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18 Diabetes-Friendly Snacks With Minimal Prep Time

Table of Contents

Key Takeaways

  • About 40% of Americans have prediabetes or diabetes—health conditions that contribute to high blood sugar levels.
  • Food and beverage choices directly impact your blood sugar levels, and a dietitian can teach you what to eat.
  • Well-balanced snacks and meals, which include lean protein, healthy fats, high-quality carbohydrates, and fiber, can help stabilize blood sugar levels.

Each year, 1.4 million Americans are diagnosed with diabetes.

About 40% of American adults have prediabetes or diabetes, with some of those unaware they have the condition.

What you eat impacts your blood sugar levels. If you consume too many carbohydrates, you’ll experience an increase in your blood sugar levels and may become tired, thirsty, and have blurry vision. 

If you consume too little carbohydrates, you may have low blood sugar levels and become shaky and dizzy. 

Eating three meals and one to two snacks daily can prevent blood sugar fluctuations and help you manage your diabetes. 

Work with a registered dietitian trained in diabetes to fast-track your success and learn more about diabetes management strategies. 

In this article, you’ll learn how to plan a diabetes-friendly snack, 18 snack ideas with minimal prep time, and how a registered dietitian nutritionist (RDN) can help.

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1. Carrot Sticks with Red Pepper Hummus

Enjoy non-starchy vegetables, like carrots or cucumber sticks, as they’re lower in carbohydrates. 

Pairing the carrots with protein and fiber-rich hummus helps to stabilize blood sugar levels and keep you full between meals. 

Hummus is made from chickpeas blended with tahini and spices to create a dip.

Two tablespoons of hummus provide 2 g of protein, 4 g of carbohydrates, and 1.6 g of fiber

You can purchase pre-made red pepper hummus (or other flavors) at your local grocery store. 

2. Hard Boiled Eggs and Whole-Grain Crackers

Hard-boiled eggs are often overlooked as a quick snack item. 

After boiling, they stay fresh in their shells in the refrigerator for up to one week.

Each hard-boiled egg has 6 g of protein and other essential nutrients. 

Sprinkle pepper or a drop of hot sauce on your egg and pair with whole-grain crackers for a balanced snack. 

3. Apple Slices and Almond Butter

Simple snacks are often the best—especially when you can use ingredients you already have at home. 

Choose your preferred nut butter (almond, peanut, or sunflower butter). This easy swap accommodates any food allergies.

To switch things up, change the apple variety. Try Granny Smith, Gala, Golden Delicious, and many more. 

Two tablespoons of almond butter provide 7 g of protein, 3 g of carbohydrates, and 3 g of fiber, while a medium Gala apple adds another 22 g of carbohydrates, and 5g  of fiber

4. Plain Greek Yogurt with Almonds

Pick an unsweetened low-fat Greek Yogurt option like Chobani Greek Yogurt and top it with one ounce of almonds (about 20 nuts). 

A 5.6-ounce container of Greek yogurt provides 14 g of protein and 6 g of carbohydrates, while the almonds give an additional 6g of protein, 6 g of carbohydrates, and 3g of fiber.

The protein and fiber are filling, and this no-cook snack is perfect for at home or away.

5. Turkey and Cheese Roll-Ups with Whole Wheat Crackers 

Roll a slice of low-sodium turkey lunch meat with your favorite hard cheese like Cheddar or Swiss. 

Add four to five whole wheat crackers for crunch and fiber-containing carbohydrates for a filling and quick snack. 

One slice of cheese provides 8 g of protein and 1 g of carbohydrate, one slice of turkey offers 4 g of protein and 1 g of carbohydrate, and the crackers add another 2 g of protein, 11 g of carbohydrates, and 2 g of fiber. 

6. Tuna Salad on Whole Wheat Crackers or Cucumber Slices

Tuna salad offers some heart-healthy fats and filling protein.

You can prepare tuna salad beforehand, store it in the refrigerator for three to four days, and use it for snacks or a meal.

To make, mix a drained can of tuna with two tablespoons of light mayo, half a diced red onion, two tablespoons of freshly chopped parsley, one diced pickle, and a pinch of ground pepper to taste. 

Pair the tuna salad with whole wheat crackers or cucumber slices for a non-starchy vegetable crunch.

A half-cup of tuna salad provides about 12 g of protein and 3 g of carbohydrates by itself

7. Edamame 

Edamame, a juvenile soybean, contains all three macronutrients and loads of vitamins and minerals in one food! 

One cup of edamame provides 18 g of protein, 14 g of carbohydrates with 8 g of fiber.

It also contains all your daily folate needs and is a high source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, vitamin K, and copper.

Keep frozen edamame on hand and simply warm on the stove or microwave for a quick, filling snack.

8. WholeGrain Toast with Avocado

Choose whole-grain toast for more fiber and protein.

Two slices can provide 6 g of protein, 22 g of carbohydrates, and 6 g of fiber and are a great source of manganese and selenium.

Top with half of an avocado to gain 2 g of protein, 6 g of carbohydrates, and 5 g of fiber.

To make, pop the bread in the toaster and top with avocado for a filling and savory snack. 

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9. Cottage Cheese and Fruit

Cottage cheese provides 11 g of protein and 5 g of carbohydrates in a half-cup serving. 

Add your favorite fruit to boost the fiber and vitamin content.

Try berries, mangoes, peaches, or pears to add variety throughout the week.

You can cut the fruit in advance for a no-cook, high-protein, and fiber containing snack in your fridge. 

Keep no-added sugar canned fruit in your pantry for an even quicker snack.

10. Overnight Oatmeal with Chia

Add chia seeds to your overnight oats, and create a quick snack that stays fresh for three to five days in the refrigerator.

Chia seeds contain a whopping 11 g of fiber,10 g of carbohydrates, 4 g of protein, and omega-3 fatty acids in two tablespoons.

They also contain 18% of the daily recommendation for calcium in a two-tablespoon serving. 

Mix the chia seeds with fiber-rich oats, your preferred milk, and a drizzle of honey for a tasty, filling snack. 

11. Popcorn and Cheese

Popcorn is a whole grain and high-fiber snack.

This snack is easily customized with toppings like pepper, cinnamon, or parmesan cheese.

You can buy plain microwave popcorn with no added fat or salt or pop it at home in an air fryer.

Decorate with garlic powder, chili powder, or dried rosemary for a savory twist.

Two cups of popcorn have 2 g of fiber, 12 g of carbohydrates, and 2 g of protein, and you can add some sliced cheddar cheese for additional protein. 

12. Trail Mix

Choose lower-added sugar trail mix when purchasing at the grocery store. Avoid candy or sweetened dried fruit versions. 

Trail mix is shelf stable for up to six months, making it a great option for use at home or away. 

If you struggle to find one, you can make your own with simple ingredients and no cooking. 

Mix your preferred nuts (almonds, walnuts, peanuts), unsweetened dried fruit (raisins, cranberries, mangoes), and seeds (pumpkin, sunflower). 

Most trail mixes provide 5 to 7 g of protein, 18 g of carbohydrates, and 3 g of fiber in a ¼ cup serving. 

13. Greek Yogurt Ranch Dip and Vegetables

Use plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt with garlic and onion powder, dill and chives, Worcestershire sauce, and pepper to make a healthy ranch-flavored dip.

You can use a ranch seasoning packet for a quicker option. 

This dip contains 11 g of protein and 5 g of carbohydrates in a ½ cup serving and fiber from your choice of vegetables like carrots, cucumbers, cherry tomatoes, and broccoli. 

14. Energy Bites

No-bake energy bites are a wonderful, prep-ahead filling snack.

You can freeze it for up to three months or store it in the refrigerator for a week. 

Most recipes combine oats, honey, flax or chia seeds, nut butter, vanilla extract, dark chocolate chips, or unsweetened shredded coconut. 

Two energy bites provide about 6 g of protein, 12 g of carbohydrates, and 3 g of fiber.

15. Naan or Pita Bread and Chicken Salad

Toasted whole-grain mini Naan or pita bread can serve as a fiber source with protein-rich chicken salad on top. 

Chicken salad contains 15 g of protein and 0 g of fiber in a half-cup serving.

Pita bread adds another 4 g of protein, 17 g of carbohydrates, and 2 g of fiber.

16. Cookie Dough Greek Yogurt

Mix a lower-sugar low fat Greek yogurt like Chobani Less Sugar Greek Yogurt with one tablespoon of nut butter and five to six dark chocolate chips to satisfy a sweet tooth.

It tastes similar to cookie dough but has limited added sugar and is high in protein. 

A 5.6-ounce container of Greek yogurt provides 12 g of protein and 10 g of carbohydrates, while the nut butter adds 3.6 g of protein, 3.6 g of carbohydrates, and 0.5 grams of fiber.

17. Small Charcuterie Sampler

Choose protein-rich options like cheese and nuts and serve with fruit, vegetables, and crackers. 

Pair one-half ounce of cheese and ¼ cup of nuts to ensure you get a good source of protein with your fiber-rich fruit, vegetables, or whole-grain crackers. 

This type of snack reduces food waste, allowing you to pick and choose different items for your charcuterie sampler. 

18. Kefir Smoothie

Blend 1 cup of unsweetened kefir (or yogurt or preferred milk) with 1 cup of fresh or frozen berries. 

The sweet fruit and yogurt are a refreshing and filling snack. Kefir has 10 g of protein and 15 g of carbohydrates  in 1 cup, while one cup of blueberries adds 17 g of carbohydrates and 4 g of fiber

You can add chia or flax seeds for more fiber. 

What to Look for in Diabetes-Friendly Snacks

Pair protein and fiber-rich carbohydrates for a filling snack that won’t spike your blood sugar levels. 

A high source of protein contains at least 20% of the daily value (or at least 10 g of protein). 

Choosing good to high protein (5 to 10 g of protein) snacks with at least 3 g of fiber will help you stay full and maintain stable blood sugar levels. 

If you can get more fiber, you’ll likely stay full even longer and gain gut health benefits.

Limit or avoid snacks high in added sugars as they’re more likely to spike your blood sugar, and you will be hungry again sooner. 

Tips for Preparing and Storing Snacks

Many of these snacks can be made on a less busy day. Then, you’ll have a few options available in the fridge.

Keep some shelf-stable products at home, at work, or in your vehicle so you don’t get caught without a filling and nutritious snack option. 

As creatures of habit, it's perfectly okay to choose two to three snack ideas and eat them several times in one week.

This can reduce decision fatigue and ensure you have your favorite options.  

Experiment with a snack idea on this list as you have more time or ability.

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Takeaway

Quick and simple snacks help manage blood sugar levels for people with diabetes. 

Try some of these seventeen diabetes-friendly snacks, or mix them up and create a new favorite snack with protein and fiber. 

How a Dietitian Can Help

If you want individualized guidance managing your diabetes with diet and lifestyle changes, consider working with a registered dietitian. 

Book an appointment with a diabetes dietitian today. 

Frequently Asked Questions

What snack foods are good for people with diabetes?

Choose fiber-rich carbohydrate options with protein for snacks that keep you full and don’t spike your blood sugar.

What snacks don't raise blood sugar?

Choose protein-rich snacks with 5 to 10 g of protein and at least 3 g of fiber, which will help you stay full and maintain stable blood sugar levels between meals.

What foods can people with diabetes eat freely?

People with diabetes can eat foods with less than 5 grams of carbohydrates per serving with little impact on their blood sugar. Eating multiple servings of these foods can add up.

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