Last Updated on February 8, 2024 by Dr Sharon Baisil MD
Bedtime snacks are handy to add to your after-dinner routine, especially if you have diabetes. They prevent the chances of suffering a hypoglycemic episode at night and balance the dawn phenomenon and Somogyi effect.
It is advisable to consider food items that are rich in proteins, fiber, and healthy fats. Foods that are very rich in carbohydrates, sugars, or empty calories, must be avoided. Here are the 10 healthiest bedtime snacks for diabetics.
1. One Hard-Boiled Egg
Eggs are a great source of protein for the body. One egg can provide more than around 6 grams of protein. Proteins are beneficial to the body and are among the essential nutrients that carry out various body functions.
They are also great snacks to consider before sleeping by people with diabetes, as they are low in carbohydrates.
Hard-boiling the egg is a good snack for a diabetic routine.
To add fiber to his healthy snack, one can take whole-grain biscuit crackers to assist in slowing down digestion, leading to a longer supply of energy.
The energy drawn from this snack is efficient for the body to keep the blood sugar levels stable throughout the night.
2. A handful of Raw or Dry-Roasted Peanuts
Nuts like – walnuts, cashews, pistachios, almonds, peanuts, etc. are very beneficial. As a diabetic patient, having a handful of nuts before bedtime can be useful throughout the night.
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Nuts contain a lot of beneficial vitamins, minerals, omega-3, and many other useful nutrients.
Nuts are low in carbs but have a proper amount of fat that helps control any sudden spikes in blood sugar levels.
You can have raw nuts, or even dry roast them to suit your taste preferences.
The extra oils required in frying them, or any other spice or sweetener mixes topped over nuts, must be avoided, as they can add unnecessary carbohydrates and other harmful elements.
As nuts are higher in fat content than carbs, they have, to some extent, calories that must be watched by a diabetic patient.
Pay attention to how much you consume. It is ideal not to have more than only a handful of nuts as a bedtime snack.
3. Greek Sugar-free Yogurt
Sugar-free yogurt can be a good snack option for people with diabetes. It has a fair amount of high-quality proteins and a lot of calcium, as it is a dairy product.
Yogurt is among the healthiest dairy products.
The recommendation is about Greek yogurt, as these varieties have more amounts of protein than most conventional yogurt types.
To add sweetness to your yogurts, you can opt for some amounts of honey, or even low-sugar fruits, such as berries.
Try to avoid sugary varieties available in stores.
Make sure your yogurt has less than 15g of carbs in it.
4. Whole wheat crackers and low-fat cheese
Crackers that are made out of whole wheat are low in starch and have more fiber. Dietary fiber can be a helpful nutrient to keep your blood sugar at balanced levels and prevent any high raises.
Whole-grain crackers also have a lower Glycemic Index, and Low GI foods are the best ones for diabetes.
If you can have a baked cracker variety, then it is even better.
Having low-fat and unprocessed cheese along with healthy high-fiber crackers do not only increases the taste factor but also is efficient in itself.
Cheese is a good protein source that can keep the body full and carry out efficient functions.
It is essential to have a controlled portion of the cheeses and cracker snacks. Be sure not to consume more than 15 grams of carbs from the crackers.
5. Healthy veggies like – Slices of Cucumber, Cherry Tomatoes, and Baby carrots
Vegetables as snacks are always a fresh and healthy snacking option. Cucumbers, tomatoes, and baby carrots are among the low-starch variety veggies with more other benefitting nutrients.
These veggies have higher amounts of various vitamin varieties that are helpful for the body and rich in minerals.
Having slices of cucumbers, or baby carrots, or cherry tomatoes does not cause a spike in blood sugar levels in the body, as these vegetables are low in carbohydrate, fat, and calorie content.
The GI f these veggies also fall under the low category that is safe for people with diabetes.
The fiber content in these veggies is high enough to keep the gut system healthy. They also provide antioxidants that assist in overall good health maintenance.
Cucumbers and cherry tomatoes also have hydrating goodness in them and are fresh veggies. You can even add all of these to make a low-calorie salad.
Adding some low-fat cheese to this can also add to these overall low-calorie snack veggies’ total protein content.
6. Celery with a Hummus dip
The celery is a veggie that is usually enjoyed raw. It has a fair amount of benefitting vitamins and minerals.
Celery sticks are very low in calories, carbohydrates, as well as starch. They have fiber, which is a good nutrient for the gut.
Another low in a starchy veggie like carrots can also be added to your celery and hummus dip snack.
Hummus is a healthy dip and a good spread to choose from with your veggies.
Although, when making hummus a bedtime diabetic snack, you can go for homemade chickpea hummus, as market-bought hummus is usually processed, high in additives, preservatives, and have a higher GI.
Hummus can be beneficial, but a diabetic patient must watch the portion eaten.
When pairing any veggies with hummus, take no more than one-third cup of this healthy dip.
Hummus can also be replaced by peanut butter and taken as per your taste.
Hummus is rich in protein and makes you feel full after a snack. It also does not add too many carbs which can be harmful to your blood sugar levels. The breakdown of protein in the body is slower than that of carbs, and hence, sugar levels do not spike up immediately.
7. Air-popped Popcorn
Popcorn is a widespread light snack variety. It can also be taken as a bedtime snack by people with diabetes.
Popcorn can be beneficial ad not too harmful to a person with diabetes, depending on how prepared.
Air-popped popcorn is a good source of fiber, vitamins, minerals, etc.
It is overall light, low in carbs, and healthy.
Adding some dry-roasted or raw nuts in the popcorn mix can increase the snack’s protein content and make it even more satisfying and nourishing.
8. Peanut butter with Apple
Peanut butter has the goodness of protein from peanuts and rich in good fats and fiber.
Apart from the nutritional goodness, peanut butter is also a very popular and liked a dip and spread option.
For a bedtime snack, this can be paired with some sliced apples. Apples are among the recommended fruits for diabetics and have the right amount of minerals, vitamins, and anti-oxidants.
You can even pair the apple slices with cashew or almond butter.
Try to monitor the amount of peanut butter or other butter that you choose as the spread, as too much, it is not advisable.
9. Roasted Chickpeas
Chickpeas are a good source of protein. They have nearly 12 grams of protein and around 10 grams of fiber in a cup.
You can easily prepare your roasted chickpea snack at home with some everyday spices like cumin, chili, and pepper powder, salt, and olive oil.
You can either roast them or even bake it in an oven for 20 mins until it is brown.
It makes a healthy as well as a tasty salty snack.
Avocado is a great food choice if you want to keep your blood sugars under check.
Avocados are great as a bedtime snack as they have a lot of fiber and healthy fatty acids. These add to make a good snack that does not cause any unhealthy rise in the sugar levels.
Avocados are also among advised foods for people with Type 2 diabetes.
Make sure you have a controlled portion of this high-calorie food item. It is best to consume not more than half an avocado. You can have it like it is, or even make a guacamole dip as per your tastes.
Importance of Bedtime snacks for a Diabetic patient
If you have diabetes, then you probably understand the importance that is given to meals. Any diabetic patient must take his/her meals on time and not miss or skip any meal of the day.
Dinner time foods are among the most important meals that a person with diabetes takes in a day. It is necessary to choose an excellent nutritional supplement that can help the person go through the night without rising sugar levels or depleting beyond the limit.
If one skips a night meal, eats lesser than one should, or avoids bedtime snacks, then the chances of having a hypoglycemic episode at night rise. Hypoglycemia occurs when the body’s glucose is less, and the blood sugar levels fall below the low limits.
Considering a person has also taken his/her insulin without a proper food supplement for the night, the blood sugars can fall even lower.
This can cause severe energy and nutrition deficiency at night when a person is sleeping.
Such conditions can be spotted with the following symptoms:
- Excessive perspiration
- Blurry sight and blindness
- Confusion and loss of bodily control
- Dry mouth
- Increased heart palpitations
- Sensations of needles and pins all over the body
The dawn phenomenon, which is the sudden spike in the glucose levels in the morning time around – 2 to 8 a.m., is observed in individuals. It is the release of hormones in the body to prepare it for the next day. This can lead to high levels of blood sugar during dawn time.
Similar to the dawn phenomenon is the Somogyi effect, where the fallen blood sugars during the 2 a.m. to 3 a.m. period are controlled by the release of hormones to raise it.
Good snacks that take into consideration the actions of the dawn effect are also essential. It would help if you were vigilant about what effects the food can have and how it can impact your body.