11 Best Snacks for Type 2 Diabetes

When a case of the mid-afternoon munchies strikes, it can be tempting to reach for unhealthy snacks like chips, cookies, or a candy bar. But doing so is a surefire way to derail a day of healthy eating. The good news: Snacks don't have to be your diet downfall — they can actually help you stick with your diabetes meal plan as long as you choose wisely, says Laura Cipullo, RD, CDE, author of The Diabetes Comfort Food Diet.

Healthy options can curb hunger and provide a boost of energy to get you through your day. The key is to plan ahead and keep the right snacks on hand so you aren't tempted to hit the vending machine. Cipullo usually recommends snacks that contain a mix of carbohydrates, protein, and healthy fats. The winning combination will fill you up and digest slowly in your body, helping to keep your blood sugar levels steady. Read on to discover 12 tasty, on-the-go options that you can stash in your bag or desk drawer so you’ll always have a satisfying snack on standby.

Popcorn and Roasted Almonds
For a surprisingly filling snack that offers a healthy combo of good fats and high-quality carbohydrates, Cipullo recommends tossing 2 cups of air-popped popcorn with 16 roasted almonds. Like other whole grains, popcorn is full of fiber, a multitasking nutrient that boosts heart health, improves blood sugar control, and curbs appetite. A study published in 2012 in Nutrition Journal even suggested that popcorn is more satisfying than potato chips. Just be sure to skip butter-laden, microwave varieties and bagged popcorn covered in salt and powdered cheese. Instead, opt for plain, air-popped bags or, even better, make a bowl of fresh popcorn at

Greek Yogurt
Protein-packed nonfat Greek yogurt makes a satisfying snack, especially when topped with fresh berries or a sprinkling of nuts. Along with protein, it provides a healthy dose of calcium, says Cipullo. Try Chobani plain Greek yogurt and add fresh fruit for sweetness.

Unsalted Nuts
Although all nuts — including almonds, pecans, pistachios, and peanuts — are packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats, walnuts may be more beneficial because of their uniquely high levels of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids. In a study published in April 2013 in The Journal of Nutrition, women who ate 8 ounces (oz) of walnuts or more a month (or 2 oz per week) reduced their risk of type 2 diabetes by 24 percent. Cipullo suggests choosing raw or dry roasted nuts with no added salt or sugar and limiting servings to a small handful (about 1 oz).
ApplesTurns out Mom was right: An apple a day really can keep you healthy. Filled with fiber, apples can help curb hunger by keeping you feeling full longer. A study published in April 2009 in the journal Appetite found that people who snacked on apples ate 15 percent fewer calories at their next meal. “But nothing in life is free,” says Cipullo. “Because fruit does contain carbohydrates, it’s important to monitor your portions.” Limit yourself to a small apple, she advises, and eat it with a protein or fat like hummus, cheddar cheese, or a tablespoon of natural peanut or almond butter to help keep your blood sugar levels steady.

HummusTypically made from chickpeas, hummus contains protein and heart-healthy unsaturated fat — making this a great grab-and-go snack option, says Cipullo. “Now that they’re individually packed and pre-portioned, they’re easy to just throw in your bag,” she says. Grab a Sabra snack pack with pretzels if you’re on the go, or enjoy hummus at home with sliced carrots, cucumber, apples, whole wheat crackers, or pita chips.

Like hummus, creamy and delicious guacamole dips are now available in individual snack packs that are easy to take on the road. Made from ripe avocados, guacamole is a good source of heart-healthy monounsaturated fatty acids and also contains vitamin E. Plus, it goes perfectly with sliced vegetables, whole-wheat crackers (try to keep it to a 1 oz portion) or a slice of toast with tomatoes. Just be sure to avoid products made from powdered guacamole. Try Wholly Guacamole minis, which are made from Hass avocados and contain just 100 calories.

Packed with vitamins, antioxidants, and flavonoids, berries are naturally sweet, heart-healthy carbohydrates that are delicious on their own or with proteins or healthy fats. “Berries are great because you can eat a lot of them without negatively affecting your blood sugar,” says Cipullo. “One- and-a-quarter cup of strawberries contains only 15 grams of carbs.” A study published in 2013 in Circulation found that women who ate more than three servings of strawberries or blueberries each week had a reduced risk of heart attack. Another study published in August 2013 in The BMJ linked blueberry consumption to a reduced risk of developing type 2 diabetes. Sprinkle berries on your Greek yogurt or oatmeal, or try pairing them with nuts or cheese.
Cheese Rounds and Sticks
Low-fat cheese rounds (like Babybel), snack blocks, wedges, or sticks are convenient, portion controlled, grab-and-go options that can satisfy any snack urge. A good source of protein and calcium, they have a mild and pleasant taste that goes well with fruit or whole-wheat crackers.
Roasted Seeds
Seeds are a great source of fiber and other key nutrients, like vitamin E, folate, and zinc. This diabetes-friendly snack is a great heart-healthy option, especially if you stick to unsalted varieties. You can have 1/2 cup of shell-on roasted pumpkin or sunflower seeds for less than 200 calories (the calories are higher if you choose shelled varieties, so check the serving size before you start munching). Punch up the flavor by sprinkling on creole seasoning, cayenne pepper, curry powder, or your favorite spice blend.

Peanut and Almond Butter
Rich and creamy nut butters go a long way when it comes to managing blood sugar and keeping you feeling full, says Cipullo. The individual peanut and almond butter packets now available in stores make it easy to eat healthy on the go. Look for brands like Justin's that only contain nuts and salt with no added oil. Spread some on an apple or banana, or use as a dip for carrot and celery sticks. Combining peanut butter with well-portioned carbohydrates will help keep your blood sugar in check. You can also swirl a spoonful into nonfat Greek yogurt or oatmeal for an extra protein boost.