Whether you’re planning on watching a movie in the living room with your extended family or going out for a night at the theater with your significant other, you might be looking forward to munching away while watching.
Snacking has become an essential part of “movie night.”
However, for diabetics, things aren’t as simple as they are for everyone. There are certain foods and snacks that you need to stay away from.
However, you’re not out of luck. Today, we will be going over the top 25 movie snacks for diabetics, whether you’re watching Netflix on your couch or sneaking a snack into the cinema.
We said it! Popcorn is actually a low-GI food – it has a glycemic index of around 55.
Popcorn is not that malicious. It’s a great snack with a very low amount of fat and calories.
In fact, eating five cups of popcorn will only give you around 100-150 calories.
This doesn’t mean that you can throw caution to the wind and start splurging on extra-large servings of popcorn at the movie theater.
You should be staying away from popcorn that has all sorts of seasonings and instead opt for plain, air-popped popcorn, as that is what will give you the fewest calories and fat.
Stay away from sugary toppings, as well as salty and buttery toppings. Medical News Today recommends harmless toppings such as a dash of cinnamon or a little bit of olive oil.
In addition, don’t take too much – stick to less than five cups of popcorn, and always adhere to your doctor’s guidelines for carb servings between meals.
When we say that cheese is a good snack for diabetics, it’s important to keep in mind that not all cheeses are created equal. Cheddar cheese has only 0.4 grams of carbohydrates per ounce, while Swiss cheese has 1.5 grams per ounce.
Feta cheese has 316 milligrams of sodium per ounce, while mozzarella cheese has only 4 milligrams per ounce.
As such, it is important to choose natural, non-processed, low-fat, and low-sodium cheeses. In addition, it is important to practice portion control and eat only a little at a time.
As such, it is a good idea to pair a slice of low-fat, low-sodium cheese with another healthy snack. Cheese has a low GI, so you can pair it with higher-GI foods.
Healthline recommends eating a slice of cheese with an apple or making a mini homemade pizza out of whole-grain bread, vegetables, and mozzarella cheese.
Hummus is a delicious, healthy spread made of chickpeas. It is packed with protein.
Some hummus products you will buy in stores will have high amounts of fat and sodium. As such, it is better to either make your own, homemade hummus, or to look at the nutritional information on the hummus you buy in the store and make sure sodium and fat levels are low.
If you have diabetes, stay away from eating your hummus with bread, pita bread, or chips. Instead, opt for healthier options – carrots taste great when they are dipped in hummus!
You can also experiment with dipping peppers and celery in hummus or mixing in a few olives.
4. Plain Greek Yogurt
Greek yogurt might be a bit more expensive than regular yogurt, but for good reason. It is packed with protein – sometimes as much as 18+ grams of protein per serving!
However, Greek yogurt can also be a common trap food. Most Greek yogurts are artificially sweetened, and some have 20+ grams of sugar per cup.
That’s why it is important to look for plain, unsweetened Greek yogurt. You can add a bit of chopped up fruit to sweeten it yourself – blueberries and raspberries go very well with Greek yogurt.
5. Cottage Cheese
Cottage cheese is another great snack, but as with Greek yogurt, you have to look out for traps. Don’t buy cottage cheese that has added carbohydrates.
Instead, look for low-fat, plain cottage cheese. You might want to consider spicing it up by eating your cottage cheese with vegetables – you might be surprised by how well they go in a salad or how tasty it is to dip carrots into cottage cheese.
If you love berries, you’re in luck. Berries generally have a low GI, so they are great for a quick snack every once in a while.
Plus, they are packed with fiber and antioxidants, which will keep you healthy.
Strawberries, in particular, have a very low amount of sugar compared to more popular fruits. With only around seven grams of sugar per cup, they make for a good, healthy snack.
You can just pop them in your mouth or mix a few berries with some Greek yogurt.
7. Sweet Potatoes
You gave up on potatoes when you heard you were diabetic, didn’t you? However, sweet potatoes are different – they can actually help regulate glucose levels.
They have a low GI and contain various vitamins, such as Vitamin A, Vitamin C, and iron.
Of course, as with all foods, it is important to exercise proper portion control. The way you prepare your sweet potatoes matters as well.
According to Everyday Health, it is best to boil your sweet potatoes as this keeps the glycemic index low. On the other hand, baking, roasting, and frying your sweet potatoes are not recommended.
You can sprinkle your sweet potatoes with some spices, like cinnamon or onion, to make them tastier.
8. Tart Cherries
Tart cherries are packed with health benefits. They help fight inflammation and can fight heart disease, cancer, and various other health problems.
One cup of tart cherries has only 19 grams of carbohydrates.
As always, it is important to stay away from traps. Canned tart cherries can contain all kinds of added sugars, so look at the nutritional label.
One large kiwi has only 13 grams of carbohydrates. Kiwis are an important source of calcium and vitamin C.
If you want a quick, juicy snack during movie night, grab a kiwi, cut it into slices, and enjoy.
Here’s a fun one – make a smoothie! While buying a smoothie in a smoothie shop will probably end up resulting in you consuming tons of extra sugar, making one at home is a great way to get in a lot of vitamins and other nutrients while staying healthy.
Check out these different smoothie ideas for diabetics compiled by Healthline:
- 5 strawberries, one cup almond milk, ½ cup low-fat Greek yogurt, and 6 ice cubes for a low-carb strawberry smoothie
- 1 cup blueberries, 1 cup raspberries, 1 cup blackberries, a handful of mango chunks, 2 cups of unsweetened coconut water, 3 kale leaves, and 2 tablespoons of flax meal for a Berry Blast smoothie
- A handful of spinach, a few carrots, a few apple slices, ice, and a cup of unsweetened almond milk
Of course, you can also just throw in your greens, such as kale, spinach, and green apples to make a yummy, healthy green drink.
Can eggs be a snack? Sure they can!
Make some hard-boiled eggs and chop them up with some crunchy veggies, such as peppers and celery. Then, sprinkle a few spices on the top for a quick, healthy, protein-packed salad.
Tuna can also make for a great snack. Prepare your tuna with a bit of olive oil, tomatoes, lettuce, and other vegetables.
Add a tiny bit of lemon juice and garlic spice to make it even tastier.
13. Trail Mix
Trail mixes make the perfect snack because they require little preparation, are crunchy, and are easy to munch on, unlike some other snacks on this list such as kiwis or tuna salad.
If you enjoy crunchy snacks, a trail mix is for you.
Buying trail mixes at the store can be a common trap. Not only can they be expensive, but they can have all kinds of added sodium – way more than you want to consume.
Instead, make your own trail mixes with plain nuts, rice crackers, and some dried fruits. Check out this recipe from Eating Well.
Cauliflower is often overlooked, but you can certainly use it to create yummy snacks. It is low in carbs and has tons of other nutrients to help your body stay healthy.
You can also use cauliflower rice (if you can find it) to create a snack of rice + eggs, rice + tuna, rice + veggies, etc.
Check out these cauliflower recipes for diabetics from Diabetes Care.
15. Almonds And Other Nuts
Looking for a crunchy, healthy alternative to chips? Pop some nuts into your mouth!
Nuts are full of protein and have other things going for them, such as fiber, vitamins, folate, magnesium, potassium, and much more.
However, not all nuts are created equal. A common trap is to buy salted nuts at stores – these are overloaded with unhealthy sodium.
Unsalted almonds make for a great snack for diabetics, according to Medical News Today. In fact, they can positively reduce blood sugar levels and reduce the risk of heart disease.
Other great nuts you might want to try out include walnuts, cashews, and pistachios.
While peanuts are not technically nuts, they are also great for diabetics. Peanuts have a GI value of only 13, which is very low!
Eating peanuts can help you lose weight, control your blood sugar, and lower the risk of cardiovascular disease.
However, as with all foods, peanuts must be eaten in moderation. They are high in calories, so having too many peanuts at the same time can be bad for you.
In addition, peanut products, including canned peanuts, often contain a lot of salt and sometimes sugar.
It’s best to eat a small amount of regular, unsalted peanuts.
17. Peanut Butter
Like peanuts, peanut butter is a low-GI food. As such, people with diabetes can eat it.
Since peanut butter is high in magnesium, it can help improve insulin sensitivity, reduce stress, and decrease inflammation.
In addition, peanut butter is very filling. This means that by eating a little bit of peanut butter, you will be less hungry – leading to less snacking.
At the same time, peanut butter is a bit more tricky than plain peanuts. This is because peanut butter almost always comes with added sugar.
That’s why it is important to search specifically for all-natural peanut butter that only contains peanuts. The texture might be a bit different from the peanut butter you were used to your whole life, but it’s healthier, tastes great, and spreads amazingly.
A bit of added salt is okay, but not too much.
There are many ways to eat peanut butter – you’re not going to have to dip a spoon into the jar and eat it plain. Instead, you can dip apples or carrots into your peanut butter.
18. Almond Butter And Other Butters
Peanut butter isn’t the only kind of butter out there! If you are allergic to peanuts, you can always substitute almond butter.
Almond butter isn’t nearly as popular as peanut butter, but it is very creamy and goes great with carrots, whole-grain bread, apples, and anything else.
Almond butter is a high source of vitamin E.
As with peanut butter, go for natural almond butter that only contains almonds.
Other types of butter you might want to consider, according to ADW Diabetes, include:
- Walnut butter
- Hazelnut butter
- Homemade cashew butter (store-bought cashew butter often has added sugar)
19. Sunflower Seeds
Sunflower seeds are also great alternatives to nuts. They are rich in vitamin E and help control blood glucose levels.
They are tiny, but they are so much fun! Sunflower seeds are about the best snack you can have if you have diabetes, as they are small and very low in carbs.
Again, make sure you buy unsalted sunflower seeds – you don’t want to load your body with unwanted sodium.
You can buy sunflower seeds shelled or unshelled. Some people enjoy the process of breaking open sunflower seed shells, and buying them in the shells can actually lead you to consume fewer seeds over the course of your movie.
Just make sure to clean the mess up after yourself!
20. Pumpkin Seeds
Like sunflower seeds, pumpkin seeds are delicious, nourishing, and packed with protein and healthy fats. They help control blood sugar levels and can boost your immune system.
Pumpkin seeds are high in antioxidants and have been linked to a lower risk of certain cancers. They are high in magnesium, can improve heart health, and can even improve bladder and prostate health and lower the risk of prostate cancer!
Some people with symptoms such as an overactive bladder have reported relief after incorporating pumpkin seeds into their diet. They can also improve sperm quality.
Unlike hummus, which is made from chickpeas, tahini is made from ground sunflower seeds. We already mentioned that sunflower seeds make for a great snack for diabetics.
You can mix pure tahini with a little bit of olive oil; the healthy fats paired together can help slow sugar absorption.
Like hummus, tahini goes great with carrots, celery, and whole-grain crackers. In addition, tahini goes great with hummus!
Having the two dips side by side (or mixed together, whichever one you like best) along with a plate of carrots makes for the perfect, crunchy, movie-night snack.
Eggplant has a glycemic index of only 15, which is pretty low! As such, it is perfectly safe for diabetics.
Eggplant is also rich with fiber and other nutrients such as beta-carotene.
Although it is low in carbs and calories, it is very filling, and there are tons of ways to prepare it.
One idea is to make an eggplant dip to add to your dip plate of hummus, tahini, carrots, pepper, and celery. Turkish baba ganoush is a popular recipe that you can keep healthy by including just a bit of olive oil, tahini, and garlic and not adding too much salt.
23. Bulgur Wheat
The American Diabetes Association lists bulgur wheat as a healthy option for diabetics. Bulgur is made from crushed wheat kernels.
It is rich in iron and zinc and only contains around 34 grams of carbohydrates per cup. It doesn’t have a lot of sodium, and it is best to keep it that way – don’t add too much salt when you are preparing it for consumption.
You can cook it in water and eat it together with herbs, parsley, and vegetables.
You can also add it to a salad.
Avocados make for a good snack for diabetics as they are low in carbs and high in fiber and healthy fats. Studies show that avocados do not significantly affect blood sugar levels.
Avocados can help keep your heart healthy. At the same time, they have a lot of calories, so it is really important to practice portion control.
It is best to eat around a fifth of an avocado at once – certainly, not more than a half.
However, you don’t have to eat avocado as a standalone snack. Remember we said that tuna can be a great snack for diabetics?
Consider taking out the pit of the avocado and filling the hole with tuna fish. You can sprinkle just a bit of olive oil or garlic powder to make it tastier.
Our last healthy snack for diabetics is peppers. Peppers are great as they can be prepared in so many ways.
One way is to cut your pepper into two parts (or four) and fill them with tuna fish. You’ll be surprised at how well peppers go with tuna fish!
Peppers go great in an egg salad, with hummus and tahini, and even with bulgur wheat.
Peppers slow down the consumption of carbs and lipids. However, research shows that yellow peppers are better than green peppers for diabetics as they are better at controlling blood sugar levels.
Tips For Choosing A Healthy Movie Snack As A Diabetic
If you are suffering from diabetes, you can’t just help yourself to whatever food you lay eyes upon. Instead, you have to be careful with what you eat.
Although we went over 25 healthy snacks that you can eat on movie nights, there are still a number of things you have to keep in mind. Here are some tips for snacking healthy as a diabetic.
Practice Portion Control
Although the foods listed above are healthy and safe for diabetics, everything must be done in moderation. Avocados, for example, are high in calories – so you don’t want to be eating them all the time.
Instead, it would be a better idea to use avocados as a substitute for butter and cream cheese, for example.
Portion control is very important. Eat everything in moderation.
Don’t Fall Into Common Traps
We mentioned traps many times throughout this article. Although a food may sound healthy, it is not always so – it can actually be dangerous for you.
Some of the most common traps, which we mentioned in this article, include:
- Greek yogurt filled with added sugars
- Peanuts with tons of salt
- Trail mixes with tons of salt
- Bulgur wheat with tons of salt or sugar added
- Canned fruits and vegetables, such as carrots, with added sweeteners
A general rule is to go natural – look for almond butter that only contains almonds, for example. Avoid processed foods and try to eat the natural version whenever possible.
When you can, prepare things at home. Look up how to make your own cashew butter and tahini, or example, or make your own smoothies.
Always Consult With Your Doctor
Finally, make sure to always consult with your doctor about your diet. Keeping in touch with a medical professional about your diet will ensure that you stay on the right track.
Only your doctor will be able to give you advice that is tailored for you and your specific conditions.
Wrapping It Up
There you have it – 25 easy snacks for those long movie nights. Some require a bit of preparation (like bulgur wheat, smoothies, and eggplant dip) while others require no preparation at all (like peanuts).
Our best advice is to mix it up and match – don’t eat the same thing every time. Add some variety to make your movie nights more fun.
Enjoyed 25 Movie Snacks For Diabetics? Share it with your friends so they too can follow the MyBodyExpert journey.
Diana Paul is a certified nutritionist who writes for leading health blogs. She is a master herbalist, yoga teacher, forager, and wild-crafting writer She is focused on helping people transform life blocks to opportunities. Based in NYC, she often holds health seminars and lectures.