Healthy snacks fact sheet
This fact sheet is available in two formats.
You can download and print out the PDF version.
Or you can read it as a website page below.
Eating the right balance of healthy foods can help you live well with diabetes. Snacks can be part of your daily nutrition. It’s important to make healthy choices and watch your portions to manage your health.
The snacks listed below contain one carbohydrate exchange (approximately 15g of carbohydrate). Talk to your diabetes health care team about whether you need to eat carbohydrate-based snacks.
- Fresh fruit: one apple, pear, orange, large peach, large nectarine, or small banana; three medium apricots or small mandarins; two kiwifruit or plums; one cup of grapes, cherries or melon
- Canned fruit in natural juice (drained): once cup of fruit salad, apricots or peaches
- Dried fruit: one tablespoon of sultanas; six prunes; four whole dried apricots (eight halves)
- A half cup of no added-salt baked beans
- One steamed cob of corn
- Small can (125g) corn kernels
Dairy and alternatives
- 100g of low-fat flavoured yoghurt or 200g of diet, natural or plain varieties. Flavour natural yoghurt with nuts or seeds
- 250ml of low-fat plain milk or soy milk with added calcium
- Medium cappuccino, café latte or flat white coffee with low-fat milk or soy milk
Breads and cereals
- One slice of dense grainy or seeded bread (plain or toasted) with a thin spread of avocado, low-fat ricotta, cottage cheese or hummus, with sliced tomato and sprouts
- Half a wholegrain English muffin grilled with one slice of low-fat cheese and a sliced tomato
- One small wholemeal pita pocket or wrap with grated carrot and grated low-fat cheese
- Two wholegrain crispbread with cottage cheese, low-fat cream cheese, hummus or avocado and tomato
Muesli and nut bars
Muesli and nut bars are a ‘sometimes’ snack as they can be high in kilojoules, added fat and sugar. Check the nutrition information panel to see if the product is a healthy option. Eat these only occasionally.
Homemade snacks can be a healthy choice but they can still be high in kilojoules. Eat small portions of these only occasionally.
Cakes, biscuits, muffins and slices baked at home can be made healthier by using olive, canola, rice bran, grapeseed or sunflower margarines or oils; stewed or dried fruit in place of sugar, wholemeal flour, oats or oat bran, legume flours, nuts and seeds.
Snacks low in carbohydrate
These snacks are good choices for people who want to include snacks without affecting their blood glucose levels. Try these ideas in the recommended portions:
Nuts and seeds
- 30 grams (a small handful) of plain, raw unsalted nuts: mixed, macadamias, walnuts, almonds, cashews, brazil, hazelnuts, pecans or pistachios
- 30 grams (a small handful) of pumpkin or sunflower seeds
Salad and vegetables
- Vegetable sticks: celery, carrot, capsicum, cucumber or snow peas with one slice (20g) of low-fat cheese or one tablespoon of hummus, tomato salsa or tzatziki yoghurt dip
- Celery boats with 2 tablespoons of natural peanut butter or hummus
- A handful of cherry tomatoes
Lean meat and alternatives
- A mini can of tuna, salmon or sardines served in half a capsicum or a lettuce cup
- A hard-boiled egg
- A slice of marinated tofu, grilled
- Half a cup boiled or roasted edamame (green soy beans)
- One cup of air-popped popcorn served plain, or sprinkled with cinnamon, paprika or chilli
Some fruits do not contain enough carbohydrate to impact on your blood glucose levels. They include:
- Two passionfruit
- Half a cup of strawberries
- Half a cup of raspberries or blackberries
- One fresh fig
When shopping, try to limit buying snacks that are high in saturated fat, sugar and salt (sodium), such as the examples below.
- Sweet biscuits and some crackers
- Cakes, muffins and slices
- Chocolates and confectionary
- Potato crisps, corn chips and other salty snacks
- Processed and pre-packaged snack foods
- Fast foods and high-fat takeaways
It’s important to stay hydrated throughout the day. Water is the best drink, but some alternatives are listed below.
- Mineral or soda water flavoured with sliced lemon/lime/frozen berries/ cucumber/fresh mint
- Black/oolong/green/herbal tea
- Coffee or decaffeinated coffee with a dash of skim or low-fat milk
An occasional diet drink may add variety without extra sugar or kilojoules.
The booklet, The healthy shopping guide – your essential supermarket companion, can help you to make healthy snack choices. To order a copy, call 1800 637 700.
The NDSS and you
A wide range of services and support is available through the NDSS to help you manage your diabetes. This includes information on diabetes management through the NDSS Helpline and website. The products, services and education programs available can help you stay on top of your diabetes.
This fact sheet is intended as a guide only. It should not replace individual medical advice and if you have any concerns about your health or further questions, you should contact your health professional.
Version 2 November 2018. First published June 2016.