Sweet snacks for diabetics

12 sweet and diabetes-friendly snacks

If you have diabetes, finding sweet treats low in carbs and added sugar can be a challenge. Here are 12 simple sweet snacks and treats for people with diabetes.

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Last updated on March 26, 2022, and last reviewed by an expert on December 26, 2021.

If you have diabetes, finding sweet treats that are low in carbs and added sugar can be a challenge.

Not only that, but selecting snacks that are also high in fiber, protein, and heart-healthy fats to support better blood sugar control can be even more difficult.

Fortunately, there are plenty of nutritious options available, including many that you can make at home using just a few ingredients.

Here are 12 simple sweet snacks and treats for people with diabetes.

Single-ingredient foods

The foods below don’t need any preparation and are therefore very quick, portable, and handy.

1. Dark chocolate

When enjoyed in moderation, dark chocolate can be a healthy and delicious way to satisfy your sweet tooth.

It’s especially rich in flavonoids, a type of plant compound that may help prevent insulin resistance and protect against heart problems for people with type 2 diabetes.

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Plus, it’s lower in sugar, carbs, and calories than milk chocolate, with just 13 grams of carbohydrates in each 1-ounce (28-gram) serving.

For best results, look for dark chocolate with cocoa content of at least 70%, and stick to around 1 ounce (28 grams) at a time.

2. Pears

Pears are a great source of fiber, boasting over 4 grams of fiber, with 21.3 grams of carbs, in each 1-cup (140-gram) serving.

Fiber slows the absorption of sugar in the bloodstream, which can stabilize blood sugar levels after eating.

According to one study, consuming fresh pears may also be an effective strategy to help improve blood sugar control for people with diabetes.

Pears can be enjoyed as-is for a sweet and simple snack or cut into thin, chip-like slices and baked for an extra bit of crunch.

3. Apples

Apples are versatile, delicious, and nutritious, with 28 grams of carbs and 5 grams of fiber in one medium apple.

They also have a low glycemic index, which is a measure of how much certain foods affect blood sugar levels.

What’s more, one study also found that consuming an apple before eating rice helped reduce blood sugar levels, compared with eating rice alone.

Try slicing apples and adding a bit of cinnamon for an easy snack on the go, or pair with some peanut butter to boost your intake of protein and healthy fats.

4. Grapes

Like other types of fruit, grapes can be a healthy, high-fiber treat for people with diabetes.

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Each ½-cup (75-gram) serving contains about 1 gram of fiber and 14 grams of carbs.

Red grapes are also loaded with antioxidants and polyphenols, which may help decrease oxidative stress and protect against health complications related to diabetes.

For a sweet and refreshing snack, enjoy fresh grapes or try freezing them overnight.

5. Greek yogurt

With 20 grams of protein in each 7-ounce (200-gram) serving, Greek yogurt can be an excellent snack option for people with diabetes.

Increasing your intake of protein could help support appetite control and decrease food cravings.

Interestingly enough, some research also suggests that daily supplementation with yogurt that is fortified with vitamin D and probiotics may help improve blood sugar control in people with type 2 diabetes.

It’s best to opt for plain Greek yogurt and sweeten it at home with your favorite fruits, along with a sprinkle of cinnamon or pumpkin pie spice.

Prepared snacks

Below are some great snack options that may need a bit of preparation but are still quick and easy to make and grab when you’re on the go.

6. Chia pudding

Chia pudding is healthy, delicious, and easy to make using just a few simple ingredients.

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It features chia seeds, a nutritious ingredient brimming with fiber, protein, and omega-3 fatty acids.

According to one review of 12 studies, adding chia seeds to your diet may be associated with lower blood sugar levels and reductions in diastolic blood pressure.

To make chia pudding at home, combine ½ cup (120 mL) of almond, oat, or coconut milk with 2 tablespoons (25 grams) of chia seeds and a bit of honey or maple syrup in a jar.

You can also top the pudding with your favorite fruits and then cover and leave it in the refrigerator to set for at least 2 hours.

7. Low carb energy bites

Low carb energy bites are convenient, portable snacks that you can easily customize to fit your personal food preferences.

They typically include nuts like almonds or cashews, which are high in fiber and protein.

One large review of 40 studies showed that consumption of tree nuts may be linked to lower levels of fasting insulin and reduced insulin resistance, both of which could help support better blood sugar control.

To get started, add ½ cup (70 grams) almonds and ½ cup (70 grams) cashews to a food processor, along with 1 cup (200 grams) of Medjool dates, sea salt, and a drizzle of vanilla extract.

If you’re feeling creative, you can also experiment with other ingredients, such as shredded coconut, cocoa powder, nut butter, flaxseeds, or protein powder.

Blend the mixture until well combined, then divide into small balls and place on a lined baking sheet or plate. Refrigerate for at least 20 minutes until firm, and enjoy.

8. Cottage cheese fruit bowl

Cottage cheese and fruit is a great snack that provides plenty of protein and fiber in each serving.

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Some research suggests that low-fat dairy products, such as cottage cheese, may be beneficial for improving insulin resistance and decreasing both body weight and belly fat.

One study in over 482,000 people also showed that increased fruit intake may be associated with a reduced risk of vascular complications in people with diabetes.

For a delicious snack or dessert, combine a few tablespoons of cottage cheese with your favorite fruits, such as apples, strawberries, blueberries, or kiwi.

9. Trail mix

Trail mix is portable, convenient, and completely customizable, making it a great snack for people with diabetes.

However, because many store-bought varieties are high in carbs, calories, and sugar, it may be better to make them at home.

Most recipes call for nuts and seeds like almonds, pecans, cashews, pumpkin seeds, and sunflower seeds, all of which are rich in protein and fiber.

You can also sweeten it up with small amounts of dark chocolate and dried fruit.

10. Banana ice cream

Banana ice cream is easy to make and requires just one simple ingredient: bananas.

Bananas are a good source of fiber and have a low glycemic index, which may be beneficial for regulating blood sugar levels.

Plus, one study in 45 people found that daily consumption of bananas significantly reduced fasting blood sugar levels in people with high cholesterol levels after 4 weeks.

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To make banana ice cream at home, slice a ripe banana, place it in an airtight container, and freeze it for at least 2–3 hours.

Next, blend the frozen banana in a food processor or blender until it reaches a smooth, soft-serve consistency. Enjoy as-is, or transfer to another container and freeze until it becomes firmer and more solid.

11. Protein smoothie

Smoothies can be a quick and easy way to squeeze some extra fiber and protein into your diet while also satisfying your sweet tooth.

You can use ingredients like whey protein, which helps slow the emptying of the stomach and stimulates the secretion of insulin to promote better blood sugar control.

You can also add leafy greens like spinach that are a great source of fiber and antioxidants.

To whip up your own protein smoothie at home, blend your choice of milk, protein powder, leafy greens, and high fiber fruits, and enjoy.

12. Cinnamon-roasted chickpeas

Chickpeas are incredibly nutrient-dense, packing plenty of protein, fiber, folate, and manganese into each serving.

Not only that, but they can be especially beneficial for people with type 2 diabetes.

One small study in 12 women showed that consuming chickpeas before a meal significantly decreased blood sugar levels and energy intake, compared with a control group.

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Another study had similar findings, noting that eating chickpeas with white rice improved blood sugar levels, compared with eating white rice alone.

You can make cinnamon-roasted chickpeas by draining canned chickpeas and then tossing them in coconut oil, cinnamon, salt, and a bit of honey. Bake them at 400°F (204°C) for 15–20 minutes.

Summary

There are many healthy and nutritious sweet treats and snacks that you can enjoy as part of a balanced diet if you have diabetes.

Ideally, look for foods that are low in sugar and high in protein, fiber, and heart-healthy fats.

You can use the list above to help you start. Feel free to experiment with other foods to find what works for you.

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