18 July 201820 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 so that you feel more in control of your appetite at the next meal.
  • If you have diabetes, pre-diabetes or hypoglycemia, it can be helpful to have a snack when meals are longer than 4 hours apart to help control wild swings in blood
  • glucose levels. Also, a bedtime snack may help manage blood glucose overnight.
  • Perhaps you have found that small, more frequent meals and snacks help you manage heartburn.
  • Boredom, habit and anxiety can also lead to snacking. Ask yourself, "Am I really hungry?" if you suspect these reasons.

The importance of planning snacks cannot be overstated. 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. Think of snacks as mini-meals that can provide both energy and nutrients.

Keeping 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.

The following snacks use 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 so 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 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 4 oz plain low-fat Greek yogurt, 1/4 cup berries, 1 Tbsp granola, 1 tsp sunflower seeds, dash of cinnamon, calorie-free sweetener, if desired (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 & 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 dash of cinnamon (100 cal, 14 g carb)

Carbohydrate Target, 16-20 grams 1 cup cubed watermelon topped with 1/4 cup low-fat cottage cheese & 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 & 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 & 1 tsp chocolate syrup (145 cal, 20 g carb)
7 pita chips, 1 Tbsp hummus & 4 small olives (156 cals, 18 g carb)

If you have diabetes or prediabetes, you may also find this MyNetDiary post on carb-controlled snacks helpful.

Brenda L Braslow, MS, RDN, LDN,CDE

Registered Dietitian and Certified Diabetes Educator in Indialantic, Florida

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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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