Do People with Diabetes Need to Eat Snacks?

snacks on table

It was once thought that people with diabetes needed to eat snacks to keep their blood glucose even throughout the day. It is now known that snacks are not needed to regulate blood glucose levels and may cause weight gain or increased blood glucose levels when excessive. Since people sometimes snack for other reasons besides hunger (like boredom), the snack calories are extra calories that can lead to weight gain. A good rule of thumb is to eat healthful snacks in moderation if you enjoy snacking.

Ask your dietitian or health care team if you should eat snacks or how many snacks you should eat each day.

When choosing snacks, plan to have healthy snacks available. What is a healthiest choice? Read the label! Look for whole grains. Choose whole fruits and vegetables more often. Choose low fat dairy foods.

If you have diabetes and are using a carbohydrate counting meal plan, choose a snack that has 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrate, unless your meal plan includes more. Snacks with 15 grams of carbohydrate include:

  • 17 grapes
  • 7 Ritz crackers
  • 43 wholegrain goldfish crackers         
  • 15 vanilla wafer cookies
  • ½ cup applesauce


The best snacks have some carbohydrates and some protein. These snacks have both 15 grams of carbohydrate and some protein:

  • 1 cup of skim milk
  • ½ cup of low-fat yogurt
  • 4 cheese crackers with peanut butter
  • 1 granola oats and honey granola bar


If your snack has mostly carbohydrate, and you want to add some protein, think about adding string cheese, cottage cheese, peanut butter, or milk to the snack. Of course, all of these choices are better if they are low fat options.