20 Carb-counted Snacks from a Dietitian's Kitchen

Why snack and how often?

Think about your personal preferences, along with your nutrition and fitness goals. Reasons people snack:

  • It might help take the edge off a voracious hunger at meals.
  • If you have diabetes, pre-diabetes or hypoglycemia, it may be helpful to snack when meals are longer than 4 hours apart to help control wild swings in blood sugar.
  • A bedtime snack may help manage blood sugar overnight.
  • Small, more frequent meals and snacks may help you manage heartburn.
  • Boredom, habit and anxiety can also lead to snacking. Ask yourself, "Am I really hungry?"

Plan your snacks

  • Think of snacks as mini-meals that can provide both energy and nutrients. Planning ahead helps prevent us from grabbing whatever is available at the time, which might be the candy on a coworkers desk or the donuts in the break area.
  • Keeping healthy snacks interesting can help prevent us from going for the donuts or candies.
  • Always pre-portion snacks to prevent mindlessly consuming multiple portions from the large package. Snack-size baggies or small containers work great for packing snack-friendly portions.

Snacks using foods found in my kitchen pantry, refrigerator and freezer

Many people try to target a certain amount of carbohydrates at snacks, usually for weight or blood glucose management. The examples have a targeted amount of carbs, balanced with protein and fat. The protein and fat can extend the energy to help keep you satisfied longer.

Carbohydrate Target: 1-5 grams/snack

1 hard-boiled egg, 5 grape tomatoes (79 cal, 3 g carb)

5 cucumber slices, 1/2 oz cheddar cheese, 2 tomato wedges, 1 Tbsp yogurt salad dressing (93 cal, 5 g carb)

3 celery sticks, 3 large radishes, 3 pepper slices, 1/2 Tbsp olive tapenade (25 cal, 1 g carb)

1/3 cup lupini beans and 10 pistachios (69 cal, 5 g carb)

3 kalamata olives and 1 string cheese (99 cal, 2 g carb)

3 carrot sticks, 5 cucumber slices and 1 Tbsp bean dip (33 cal, 5 g carb)

1 oz turkey, 1 tsp reduced-fat mayonnaise in lettuce wrap (51 cal, 1g carb)

2 rice crackers, 1/2 Tbsp cream cheese, 3 black olives (79 cal, 5 g carb)

Carbohydrate Target: 10-15 grams/snack

4 oz plain low-fat Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup berries, 1 Tbsp granola, 1 tsp sunflower seeds, and a dash of cinnamon (162 cal, 15 g carb)

Small apple, cut in wedges with 2 tsp peanut butter (113 cal, 10 g carb)

1/4 cup trail mix (140 cal, 15 g carb)

Small corn tortilla with 1 oz melted cheese, 2 Tbsp salsa and 1 Tbsp bean dip (158 cal, 15 g carb)

1/2 cup cubed mango and 10 walnut halves (178 cal, 15 g carb)

1/4 bagel thin topped with 1/4 cup cottage cheese and a dash of cinnamon (100 cal, 14 g carb)

Carbohydrate Target: 16-20 grams/snack

1 cup cubed watermelon topped with 1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese and 1 tsp raw sugar (106 cals, 17 g carb)

Small orange and 7 almonds (118 cals, 20 g carb)

1 thin-sliced whole grain toast, 2 tsp nut butter, and 2 sliced strawberries (153 cal, 16 g carb)

3 cups popcorn sprinkled with 1 tsp parmesan cheese (179 cal, 19 g carb)

1 cup strawberries, 2 Tbsp whipped topping, 10 chopped peanuts, and 1 tsp chocolate syrup (145 cal, 20 g carb)

7 pita chips, 1 Tbsp hummus, and 4 small olives (156 cals, 18 g carb)

Originally published July 18, 2018
Updated July 11, 2019

Brenda Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN, CDE
Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator
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Disclaimer: The information provided here does not constitute medical advice. If you are seeking medical advice, please visit your healthcare provider or medical professional.


Diabetes/Carbs & Carb Counting Meal Planning & Diets/Snacks

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