St. Luke's Hospital
Located in Chesterfield, MO
Main Number: 314-434-1500
Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
Find a Physician Payment Options Locations & Directions
Follow us on: facebook twitter Mobile Email Page Email Page Print Page Print Page Increase Font Size Decrease Font Size Font Size
Meet the Doctor
Spirit of Women
Community Health Needs Assessment
Home > Health Information

Multimedia Encyclopedia


    Snacking when you have diabetes

    Healthy snacking

    When you have diabetes, youneed to controlyour blood sugar. Insulin or diabetes medicines, as well as exercise, will loweryour blood sugar.

    To balance this, the foodyou eat will raiseyour blood sugar. The three major nutrients in food are carbohydrates, protein, and fat.

    • Your body quickly turns carbohydrates into a sugar called glucose. This raises your blood sugar level. Carbohydrates are found in fruit, cereal, bread, pasta, and rice.
    • Protein and fat can change your blood sugar too, but not as fast.

    If you have diabetes, you need to know how to eat carbohydrate snacks during the day. This will help balance your blood sugar. This is especially important if you have type 1 diabetes.

    Planning Ahead

    Learning how to count the carbohydrates that you eat helps you plan what to eat. It will also keep your blood sugar under control.

    Your health care provider may tell you to eat a snack at certain times of the day, most often at bedtime. This helps keep your blood sugar from getting too low at night. Other times, you may have a snack before or during exercise for the same reason. Ask your health care provider about the snacks you can have.

    You will also need to ask about what snacks to avoid. You also need to know how to control your diabetes when you do snack.

    Snacks for a Purpose

    Your health care provider can tell you if you should snack at certain times to keep from having low blood sugar.

    This will be based on your:

    • Diabetes treatment plan from your doctor or nurse
    • Expected physical activity
    • Lifestyle

    Most often, your snacks will be easy to digest foods that have 15 - 45 grams of carbohydrates.

    Snack foods that have 15 grams of carbohydrates are:

    • ½ cup of canned fruit (without the juice or syrup)
    • ½ banana
    • 1 medium apple
    • 1 cup melon balls
    • 2 small cookies
    • 10 potato chips (varies with size of chips)
    • 6 jelly beans (varies with size of pieces)

    Snacks for Enjoyment

    Having diabetes does not mean that you must stop eating snacks. It does mean that you should know what a snack can do to your blood sugar. You also need to know what healthy snacks are. Ask you health care provider about what snacks you can eat. Also ask if you need to change your treatment (such as extra insulin shots) for snacks.

    Snacks with no carbohydrates change your blood sugar the least. The healthiest snacks usually do not have many calories.

    Read food labels for carbohydrates and calories. You can also use carbohydrate counting books. Over time, it will get easier for you to tell, how many carbohydrates are in foods or snacks.

    Some low carbohydrate snacks, such as nuts and seeds, are high in calories. Some low carbohydrate snacks are:

    • Broccoli
    • Carrots
    • Cauliflower
    • Celery sticks
    • Peanuts (not honey-coated or glazed)
    • Sunflower seeds


    American Diabetes Association. Nutrition recommendations and interventions for diabetes: a position statement of the American Diabetes Association. Diabetes Care. 2008;31:S61-S78.

    American Diabetes Association. Carbohydrate counting. Available at Accessed December 8, 2012.


          A Closer Look

            Talking to your MD

              Self Care

              Tests for Snacking when you have diabetes

                Review Date: 12/11/2012

                Reviewed By: Nancy J. Rennert, MD, Chief of Endocrinology & Diabetes, Norwalk Hospital, Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine, Yale University School of Medicine, New Haven, CT. Review provided by VeriMed Healthcare Network. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

                The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 1997- A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

                A.D.A.M. content is best viewed in IE9 or above, Fire Fox and chrome browser.

                Back  |  Top
                About Us
                Contact Us
                Locations & Directions
                Quality Reports
                Annual Reports
                Honors & Awards
                Community Health Needs

                Brain & Spine
                Sleep Medicine
                Urgent Care
                Women's Services
                All Services
                Patients & Visitors
                Locations & Directions
                Find a Physician
                Tour St. Luke's
                Patient & Visitor Information
                Contact Us
                Payment Options
                Financial Assistance
                Send a Card
                Mammogram Appointments
                Health Tools
                My Personal Health
                Spirit of Women
                Health Information & Tools
                Clinical Trials
                Employer Programs -
                Passport to Wellness

                Classes & Events
                Classes & Events
                Spirit of Women
                Donate & Volunteer
                Giving Opportunities
                Physicians & Employees
                For Physicians
                Remote Access
                Medical Residency Information
                Pharmacy Residency Information
                Physician CPOE Training
                St. Luke's Hospital - 232 South Woods Mill Road - Chesterfield, MO 63017 Main Number: 314-434-1500 Emergency Dept: 314-205-6990 Patient Billing: 888-924-9200
                Copyright © St. Luke's Hospital Website Terms and Conditions  |  Privacy Policy  |  Notice of Privacy Practices PDF  |  Patient Rights PDF Sitemap St. Luke's Mobile