11 Healthy Snacks for Diabetes and Prediabetes

By Craig Sorkin, DNP, APN
Medically reviewed checkmarkMedically reviewed
October 19, 2022

If you have diabetes or prediabetes, you may wonder what you can eat for a snack. The key is to focus on high-protein and high-fiber foods with no added sugars. Protein and fiber slow digestion, which helps prevent a blood sugar spike.

I’ve pulled together a list of 11 healthy snacks for people with prediabetes and diabetes. I’ll also discuss tips for choosing good snacks and how to practice portion control.

Almonds

Almonds are nutritious, filling, and convenient when you need to be on-the-go. One ounce (about 23 almonds) provides 6 grams of protein along with a healthy dose of fiber, vitamin E, and minerals such as potassium, magnesium, and phosphorus. 

In addition, one study found that eating an almond snack daily may help people with diabetes and prediabetes control their blood sugar and reduce their waist size and HbA1C.

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Hard-Boiled Egg

One hard-boiled egg contains 6.3 grams of protein and only 0.56 grams of carbohydrates. With such a high protein and low carbohydrate count, you’ll feel full and get the energy you need without increasing your blood sugar. 

This snack may also help you lose weight. In one study, people with type 2 diabetes who ate two eggs a day reduced their body weight, waist circumference, and visceral body fat. Losing weight can help improve insulin sensitivity and may reduce the need for some diabetes medications

Veggies and Hummus

Veggies are loaded with fiber and vitamins and won’t spike blood sugar. To make them more satisfying and flavorful, dip them in hummus. This creamy spread is made from chickpeas blended with tahini, olive oil, lemon juice, and spices. It’s a source of protein and healthy fat, which may help you feel full longer. Research suggests that consuming hummus may help with weight management and glucose regulation, as well as decrease your risk for heart disease

Popcorn

One serving of popcorn gives you about one-third of your daily intake of whole grains. Including whole grains in your diet may help lower blood pressure and reduce your risk for obesity and heart disease.  

However, popcorn needs to be prepared correctly. Many microwave versions are loaded with butter, salt, and sometimes sugar. Try an air popper instead to make your own. Then go ahead and add a little butter and salt for flavoring. 

Oatmeal

Oats are another type of whole grain that boasts a good dose of fiber, protein, vitamins, and minerals. Some research suggests that eating oats may have anti-cancer properties. 

Have half a cup of cooked oatmeal with some nuts and berries for a snack, or make overnight oats.

Avocado

Half of an avocado provides 4.2 grams of protein, 13.5 grams of fiber, and 29.5 grams of fat. Given its high calorie content, it’s best to eat half an avocado for a snack. Enjoy it with a little sprinkle of salt or other seasoning, or mash it into guacamole to eat with raw veggies. 

Roasted Chickpeas

Chickpeas (also called garbanzo beans) are a legume that research suggests may help with blood sugar regulation and healthy weight management. 

For a snack, roast the beans: Rinse a can of chickpeas and blot dry. Toss the beans with a little olive oil and some seasonings like garlic powder, paprika, salt, and onion powder. Then bake them on a cookie sheet in the oven until crispy, being sure to mix them around every so often.

Peanut Butter

Peanut butter is a delicious addition to many snacks and provides more than 3 grams of protein per tablespoon. You can pair it with fruits such as apples, pears, and bananas. You can mix it into oatmeal. Or you can make ants on a log: Spread a little on celery and top with raisins.

Edamame

Edamame is immature soybeans. Originally popular in East Asian countries, you can find it fresh or frozen in many grocery stores. Simply steam the pods and enjoy. One cup of cooked edamame contains 18.4 grams of protein, 8 grams of fiber, and 13.8 grams of carbohydrates, along with many vitamins and minerals. 

Tuna

Three ounces of tuna provides 19.8 grams of protein, no carbohydrates, and the added benefit of heart-healthy omega-3 fatty acids. A quick snack idea is making tuna lettuce wraps. Mix it with a little mayonnaise and add flavorings like celery, onion, green olives, or dill relish, then wrap it in a piece of lettuce.

Cottage Cheese

One cup of cottage cheese contains 25 grams of protein, which will help you stay full longer. Eat it plain or add chopped fruit or berries for fiber and natural sweetness. 

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Tips for Snacking with Diabetes

Learning how foods affect your blood sugar is key to living well with diabetes and prediabetes. Here are some tips for deciding what to eat for a snack. 

Practice portion control

The term portion refers to how much food you chose to eat. This is different from serving size, which refers to a specific quantity of food or drink.  

Some people practice counting carbohydrates to help them determine the foods and quantities their meals and snacks should contain. Your medical provider can help you determine how many carbs you need daily. 

Another method is the plate method. Start with a nine-inch plate and fill half the place with non-starchy vegetables, such as green beans, salad, or broccoli. Then fill one-quarter of the plate with lean protein and the last quarter with carb food. 

Limit sugars

Sugars, especially processed sugars, cause blood sugar levels to rise. To avoid hidden sugars, read food labels, looking for ingredients ending in “ose” such as sucrose, fructose, or maltose, and any ingredient that includes “syrup” or “juice.” These are all types of sugars. When these words are near the top of the ingredients list, it means there is a large amount in that food. It’s probably best to skip the food or eat a small portion.

Choose healthy fats

Some fats are healthy for your body, while others are harmful. Eating harmful fats can cause weight gain and put you at higher risk for heart disease. Healthy fats are found in foods such as:

  • Nuts
  • Seeds
  • Avocados
  • Olive oil
  • Canola oil
  • Tuna
  • Salmon
  • Sardines

Try swapping your butter and cream cheese for nut butter or avocado. When eating out, ask for your veggies to be baked or steamed rather than fried. Especially stay away from deep-fried foods. Instead, add a spoonful of salsa or hot sauce to add flavoring without harmful fats.

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Frequently Asked Questions

What snack lowers blood sugar?
High-protein and high-fiber snacks will keep blood sugar in a healthy range. Consider snacks like cottage cheese, a cheese stick, handful of almonds, or veggies with hummus.
What are healthy snacks for type 2 diabetes?
Healthy snacks for someone with diabetes may include unsweetened yogurt with a handful of berries, a beef stick, turkey roll up, chia seed pudding, trail mix, black bean salad, and egg muffins.
How often can I eat snacks with diabetes?
Part of managing diabetes is making sure your blood sugar does not drop too low or climb too high. Going too long without food may cause your blood sugar to decrease too much. Eating a mid-morning and mid-afternoon snack may help you keep your blood sugar in check. Sometimes a protein snack before bed is a good idea as well, depending on when you ate dinner.
K Health articles are all written and reviewed by MDs, PhDs, NPs, or PharmDs and are for informational purposes only. This information does not constitute and should not be relied on for professional medical advice. Always talk to your doctor about the risks and benefits of any treatment.

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Craig Sorkin, DNP, APN

Craig Sorkin, DNP, APN is a board certified Family Nurse Practitioner with over 15 years experience. He received his Undergraduate and Graduate degrees from William Paterson University and his doctoral degree from Drexel University. He has spent his career working in the Emergency Room and Primary Care. The last 6 years of his career have been dedicated to the field of digital medicine. He has created departments geared towards this specialized practice as well as written blogs and a book about the topic.