To Snack, or Not To Snack?

One of the questions most often asked of registered dietitians is, “should I eat snacks” Snacking is not necessarily for everyone, but it can be the exactly right for some. Most importantly, if snacking is on your “menu” it should also be included as part of your meal plan to account for the carbohydrate and calories.

People with diabetes may snack for different reasons. Those taking insulin or other medications that can cause low blood sugar (hypoglycemia) may need to snack on a food or beverage that contains a fast acting carbohydrate when blood glucose levels are too low. Fast acting carb snacks, which should equal 10-15 grams of carbohydrate, include 4 ounces orange juice, 6 ounces regular soda, 4 glucose tablets, 2 tablespoons dried fruit, or 2 hard candies.

Snacking to raise low blood glucose levels has a clear medical purpose, but there are other reasons to snack too – like hunger between meals. Low carb snacks would be the best choice to fill the hunger gap unless a carb snack is specifically part of your personal meal plan, and when weight loss is a goal selecting lower calorie snacks is important too.

Low carb snack ideas

If you are searching for a low carbohydrate snack to calm your appetite between meals, here are some low calorie options that will let you stick close to your meal plan:

  1. Cinnamon tea – add fresh cinnamon sticks to a pot of water and boil. No need to add sweetener.
  2. Raw vegetables dipped in salsa
  3. Low fat cheese stick
  4. 1 -2 Tablespoons nuts
  5. Homemade kale chips

The bottom line for snacking is when in doubt work with your dietitian to help you fit a snack into your meal plan. There’s no magic to getting a little extra food into your day, but fitting snacks into your meal plan will keep diabetes management on track.

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