabetics, one cup of edamame contains 17 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and only 5 grams of net carbs. The glycemic index value of edamame is 18, which means it hardly spikes your sugar levels.

You can have it by blanching it in lightly salted water and serving it with the pods or adding it to another snack to increase the overall nutritional value.

6. Peanut Butter

Even though peanut butter contains a lot of calories, a sugar-free version can be a great snack choice for diabetics. Two tablespoons of natural peanut butter contain only 6 grams of carbohydrates with it also having a low glycemic index and not making spike your blood sugar when consumed.

Peanut butter is high in magnesium, which helps improve insulin sensitivity, reduce oxidative stress, and prevent inflammation. Instead of having peanut and jelly sandwiches, go for peanut butter with apple slices. The latter is high in essential nutrients such as B vitamins, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, and manganese. The polyphenols in apples are a potent antioxidant and protect the pancreatic cells from further damage.

» Want to better manage your diabetes? Here are the benefits of a vegan diet plan for diabetes.

7. Sugarless Cookies

Who said diabetics can’t have cookies? There are many sugarless cookies that can be easily made at home and taste great. These cookies are low-carb cookies that do not use refined flour or added sugar, making them suitable for diabetics.

One such example is peanut-butter cookies. Each serving has around 4g of carbs, 6g of protein, and 10g of fat. They can be prepared by using only 5 ingredients: eggs, smooth peanut butter, baking soda, vanilla essence for flavor, and erythritol for sweetness. Peanuts contain magnesium which is very good for diabetics. You can also use any other form of nut butter such as cashew butter or almond butter for a different flavor. Nut butter also has healthy fats, good amounts of protein, and fiber.

You can make any type of cookie you want by substituting refined flour with almond- or coconut flour and adding sweaters such as stevia or erythritol for sweetness. Add nuts, seeds, oatmeal, dried berries, etc, and make different varieties of sugarless cookies.

8. Ricotta Spread on Whole-Grain Crackers

Like mozzarella, ricotta cheese is also a great snack choice for diabetics with a low glycemic index. It's high in protein, which helps keep your blood sugar in check.

One serving of ricotta contains only 4.5 g of net carbs and keeps you feeling fuller for longer. In addition, ricotta also contains probiotics that are good for your health. If you are looking for high-fiber snacks for diabetics, then whole-grain crackers are a good choice. This can be a great accompaniment to ricotta since the cheese fat does not spike your sugar levels much.

» Feel like you eat too much? Learn more about why portion control is important.

9. Roasted Fox Nuts

Fox nuts are a great snack to munch on and help manage your blood sugar levels. Also known as Makhanas or Lotus seeds, it comes from a Euryale Fox plant, which grows in the stagnant waters of Eastern Asia.

They are very low in calories with about 50 grams of dry-roasted fox nuts having no saturated fat or sodium. They're also high in fiber and protein, which help manage your blood sugar levels when eaten in the right quantity.

10. Celery Sticks with Yogurt Dip

Is celery good for diabetics? Definitely, yes! Celery is low in calories and high in magnesium, antioxidants, and fibers.

When served with a yogurt dip, celery sticks can be delicious and healthy party snacks for diabetics. They contain flavones—strong antioxidants that help lower blood sugar levels and thus are a great alternative to french fries for diabetics.

Conclusion

A diabetic diet guide can help you make the right choices when choosing the right snacks. Just focus on the nutrients that can help maintain a healthy blood sugar level, such as high in protein, healthy fats, magnesium, potassium, and fiber.

While it's important to have some sugar-free snacks on hand to subdue those cravings, it's even more vital to plan your main meals and portion sizes. Prepared meal delivery services offer healthy and easy-to-prepare recipes to help you better manage your eating regimen, so don't forget to try them as well.

» Want to eat healthier? Here are the best nutrient-rich foods to add your diet.

References

  1. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/30073224/
  2. https://pubmed.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/8026287/
Head and shoulders photograph of Anju Mobin
Anju Mobin is a certified nutritionist with work experience as a Diet and Fitness Consultant from numerous medical clinics. Founder and editor of fitnesshacks.org, Anju strives to simplify complex information about nutrition, health, and fitness for the general public. As a mother of four children, she also writes about pregnancy and post-pregnancy nutrition, drawing from her own experience.

*The information on this site is based on research, but should not be treated as medical advice. Before beginning any new diet plan, we recommend consulting with a physician or other professional healthcare provider. Results may vary based on various health factors, individual weight loss plans and adherence to the meal plan.