Easy Healthy Snacks for Diabetes and Weight Loss

Choosing a healthy snack is a great opportunity to boost your nutrition, maintain blood sugar, and prevent overeating at meals. The problem is that sometimes we don't know what to snack on and, instead of choosing a nutritious snack, we often opt for convenience, nibbling on salty and sweet treats. The key to healthy snacking is to have good quality ingredients on hand that are simple and nutrient dense.

For people with diabetes or those looking to improve health or lose weight, a healthy snack is one that is calorie and carbohydrate controlled. This will help to optimize your nutrition, increase your energy and prevent weight gain or help facilitate weight loss. A good rule is to keep your snacks to about 200 calories or less. In addition, you want your snack to have fiber and protein, two nutrients that help to aid in satiety. Lastly, it's a good idea to try to choose whole foods as snacks and to avoid consuming processed, refined carbohydrates that can increase blood sugars, promote overeating, and produce inflammation.​

Browse through this list of snacks. Pick your favorites or invent some new ones. These are just some ideas - increasing your variety will make meal planning fun and nutritious. 


Fresh Fruits Are Naturally Good

bananas as a snack

Fruit is naturally rich in carbohydrates, fiber, vitamins, and minerals. If you have diabetes, aim to keep your portion to one serving (1 small piece - the size of a tennis ball, 1/2 banana, 1 cup of berries or melon, 1/2 cup mixed fruit) per sitting and consider adding some protein to your snack to reduce how quickly blood sugars rise. Fruit can be a good pre-workout snack or an afternoon pick-me-up. It can also serve as a sweet treat after dinner. 

  • Apple
  • Banana (1 small or 1/2 medium)
  • Cherries (12-15)
  • Clementine 
  • Grapefruit
  • Grapes (12-15 medium sized)
  • Honeydew melon
  • Kiwi (1-2 small kiwi)
  • Mango (1/2 cup)
  • Nectarines
  • Orange
  • Papaya
  • Peaches
  • Pear
  • Pineapple (1/2 cup)
  • Plums
  • Tangerines
  • Watermelon

Unlimited Vegetables

Non-starchy vegetables are low in carbohydrates and calories. They are rich in filling fiber, vitamins, and minerals. To complete your snack, pair 1/2 cup cooked or 1 cup raw vegetables with a tablespoon of hummus, guacamole, or nut butter. 

  • Bell pepper strips
  • Berries
  • Broccoli
  • Cauliflower
  • Carrot
  • Celery
  • Cherry or grape tomatoes (12-15) 
  • Cucumber
  • Jicama
  • Mushrooms
  • Snow peas
  • String beans

Grab-and-Go Snacks

When you are on-the-go it's easy to forget to pack something to eat, which leaves you having to purchase something to nosh on. To assure your snacks are nutritious and delicious, it's important to be a savvy consumer. Aim to find snacks that are nutrient-rich and low in sodium and saturated fat. 

  • Snack bar
  • Whole grain popcorn
  • Unsalted nuts (almonds, pistachios, walnuts, cashews, 1 oz or 1/4 cup)
  • Low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Fresh fruit
  • Raw vegetables with hummus
  • Dry low-sugar Cereal
  • Hard-boiled egg
  • Olives
  • Pickles
  • Rice cakes (brown)
  • Soy chips
  • Soy nuts
  • String cheese
  • Sunflower seeds (unsalted)
  • Trail Mix (keep to one serving)

Fix It Fast and Enjoy

If you are home and have time to make a satisfying snack, instead of rummaging through the cabinets, whip up something quick and sit down, put it on a plate and enjoy it. Being mindful of what you eat can help you to portion control your food. 

  • 1/2 turkey or lean ham sandwich (2 slices of thin meat) on one slice of whole-grain bread
  • 1 cup of low-sodium soup
  • 1 tablespoon nut butter on one slice of whole-grain toast or 1/2 whole-grain English muffin
  • Apple or pear slices with cinnamon and low-fat Greek yogurt
  • Apple or pear slices with peanut butter, almond butter, or cashew butter (one tablespoon)
  • 1 small baked potato with a dollop of low-fat cottage cheese
  • 1/2 cup cold unsweetened cereal with low-fat Greek yogurt
  • 3 scrambled egg whites with spinach
  • 1 serving of edamame with a sprinkle of Parmesan cheese
  • Green salad with one tablespoon vinaigrette or one teaspoon olive oil and vinegar dressing
  • 2 tablespoons hummus and carrots (or Other Non-Starchy Vegetable) 
  • Low-fat cottage cheese and 3/4 cup blueberries or strawberries 
  • 1 tablespoon peanut butter on celery
  • Raw vegetables and one or two tablespoons dip (guacamole or bean dip
  • Smoked salmon on whole-grain crackers
  • 1 tomato stuffed with one tablespoon low-fat tuna or egg salad
  • Whole-grain crackers (one serving) with one serving low-fat cheese 

Snacks can be an important part of a well-balanced meal plan. If you have your snacks prepared and know what to purchase when you are on-the-go, you'll be sure that you make the best choice to keep you full and energized.

8 Sources
Verywell Health uses only high-quality sources, including peer-reviewed studies, to support the facts within our articles. Read our editorial process to learn more about how we fact-check and keep our content accurate, reliable, and trustworthy.
  1. U.S. News. Why meal timing is important for better diabetes control.

  2. American Diabetes Association. What can I eat? Smart snacks.

  3. University of Michigan. Diabetes: snack options.

  4. CNN. When food causes you pain.

  5. Diabetes Food Hub. Should people with diabetes eat fruit?

  6. American Diabetes Association. Non-starchy vegetables.

  7. Asaad G, Chan CB. Food sources of sodium, saturated fat, and added sugar in the Physical Activity and Nutrition for Diabetes in Alberta (PANDA) trialAppl Physiol Nutr Metab. 2017;42(12):1270–1276. doi:10.1139/apnm-2017-0266

  8. The John Hopkins Patient Guide to Diabetes. How to practice mindful eating.

By Debra Manzella, RN
Debra Manzella, MS, RN, is a corporate clinical educator at Catholic Health System in New York with extensive experience in diabetes care.