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12 Snacks That Won’t Raise Your Blood Sugar

June 21, 2021
Written by
Team NutriSense
Reviewed by

Finding healthy snacks can be a challenge, especially when you’re watching your blood sugar. It can therefore be helpful to have a short list of high-quality snacks that tend not to spike your blood glucose levels. In general, we would advise most people to stick to a minimum of snacks and instead focus on a small number of larger meals throughout the day. This way your body can spend some time in a “fasting state,” which much emerging nutritional science supports is part of a healthful feeding pattern. However, situations will inevitably arise in which you will need or want a snack, such as traveling, adjusting to a new routine, adapting to unexpected changes in plans, and so on. We feel it’s better to be prepared and have a set of quick and nutritious foods ready to go such that when you look for a snack – and inevitably, we all do – it’s one that has a minimal impact on your blood glucose levels.

Why You Want Snacks That Won’t Raise Blood Sugar

When we look for a snack, most of us tend to look for something that picks up our energy levels immediately like a sports drink, chips, caffeinated soda or candy bar. Although this strategy will doubtlessly have an immediate and dramatic effect, that effect is often predicated on a spike in blood glucose, which can have harmful side effects if persistently elevated. Also, the spike in glucose will lead to a spike in insulin, the hormone the body uses to transport glucose into cells, and the result will be a sugar crash with the attendant lower energy levels. In the most practical terms, looking for a quick sugar rush will not only lead to a sugar crash, but can carry potentially serious consequences if done too often – one reason we discourage snacking.

 However, there is an exception to every rule, and snacks low in sugar and with a low glycemic index (GI) can have a minimal impact on your blood sugar. Taking this idea to its logical conclusion, one sugar spike and crash would leave a person in the exact same situation as before, looking for an energy bridge to the next meal. So, we can have a situation in which someone quickly piles on the sugar and calories to stabilize his or her blood sugar for the required period. Furthermore, a sudden crash in blood glucose can cause a hunger response, so the person will be motivated to eat even more snacks, enlarging the spikes and worsening the problem, as well as leading to more food consumption than may have originally been intended.

 This cycle of glucose spike and insulin spike, followed by glucose crash and hunger signals can have dramatic health consequences that can be difficult to reverse. It’s worth noting that in each of these cases, the act of snacking is done once, so it would take most people years of bad habits to result in severe negative health outcomes. All the same, the single best way to get rid of a bad habit is to replace it with a good one, and it’s never too early or too late to get into the healthful practice of consistently eating well. Among the most feared consequences of being overweight or obese is insulin resistance, in which the body loses some of its ability to respond to insulin, and thereby traps abnormally high levels of glucose in the blood.

Healthy Snacks That Won’t Raise Your Blood Sugar

Protein is generally considered the most filling macronutrient, or in other words the part of the food that will make you feel satisfied for the longest amount of time – an effective energy bridge to the next meal. Even better, it has the most even and least extreme effect on blood glucose levels. So, you may notice a theme among these snack options: most are high in protein, some in protein and fat, and a few just in fat, but the key idea is that all have manageable levels of carbohydrates, which ultimately become a quick source of glucose in the blood. Among carbohydrates, we would recommend in addition to low overall levels a bias towards complex carbs that take longer to digest, all to minimize the blood sugar spike as much as possible.

 In general, you would also want to choose snacks that are nutrient-dense (put differently: as many nutrients per calorie as possible, and often this means choosing snacks in their whole food state. Processed food as a category tends to be calorie-dense and nutrient-poor. This is because processing typically involves discarding indigestible or simply unappealing parts of food from a pure taste perspective. Our digestive system, unfortunately, has yet to catch up with the highly processed food culture we find ourselves living in, so this can cause short-term derangements in blood glucose levels as well as deprive your body of the balance between nutrients and calories it has come to expect over tens of thousands of years.

Although some of these will require some basic meal preparation, the idea is that the finished snacks will be stable, storable and portable – so that at the exact moment a snack craving hits, it will be as convenient as a candy bar or can of soda. Wherever possible, they will also be made from raw or unprocessed ingredients for the reasons stated above. Here then is a short list of snacks that can be prepared in advance or eaten as they are purchased, with a focus on both nutrient density and the lowest possible impact on your blood glucose levels.

Hard Boiled Eggs

  • The incredible, edible and protein-dense egg can be prepared ahead of time with ease. The most stable preparation of this snack is probably simply to boil them, then peel them wherever you want to eat. If you have a kitchen available, they can be quickly garnished with your favorite seasonings - salt, pepper, everything but the bagel seasoning, and hot sauce are some of our favorites.

Yogurt Bowls

  • Probably the best base for a yogurt bowl for our priorities would be a thick, full-fat and unsweetened Greek yogurt (which strains out the lactose and whey, but on balance has more protein than normal yogurt because the resulting yogurt is much denser). Mix in some flax seeds, nuts, spices or a reasonable quantity of blueberries or blackberries and this nutrient-packed dish is ready to eat.

Cottage Cheese Bowls

  • Full fat cottage cheese is the substitute for yogurt in this recipe, so the usual suspects for mix-ins would still apply – flax seeds, cinnamon or berries.

Avocado

  • Although perhaps the most delicious preparation is guacamole (and you can substitute the chips with carrots or other crunchy vegetables), one advantage of whole avocados is you can store them outside a refrigerator. Simply cut one in half and season with salt, pepper, lemon juice or hot sauce for a high-fiber, low-carbohydrate snack.

Chia Pudding

  • Three tablespoons of chia seeds mixed with half a cup of unsweetened almond milk and cooled overnight in the refrigerator will yield a savory and satisfying treat. Cinnamon, almond butter or coconut flakes would be ideal toppings.

Edamame

  • Whole soybeans in the pod are one of the most stable, least fussy options on this list – simply peel and eat for a high-protein, whole food energy source. These can also be found pre-peeled and frozen.

Hummus

  • Hummus is a dip made from cooked, ground chickpeas, tahini, lemon juice and garlic and pairs exceptionally well with fresh sliced cucumbers or snap peas. Be sure to inspect the nutritional information to ensure it meets your goals.

Smoked Salmon

  • Layer smoked salmon and cucumber slices with a dollop of unsweetened Greek yogurt and chopped dill for a high-protein, flavorful tzatziki upgrade.

Beef Jerky

  • Beef jerky can be a great option for a shelf-stable, high protein snack. However, many large brands also add sugars to their beef jerky so be sure to inspect the ingredients list on the nutrition label.

Protein “Ice Cream”

  • Combine ice, half a cup of milk, a scoop of unsweetened protein powder and a tablespoon of either cacao powder or espresso powder (or both) with a pinch of salt in a blender then add fresh fruit or nuts for a surprisingly satisfying treat.

Tuna or Salmon Salad

  • Combine canned tuna or salmon with unsweetened full-fat Greek yogurt, sliced tomatoes, onion and a splash of extra virgin olive oil (if the can doesn’t have it) for a savory, protein-rich and nutrient-dense snack. You can eat this by itself, or scoop it with some cucumbers or celery!

Mozzarella Cheese

  • Combine fresh basil, a cherry tomato and mozzarella ball on a toothpick for a fun and no-mess version of caprese good for any time of day.

Why NutriSense for Glucose Monitoring?

 Continuous glucose monitors (CGM) have been used in diabetic populations for many years and have been considered safe and effective enough by the FDA to approve them for use in these populations. NutriSense offers, for the first time, the same CGM technology for the general public to use alongside registered dietitians and an innovative app that lets you track your blood glucose levels across time. With your expert advisor, you can have insight into how your body handles its fuel, optimizing a nutrition plan for holistic health management and wellness.


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12 Snacks That Won’t Raise Your Blood Sugar
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9 Essential Ways to Track Your Fitness (That Don’t Involve a Scale)
9 Essential Ways to Track Your Fitness (That Don’t Involve a Scale)

Most fitness tracking metrics involve stepping on the scale, but they don't always have to! Here are nine other ways to track your fitness.

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14
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Foods You Should Avoid Eating If You Have Prediabetes
Foods You Should Avoid Eating If You Have Prediabetes

There are many food items that can worsen the effects of prediabetes. Here are some foods you should avoid or limit your intake of throughout your day.

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11
min
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How Many Meals Should You Eat in a Day?
How Many Meals Should You Eat in a Day?

What's the perfect time to eat, and how many meals should you eat in a day? Explore how eating at different times and frequencies each day impacts your body and blood glucose.

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6
min
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NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Glucose-Friendly Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks
NutriSense Dietitians Recommend: Glucose-Friendly Apple Cider Vinegar Drinks

Looking for a way to add apple cider vinegar into your diet? Start with some of these delicious glucose-friendly ACV drinks, recommended by our Nutrition Team.

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8
min
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Benefits of Walking After Eating: From Regulating Blood Sugar To Lowering Blood Pressure 
Benefits of Walking After Eating: From Regulating Blood Sugar To Lowering Blood Pressure 

Find out how taking a walk after your next meal can benefit various aspects of your health, including your blood glucose levels.

Podcast
55
min
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I Think, I Can—Using Technology as a Window Into Your Physiology
I Think, I Can—Using Technology as a Window Into Your Physiology

Molly explains how using a continuous glucose monitor is what personalized health care means. If you want to fine-tune your health, tune in to this special episode of I Think, I Can.

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10
min
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My Day | My Life: Nutritionist Carlee Hayes' Canine Cuddles
My Day | My Life: Nutritionist Carlee Hayes' Canine Cuddles

My Day | My Life explores the lives of people who have, in one way or another, mastered the art of aging. In this episode, meet Carlee Hayes, dietitian and Nutrition Manager at NutriSense.

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9
min
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Common Workout Injuries and How to Prevent Them
Common Workout Injuries and How to Prevent Them

Worried about getting injured during your next workout? Learn about the most common workout injuries, how they can affect blood glucose levels, and some tips to help you prevent them.

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6
min
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Eat with NutriSense This St. Patrick's Day
Eat with NutriSense This St. Patrick's Day

Would eating the same meal, at the same time, have the same blood glucose response for three different people? See what our team found out after sampling a delicious corned beef and cabbage dish in preparation for St. Patrick's Day!

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7
min
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Build Healthy Habits During Lent
Build Healthy Habits During Lent

Do you know what you're giving up for Lent this year? For those who observe it, this can be a good time to give up bad habits, and add healthy ones into your routine! Read on to find out more about how to build healthy habits this season.

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11
min
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Do You Know How Healthy Your Breakfast Cereal Is?
Do You Know How Healthy Your Breakfast Cereal Is?

Cereal is one of the most popular breakfast foods out there—but how healthy is it, really? Review the nutritional content of some popular breakfast cereals, and learn how to choose a healthy option for your individual needs.

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9
min
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Obesity: What You Should Know and Some New Research on the Condition
Obesity: What You Should Know and Some New Research on the Condition

Did you know that more than two in five adults have obesity? Find out more about the pressing public health issue, review some new research that is shedding light on the condition, and learn how to diagnose and treat it.

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7
min
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Tips for a Healthy, Happy Purim
Tips for a Healthy, Happy Purim

Purim, a joyous occasion celebrated around March or April every year, is just around the corner! Read on to learn more about the holiday and the delicious foods that accompany it.

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9
min
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Vinegar and Blood Sugar: Does It Lower It?
Vinegar and Blood Sugar: Does It Lower It?

Read on to find out what impact, if any, vinegar really has on our body’s ability to balance blood sugar.

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8
min
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Meal Frequency and Insulin Sensitivity: How Many Times Should You be Eating in a Day?
Meal Frequency and Insulin Sensitivity: How Many Times Should You be Eating in a Day?

If you have insulin sensitivity, is eating two large meals a day or three to five smaller meals better? Find out more about the relationship between meal frequency and insulin sensitivity, and how many times you should be eating in a day.

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9
min
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Understanding the Causes and Symptoms of Endometriosis
Understanding the Causes and Symptoms of Endometriosis

Endometriosis is a common yet often ignored condition. Learn more about the symptoms to watch out for, how you can seek treatment, and read first-hand accounts from two women who have dealt with endometriosis.

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8
min
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The Benefits and Risks of Popular Ayurvedic Herbs and Spices
The Benefits and Risks of Popular Ayurvedic Herbs and Spices

Ayurveda is an ancient Indian holistic healing system that dates back over 5,000 years. In the second installment of our series on the practice, review the benefits and risks associated with popular Ayurvedic herbs and spices.

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7
min
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Can Eating Pizza Raise Your Blood Glucose Levels?
Can Eating Pizza Raise Your Blood Glucose Levels?

Pizza can be challenging to enjoy eating without worrying about how it affects your health. But while it may be indulgent, it is possible to prepare or order it in a way that won’t wreak havoc on your health or blood sugar levels. Read on to find out more!

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8
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Do Artificial Sweeteners Raise Insulin Levels?
Do Artificial Sweeteners Raise Insulin Levels?

Review our post on the impacts artificial sweeteners have on blood glucose, insulin, and other areas of your personal health.

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8
min
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What Research Says About Sleep and Blood Sugar Levels
What Research Says About Sleep and Blood Sugar Levels

Recent research has shown that sleep and blood glucose are intricately connected. Read on to learn more about what this means for your blood sugar levels and overall health.

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8
min
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Understanding the Relationship Between Menopause and Metabolic Health
Understanding the Relationship Between Menopause and Metabolic Health

Did you know that menopause can affect your metabolic health, and vice versa? Read on to understand the relationship between metabolic health and menopause, and how to manage metabolic health during your menopausal journey. 

Podcast
57
min
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How a Continuous Blood Sugar Monitor Can Help You Find Your Perfect Diet
How a Continuous Blood Sugar Monitor Can Help You Find Your Perfect Diet

In this episode learn the truth about how we react to certain foods in regards to our blood sugar response and how you can tailor your diet according to your CGM results.

Podcast
66
min
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All About Blood Sugar With Molly Downey, RDN
All About Blood Sugar With Molly Downey, RDN

This week, dive into how to eat your carbs and manage your blood sugar, too with Molly Downey, RDN, LDN.

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8
min
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A NutriSense Dietitian's Favorite Kitchen Staples
A NutriSense Dietitian's Favorite Kitchen Staples

Food can be fun, pleasurable, and nutritious all at the same time. Read on to learn more about the two nutrient-dense kitchen staples one of our dietitians swears by to help optimize her health!

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10
min
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10 Tastiest Nutrient-Dense Foods From Around the World
10 Tastiest Nutrient-Dense Foods From Around the World

Instead of the type or amount of food you eat, you should focus on the amount of nutrients you're adding to every meal. Here are some of our favorite nutrient-dense foods from around the world to help you get started.

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7
min
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Do Pineapples Raise Blood Sugar Levels?
Do Pineapples Raise Blood Sugar Levels?

Learn everything you need to know about pineapples, your health, and your blood glucose levels, and see how our dietitians like to eat the sweet, tropical fruit. 

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14
min
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Setting Up The Right Diet Plan For Prediabetes [+Sample Diet Plan Included]
Setting Up The Right Diet Plan For Prediabetes [+Sample Diet Plan Included]

Learn more about the relationship between prediabetes and your diet, and see how to build a diet plan that works for you with some great tips, tricks and recipes from our nutrition team!

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9
min
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What You Should Know About Acupuncture
What You Should Know About Acupuncture

Learn more about the research on, as well as the benefits and risks of acupuncture, a form of alternative medicine that involves inserting needles into your body for pain and stress relief.

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6
min
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Triglycerides and Blood Glucose [+Tips to Lower Triglyceride Levels]
Triglycerides and Blood Glucose [+Tips to Lower Triglyceride Levels]

Learn everything you need to know about the relationship between triglycerides levels and blood glucose.