I Have Type 1 Diabetes & These Are the Snacks I Eat Daily for Steady Blood Sugars
I am a pro-snacker and I also have type 1 diabetes. When I was diagnosed nearly four years ago, my health care team warned me that my snacking days might be over. But as a dedicated foodie and lover of grazing, I had to find some snacks that helped my blood sugars stay in a healthy range for me.
Finding the right snacks that work with my diabetes was tricky. Planning mealtimes, snacks and even drinks can be difficult for people with diabetes. These snacks, however, are my go-to's because they help keep my blood sugars steady and satisfy my snack cravings between meals.
Type 1 diabetes is a little different than type 2 diabetes. Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease where the pancreas is unable to make its own insulin because the islet cells needed to make it are attacked by the body's immune system. Type 2 diabetes is a disease where the pancreas produces less insulin than it's supposed to, according to the National Diabetes Association. Regardless, anyone with diabetes needs to be mindful about having a consistent intake of complex carbs, proteins and healthy fats to help keep blood sugars more steady. Here are some of my go-to snacks that do just that.
Veggie and Hummus Platter
If a day goes by where I don't eat this snack, there is a cause for serious concern. This is something I eat on the daily, usually in that post-lunch, pre-dinner lull. I also tend to have a bit of a low blood sugar in the late afternoon too, so this snack can raise my blood sugars just enough to regulate, without causing a big spike.
I typically cut up some fresh broccoli, carrot sticks and bell peppers and arrange them on a plate with a big dollop of Roasted Garlic Hummus. Sometimes I'll switch up my dip of the day and use tzatziki or a thicker salad dressing. This snack is seriously low-effort, and I can always count on the crunchy veggies to satisfy that late-afternoon hunger!
This one may come as a surprise because waffles are typically associated with having lots of added sugar or simple carbohydrates, but like I said before, I can eat what I want with proper insulin dosages and some planning. There are a ton of great toaster waffle brands available that pack their waffles with whole grains and no added sugars, which can help my blood sugars stay steady.
I like to top my waffles with a plop of Greek yogurt or natural peanut butter for some added protein and healthy fat to boost the satiety factor, but you can get creative with the toppings of your choice. The convenience of this snack is unmatched: I simply pop the toaster down and let the waffle cook while I pack my bag for the day or complete a quick chore around the house.
Air-Fryer Crispy Chickpeas
Who doesn't love something crunchy and salty? I like to make a huge batch of our Air-Fryer Crispy Chickpeas each week and keep them in a meal-prep container for those moments when I'm craving a more savory snack. I find that they are the perfect swap for higher-carb salty snacks like potato chips or pretzels.
Chickpeas are also great for my blood sugar levels because they contain quite a bit of fiber and some protein, two nutritional groups I often find myself lacking.
Since my diabetes diagnosis almost four years ago, Greek yogurt has been my right-hand man in helping my blood sugars stay steady. When I say I eat it everyday, I mean it. No other snack helps regulate my blood sugars like Greek yogurt does, and I can predict exactly what kind of variation it will cause.
I like to look for a Greek yogurt that contains 3 grams or less of added sugar, aligning with EatingWell's nutritional guidelines, and that packs some protein (typically more than 10 g or so). Finding "your" yogurt can be difficult, so just take your time in the dairy aisle to read the nutrition labels when deciding.
I like to toss in homemade granola, frozen berries or unsalted nuts like pecans or walnuts if I have them on hand. This is my go-to snack before a workout, a big meeting or even alongside my breakfast because it keeps my blood sugars in-range and provides a protein punch.
This snack is typically for days where I'm not getting enough protein in my meals. Deli roll-ups are the simplest way to get a low-carb snack that's packed with protein. All you have to do is take some deli meat (I like salami or turkey) and stack it with sliced Cheddar, provolone or Swiss cheese. Then I roll it into a little wrap, with some spicy mustard in between.
These are simple and low maintenance, but I can't get enough of them. Sometimes, I'll eat them with some crackers or make a little board with grapes or veggies for some added fiber and nutrition.
Apples Slices with Peanut Butter Spread
Apples are my favorite fruit for many reasons.They are so versatile, less expensive than other produce and they make the perfect, filling snack. I eat apple slices regularly in a crazy-good dip I make by mixing peanut butter and yogurt.
All the dip takes is 1 tablespoon of peanut butter and ¼ cup of vanilla yogurt. Stir it up until you have a fluffy, flavor-packed dip. Top it with some cinnamon sprinkled on top and dunk some apple slices in for the perfect sweet snack.
Popcorn is my favorite snack of all time. I have a stovetop popper, so making a delicious batch of popcorn is super simple. All I have to do is add some coconut oil, yellow popcorn kernels and a pinch of popcorn salt and stir occasionally until the popcorn is ready.
Popcorn is actually a whole grain that is relatively low in carbs for a salty, crunchy snack. This Lemon-Parm Popcorn contains less than 10 grams of carbohydrates plus 2 grams of filling fiber per serving, making it an ideal snack for steady blood sugar levels. I also love making a huge batch of homemade popcorn a couple of times a week and pack it in reusable travel containers to bring with me as I go from place to place.
These snacks work for my diabetes care plan—and after meeting with registered dietitians and my endocrinology team about the best foods for my blood sugars, these all made the cut. Diabetes care is sometimes about trial and error, and finding the right snacks for you will take time! Always be sure to check with your health care team if you have detailed nutrition questions regarding diabetes care.