Being prepared for snacks home or away can be difficult.  Snacking has several benefits such as preventing overeating at our next meal, allowing an opportunity to provide our bodies with important nutrients, assist with blood sugar control and give us satisfaction and enjoyment.  Next time you grab a snack, think like a dietitian with these recommendations.

Diabetic or not, we really all should be eating diabetic-friendly snacks. A good snack is carb smart and is paired with a protein. When searching for the perfect carb-smart snack, keep fiber in mind. Fiber helps fill up our stomachs, curving our cravings. A perfect example of this is apple juice vs. an apple. In comparison, one cup of apple juice and one medium apple have the same amount of carbs, about 20 grams. On the other hand, a cup of apple juice has no fiber and an apple has 4 to 5 grams of fiber, making it a good source of fiber and providing you something that will really make a difference in your stomach.

What do you pair your apple with? Ideally, a good protein source. Protein also contributes to filling up your stomach. We should be shooting for at least 5 grams of protein in a snack. Great examples of this include a hard-boiled egg, a cheese stick or 2 tablespoons of nut butter; they all provide us with 6 to 8 grams of protein.

When on the lookout for that perfect snack, here are 5 suggestions to include: Snacks that are between 100 and 200 calories, low in added sugar, around 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrates, at least 3 grams of fiber and 5 grams of protein. The perfect snack would fit within these parameters. Aim for a snack that fits three of the five suggestions. If the package says 1 serving but doesn’t fit within these parameters, try splitting the package or choosing something different.

Make your snack save the day with these simple tips and tricks. A good rule of thumb is to always be prepared. As dietitians we rarely leave the house without a snack. This allows you plenty of time to scout out the best options that fit within your lifestyle. Granola bars or a trail mix are affordable and easy to throw in a purse or bag and take with you. Watch out for high-carb, high-calorie bars, and make sure you include a protein source in your trail mix such as almonds!

You’re starving and you forgot your snack – what do you do? Fear not, we can help! The best option would be to stop at a Hy-Vee Convenience Store; many stores have dietitian picks, fruit and cheese cups and our homemade energy bites. Other appropriate convenience store snacks are fresh fruit/vegetables, yogurt/yogurt drinks, popcorn, cheese and beef sticks, nuts/seeds, oatmeal and milk.

At home there are a variety of temptations for snacking – for example, the kids’ leftover Halloween candy or the cookies your neighbor brought over last night. Stop and think first:  Are you feeling real hunger? If yes, foods with more nutrition will leave you feeling more satisfied longer.  Do some refrigerator and cupboard searching and prepare yourself a better-for-you snack. Try hummus and veggies, a light multi-grain English muffin and Greek yogurt cream cheese, or this great recipe for Apples with Cinnamon Almond Butter!


Apple with Cinnamon Almond Butter 

Serves 1.


All you need:

1 medium apple

1 tbsp smooth almond butter

Pinch of ground cinnamon


All you do:

  1. Core apple and cut into 8 slices. Spread each slice with a little almond butter and sprinkle with cinnamon.


Nutrition Facts per serving: 193 calories, 9g fat, 1g saturated fat, 0mg cholesterol, 38mg sodium, 28g carbohydrates, 6g fiber, 20g sugars, 4g protein.


Daily values: 4% iron.