Balanced Snacks + 20 Healthy Snack Ideas

Last Updated on by Kari Garner, MS RDN LD CDCES

It is National Nutrition Month! During the month of March, the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics hosts its annual campaign to encourage everyone to focus on nutrition and learn to make informed food choices.

Today, On The Blog, I am excited to celebrate National Nutrition Month by sharing how to build balanced snacks. I also feature 20 healthy snack ideas that don’t disappoint!

Having a healthy balanced snack on hand will help you stay prepared, fueled and ultimately support your blood sugars during the day. As you continue to navigate your diabetes journey, you can refer back to this list of balanced snack ideas any time you need!

Can I Snack With Diabetes?

Absolutely! The secret is creating a personalized plan that includes the foods you want to eat while being mindful of the fiber, protein and fat content of the snack. This balance of nutrients is important to ensure you are satisfied after snacking without an energy crash.

Healthy, Balanced Snack Meal Prep

One way to have healthy options readily available is to snack prep. Dedicating a block of time during the week to plan balanced snacks and prep the ingredients will set you up for success. It can be helpful to remember that by taking this time to prepare, you will be able to fuel appropriately and support your health.

Healthy and Easy Meal Prep Tips

  • Find a block of time that works best for your schedule – this may be the morning hours for some or after dinner for others. There is not a right or wrong time to prep meals.
  • Chop in bulk – consider all the fruits and vegetables that you are planning to eat during the week then chop all at once. These can be stored in the fridge in containers, Ziploc bags or stasher bags.
  • Buy prepackaged items – having quick grab-n-go options such as cottage cheese, cheese slices, hummus cups, guacamole dips and granola bars can be helpful when in a pinch or for those weeks when meal prep seems impossible.
  • Add variety – aim for 3-4 different snack items to keep meal prep fun. I often hear from clients that meal prep can be a challenge because they dislike eating the same snacks day after day. By choosing a variety of options to stock your freezer, fridge or pantry then you can minimize burnout and keep snack time enjoyable.
  • Think color – prep a variety of colors, especially when it comes to vegetables. A few personal favorites to prep because they stay fresh the whole week include yellow/green/red/orange bell peppers, cucumbers, mushrooms, onions, broccoli, squash and tomatoes.
  • Find frozen foods – frozen snacks are definitely an option. Things like frozen edamame, broccoli, cherries, berries make great freezer staples with the added bonus of not needing to wash and slice.

Meal and Snack Schedule

Just like meal prep, a meal and snack schedule is going to look different for everyone. There may be some days that you eat larger meals and not need a snack or just the opposite. Honoring our hunger cues can be the first step in deciding if we need a meal vs balanced snacks.

On the days when you need a snack, turn to those prepped foods!

Need additional support with meal planning and determining the best schedule? Book a Education Session today and let’s chat about how to achieve balanced blood sugars without frustration.

top down view of various fiber, protein and fat foods

What is a Balanced Snack?

When it comes to a building a healthy snack plate for diabetes management, you will want to focus on three key nutrients – fiber, protein and fat. A snack that contains any or all of these nutrients will promote blood sugar stability with the added bonus of feeling full.

Below you will find a list of foods that fit into these three categories to use as a guide as you build snacks. Refer back to this list any time you need!

Fiber

Dietary fiber will slow digestion to help you feel full and satisfied for longer periods of time while also promoting blood sugar control.

  • Seeds such as chia, pumpkin, sunflower or flax
  • Nuts such as almonds, pistachios, walnuts or pecans
  • Fruits such as pears, strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, blackberries, apples or avocados
  • Vegetables such as artichokes, brussels sprouts or kale
  • Beans
  • Lentils
  • Oats
  • Popcorn

Protein

Protein will extend the time it takes your body to break down carbohydrates, which can prevent spikes in blood sugars. Learn more about protein.

  • Plant based such as beans (black, kidney, chickpea, pinto), lentils, edamame, nuts, tofu
  • Fish such as tuna or salmon
  • Eggs
  • Lean poultry, beef or pork
  • Dairy products such as milk, cheese, yogurt

Fat

Like protein, fat also extends the time it takes your body to convert carbs into glucose preventing blood sugar spikes. Learn more about fats.

  • Olive oil
  • Nuts
  • Nut butters
  • Cheese
  • Avocado
  • Fatty fish
  • Olives (low sodium)

*Consult with your medical profession and Registered Dietitian on how much of each nutrient is the right target for you.

top down view of various snack items in white bowls on counter

20 Balanced Snacks

Ready to dive into prepping balanced snacks?! You’ll find both sweet and savory meal prep snack ideas that are quick, easy and delicious. Easily add these ingredients to a grocery list by screenshotting or making a handwritten list.

  1. Greek yogurt & berries (raspberries, blueberries, blackberries and/or strawberries)
  2. Mashed avocado & whole grain toast, English muffin or bagel thin
  3. Peanut butter & celery sticks
  4. Mixed nuts & apple slices
  5. Cottage cheese & fruit
  6. Vegetables & dip or hummus
  7. Chicken or tuna salad, crackers & vegetables
  8. Hard-boiled egg & snap peas
  9. String cheese or cheese slices & sliced vegetables
  10. Rice cake, nut butter & banana slices
  11. Sliced turkey & cheese roll up
  12. Homemade roasted chickpeas
  13. Cheese cubes & grapes
  14. Frozen cherries & dark chocolate
  15. 1/2 banana drizzled with nut butter & unsweetened shredded coconut
  16. Popcorn & peanuts
  17. Guacamole & whole grain crackers and/or raw vegetables
  18. Turkey jerky & baby carrots
  19. Chia seed pudding
  20. Olives, cheese & crackers

Explore More

Flourish with Diabetes!

If you are ready to take the leap and transform your health, check out my Resources Page. I can help you grow & flourish with diabetes!

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Springtime Nutrition, LLC was founded on my passion to partner with individuals to eliminate the stress, frustration and overwhelm of changing their nutrition lifestyle. I am committed to supporting you at every step of your journey. Ready to transform your life?  Get started today!


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headshot of Kari Garner, owner of Springtime Nutrition
Certified Diabetes Care & Education Specialist/ Registered Dietitian/ Owner / Springtime Nutrition, LLC

Kari is a diabetes expert with more than 18 years of experience. Kari currently works as a diabetes educator with a large hospital system in Charleston, SC and is committed to improving the lives of people with any type of diabetes.

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