Carbohydrate snack ideas

453550001Carbohydrate has a direct impact on blood glucose levels (BGLs) and is vital for our bodies to function properly. For people with type 1 diabetes there needs to be a balance between carbohydrate eaten and insulin injected. There is no standard amount of insulin that is injected per carbohydrate exchange, this is different from person to person and should be discussed with your health care team.


Many people with type 1 diabetes, particularly those on injections, have snacks between meals. Some healthy suggestions for snacks that contain carbohydrate.


To snack or not to snack
If you lead an active lifestyle you will need to include plenty of carbohydrate including snacks to get enough kilojoules for energy. If, however, you are overweight and don’t really need the extra kilojoules you might be better off without snacks. There are also rapid acting insulins available such as Apidra and Novorapid, so there is less need to have snacks to prevent pre-meal hypos. Speak to your diabetes team about how much food you need.


Healthy snacks on the go
When it's time for a snack, it can be so much better to have something in your bag or pocket rather than being “forced” to buy a cake or pie while you are away from home.

  • Cereal bars
  • Milo less fat more fibre
  • Bodywise bars
  • Crunchy Uncle Tobys bars
  • Trail bar
  • Dried fruit – break up a large pack or handy individual packs
  • Fruit tub – in juice pack with a spoon
  • Whole fruit – e.g. apple, banana or mandarin.


Low carbohydrate snack ideas
Having a large snack and not having enough insulin to cover the carbohydrate will lead to high BGLs between injections or boluses. If you need extra carbohydrate, talk to your team about how best to manage your insulin.

If you are overweight and don’t really need the extra kilojoules, but you are still hungry, you could try some of the following ideas either on their own or to bulk up a carbohydrate snack.


Foods that are low in carbohydrate as well as low in kilojoules (from fat and protein) are considered free foods.


All of the following items have 6g or less of carbohydrate:

  • 1 cup of air popped popcorn
  • ¾ cup of diced watermelon
  • Celery sticks
  • 1 cup of carrot sticks
  • 1 ½ cups of strawberries
  • Up to 6 whole passionfruit – perhaps made into iceblocks
  • Vegetables (non – starchy) - steamed with pepper, stir fried or raw / sticks
  • Salad
  • A birds nest – shredded carrot with cherry tomatoes
  • Low joule jelly – plain or small amount of fruit (kiwifruit will prevent jelly setting)
  • 1 Vita-weet with tomato/cucumber/other salad
  • 1 Rice cake (thin) with tomato/cucumber/other salad
  • 1 small mandarin.
  • 2 cups of rhubarb stewed in diet ginger beer or lemonade (it really works).