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Best Grab and Go Healthy Foods and Travel Snacks for Diabetics

Best Grab and Go Healthy Foods and Travel Snacks for Diabetics

You may not have put much thought into this, but nonperishable foods play an important role in diabetes management. These…

You may not have put much thought into this, but nonperishable foods play an important role in diabetes management. These are foods processed or packaged to withstand prolonged storage: not perishable.

Those of us managing diabetes often need to have snacks or meals to bring along with us when we vacation or even take a short trip away from the house to go for a bike ride, shopping errand or other on-the-go activity. Healthy eating is a key component to diabetes management, so when we are away from home we need to have healthy food choices on hand. Having healthy food choices on hand is one strategy to lessen the stress involved with “what can I eat?” That is where nonperishables come into play.

Planning Your Food

For everyone, whether you have been diagnosed with diabetes or not, nonperishable food is important to keep at home as part of your emergency planning kit. If the electricity goes out, we don’t want to be left with spoiled food to eat. That tip is for everyone but is super important for people who are managing their diabetes. Dealing with a storm that cuts off our electricity is stressful enough. We don’t want to add a worry about finding food to eat as we ride out the storm.

You will notice a pattern to my recommendations of nonperishable foods to keep on hand. We want to have foods:

— That have healthy carbohydrates for energy.

— That have protein for a wide variety of critical body functions.

— That have fiber to help blunt spikes in blood sugar.

These are foods that are packed with vitamins and minerals like fruits and veggies.

You’ll also want some foods that will help raise a blood sugar if you start trending to or have hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). You also need food choices that are low in carbs in case you’re hungry but don’t want to spike your blood sugar.

[READ: Mediterranean Diet for People With Diabetes.]

My Top 10 List of Nonperishable Foods for Diabetics

Roasted edamame

This high protein snack can also fill in as a great plant protein for a snack or meal. In a one-third cup serving, the crunchy roasted edamame contains 114 calories, 7 grams carbohydrate, 5 grams fiber, and 14 grams protein. The roasted edamame contains a lot of nutritional value, especially for helping to keep blood sugar steady.

Protein fiber bars

Fiber One Chewy Protein Bars are one of my favorite snack bars to have at my side. Why do I choose this bar over all the other protein bars? The Fiber One Chewy Protein Bars have only 130 calories versus others that have 180 or more calories. These bars contain 16 grams carbohydrate, 8 grams fiber, and 6 grams protein. With an impressive nutrition resume, these bars also work well for keeping blood sugar steady. For those of you who typically eat a bedtime snack or exercise, these bars can be a perfect solution to keeping your blood sugar steady. If you want fewer calories (90 calories, 10 grams protein), try the Protein One Protein Bars.

[See: High-Protein Breakfast Ideas.]


Consuming a high fiber diet can delay gastric emptying which helps steady blood sugar levels, increase satiety, suppress hunger and the desire to eat, and promote fullness. I’m a fan of including nuts as part of a diabetes-friendly eating plan, and almonds are highest in fiber.

Based on scientific studies, the recommendation is to include two ounces of almonds per day, which checks all the boxes by being a healthy fat, plant-based protein and a good source of dietary fiber (4 grams per 1 ounce serving). This is a delicious way to help balance blood sugar levels.

Nut butters

Natural almond or peanut butter does not need to be refrigerated after opening. Refrigeration does help the oil from not separating but if there is no power, it’s the least of your concern to have the peanut butter mixed when you open the jar. Nut butters have a great combination of carbohydrate (4 grams) and protein (8 grams) per 2-tablespoon serving and are versatile.

Nut butters can be used on crackers, bread, a tortilla, fruits (think apples or bananas) or vegetables (think celery or leafy greens) and can be a snack or served as a meal.

Tuna packs

Make sure to purchase the packs that are tear-to-open versus a can because they are usually a true grab and go that doesn’t need draining of the tuna juice or requiring a can opener. Tuna is high in protein (17 grams per pouch) and very low in carbohydrate (less than 1 gram). StarKist Tuna Creations come seasoned, so they are ready to eat without any fuss.

[READ: Intermittent Fasting With Diabetes: Is It Safe?]

Canned vegetables

Canned vegetables should be kept in stock in your food pantry . While canned vegetables aren’t as easy to grab and go as a snack to carry in your backpack, they are great to fill your plate with low carbohydrate foods and boost your vitamin and mineral intake. For emergency prep situations where the power may go out, make sure you have a manual can opener available or purchase the canned vegetables with the flip open tops.

No added sugar fruit cups

Having a fruit cup allows for portion control and easy storage as a grab and go snack or side to your meal. Dole and Delmonte have no added sugar fruit cups that contain 7 to 17 grams of carbohydrate per serving.

Moon cheese

This ready-to-eat protein is dehydrated cheese which contains 5 grams protein and 1 gram carbohydrate per six to seven pieces. Compared with beef jerky, Moon Cheese has 1 gram more protein and 10 grams less carbohydrate per serving. Another pro to using Moon Cheese as an on-the-go protein source: It only has one ingredient, cheese, and no fillers.

Trader Joe’s Super Seedy Cheese Snack Bites

These Super Seedy Cheese Snack Bites are made with puffed quinoa and whole peppercorns, so there is a bit of a spice kick with each bite. They are a crunchy snack because they also contain sunflower and pumpkin seeds. This snack is low in carbohydrate (5 grams) and a great source of protein (12 grams) per serving of seven pieces. You can have this ready to eat snack when your blood sugar is trending at target range to help keep your blood sugar steady.

Sierra Trail Bites

These snack bites are appropriately labeled as trail bites because they’re an easy snack to bite into when you are out and about. This snack is both sweet and chewy, containing 120 calories per serving of three bites, 16 grams of carbohydrate, 3 grams of fiber and 3 grams of protein.

This snack has worked well for me when my blood sugar is trending down (75 or 80 mg/dL), and I prefer eating something with nutrition benefits like these Sierra Trail Bites instead of hard candy. They are made with dates, prunes, sunflower seeds and nuts.

The Bottom Line

When we have diabetes, planning is key to helping make the day run smoother. If you are in a pinch for a quick snack or meal that doesn’t need a lot of prep, turn to your stock of nonperishable foods. They are ready to eat when you are. We also need to think about our weather, which has been more unpredictable than ever. In other words, we need to be prepared if the lights go out. People with diabetes can’t chance not having sustainable food close by. Make it a point to keep food that doesn’t spoil in your home, backpack or purse.

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Best Grab and Go Healthy Foods and Travel Snacks for Diabetics originally appeared on usnews.com