By Sherri Shafer

Many foods are naturally low in carbs or have no carbs at all. For example, meat, fish, chicken, cheese, eggs, nuts, tofu, avocado, leafy greens, nonstarchy vegetables, and olives are all examples of foods with few or no carbs, so these foods don’t have much effect on blood-glucose levels.

Beware, though; some low-carb foods are high in calories and fat. Although meat and cheese don’t have carbs and don’t raise blood-glucose levels, you should be mindful of the fact that they can be significant contributors of calories and saturated fat depending on portions consumed. For example, bacon won’t raise blood-glucose levels, but that doesn’t mean it’s a healthy choice. There are best-bet options within the low-carb foods. Lean meats are better for you than fatty meats when it comes to heart and hips.

Snack options for those who have diabetes and are counting carbs may be single food items, such as string cheese, or easy-to-assemble snacks, which incorporate a few foods. Each of the snack ideas here lists the amount of total carb (0–10 grams), fiber, and calories.

The table provides the total carb count and the amount of fiber. Because fiber does not digest, you can subtract the grams of fiber (in the second column) from the total grams of carb (in the first column). Doing this is especially important if you use insulin-to-carb ratios in order to calculate a more accurate dose of insulin.

There may be variability in some ingredients used in the snack ideas, so when indicated, be sure to compare labels to verify pertinent nutrition information such as carbohydrates, fiber, fat, and calories.

Snack Ideas, Each with 0–10 Grams of Carb Total Carb Grams Fiber Grams Calories
1 hard-boiled egg 0 0 78
1 ounce part-skim or reduced-fat string cheese 0.5 0 80
1 ounce fresh mozzarella cheese on 2 sliced tomatoes

1/2 teaspoon olive oil and fresh basil leaves

Total

 

2

0

2

1

0

1

82

20

102

1/2 cup 1-percent low-fat cottage cheese 3 0 80
25 pistachio nuts 4.8 1.8 100
20 raw pea pods (snow peas or sugar snap peas) 5.2 1.8 29
1/2 avocado, Hass-California type 1

tablespoon lemon juice

Total

5.8

1

6.8

4.6

0

4.6

114

4

118

6 ounces nonfat Greek yogurt (read labels) 7 0 100
3 ounces cooked shrimp

2 tablespoons cocktail sauce (read labels)

Total

0

7.5

7.5

0

0.5

0.5

84

30

114

1 stalk raw celery — 12 inches long

2 tablespoons natural peanut butter (no added sugars)

Total

2.1

6

8.1

1

2

3

9

210

219

5 baby carrots, 1 cup raw veggies such as sliced bell peppers and celery

1/4 cup light ranch salad dressing

Total

6

3

9

2

0

2

30

80

110

1/4 cup canned pink salmon or tuna, drained

4 whole-wheat crackers (check labels)

Total

0

9

9

0

0.5

0.5

90

48

138

1/2 cup shelled cooked edamame (green soybeans) 9 4 100
2 cups microwave light-butter popcorn 10 2 70