If you’ve traveled with diabetes before, you know how important it is to find your own healthy habits you’re comfortable with. When traveling with diabetes, preparedness is key.
Diabetic snacks we can have on-the-go to calm a sudden hunger without spiking our blood sugars are limited. We’re all running out of ideas! Hence, without further ado, we're sharing 10+ great low-carb ideas that make the perfect snacks for diabetic travelers.
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Travel snacks for Diabetics: What to look for?
Let’s clear things first. There are two kinds of snacks for diabetics with completely opposite purposes. In this article, we’re focusing on low-carb diabetic travel snacks you can eat without spiking your blood glucose. But when living with diabetes, and especially if you’re using insulin, you should also carry fast-acting sugar snacks or glucagon emergency kit in case of hypoglycemia.
Low-carb diabetic snacks for travels
You’re on the road, on the plane, or maybe you’re hiking some remote mountains, and camping in the wilderness. Suddenly, hunger strikes! Your next meal is not before a few hours. Like everyone on earth, you need to kill that hunger. But unlike everyone on earth, you have diabetes. Snacking in between meals can considerably rise your sugars and mess up with your diabetes management.
Fortunately, some nourishing low-carb foods make suitable travel snacks for diabetics. Almonds, jerkies, cheese, vegetables...
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Fast-acting Sugar Snacks for Hypoglycemia
Another snacking scenario diabetics often face when traveling is low blood sugars (hypoglycemia). Type 2 diabetes medications, like metformin or injections (Mounjaro, Ozempic, Victoza, Trulicity, Byetta, etc.) put you at risk of mild hypoglycemia. Hypoglycemia caused by excessive quantities of insulin can have severe, even life-threatening, consequences.
Whether you have type 1 or type 2 diabetes, the key to preventing unfortunate and perilous situations is to be prepared! Your diabetic travel checklist should invariably include fast-acting sugar snacks to treat hypoglycemia immediately.
Unlike low-carb travel snacks, fast-acting sugar snacks should obviously contain sugar.
The American Diabetes Association recommends you follow the 15-15 rule:
“Have 15 grams of carbohydrates to raise your blood sugar and check it after 15 minutes. If it’s still below 70 mg/dL, have another serving. Repeat these steps until your blood sugar is at least 70 mg/dL.”
You find around 15 grams of fast-acting sugars in glucose tablets, 4 ounces of fruit juice, or 1 tablespoon of sugar or honey for example.
Diabetic travel snacks: Tasty, healthy & Easy to pack!
Evidently, when you’re traveling, you’re looking for things that are small, compact, lightweight and easy to pack. The same goes for diabetic snacks. If you’re running out of ideas here’s our list of 10 tasty & healthy low-carb snacks to have on the go if you have diabetes.
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Best Diabetic Snacks on the Go: 10 Low-carb Ideas!
1. Mixed Unsweetened Nuts: Ideal for all types of travels!
Nuts are an all times classic low-carb and healthy travel snack. One ounce of mixed nuts should calm your hunger and bring you plenty of energy for only 6 grams of carbs. Full of proteins and beneficial fats, nuts are part of a healthful diet.
They’re lightweight and easy to pack, they don’t take much space, and you can easily consume them on the go. Great snack for airplane travels too as you can take nuts through airport security control without any restrictions.
Prefer: Almonds, Walnuts, Cashews, Pistachios, Peanuts.
Avoid: honey roasted nuts (sugar) and salted nuts (unnecessary salt)
Alternative: Peanut butter individual servings are also a great diabetes-friendly travel snacks idea. It contains little sugar and has a low glycemic index. It’s very filling. It is extremely fatty though, don’t eat too much of it!
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2. Avocado: Superfood sugar free travel snack!
Avocado’s health benefits are enormous! It’s packed with fibers, healthful fats and nutrients. One cup of avocado (around 150 grams) contains around 12 grams of carbohydrates. Pairing avocado with other foods also helps reduce sugar spikes because it makes it slows the digestion process and the absorption of other carbs.
It is not as easy to travel with as nuts. You’d need to carry a knife with you to cut it, which is problematic for airplane travels. It’s great for road trips, hikes, and nature trips!
Prefer: Raw organic avocado
Avoid: Industrial avocado processed foods that contain added sugars, salt and preservatives.
Alternative: Homemade or organic guacamole, Unsweetened avocado shakes.
3. Sardines: zero carb diabetic snack!
With about 0g net carbs, sardines are ideal travel snacks for diabetics. They don’t rise your blood sugars and provide you with plenty of healthy nutrients. An excellent source of Omega 3 fatty acids, calcium, vitamins and proteins. A recent study showed that eating sardines regularly could even prevent Type 2 diabetes!
Not ideal for airplane travels though, as canned sardines are not allowed through airport security checks. Otherwise, pack a tin of sardines in your backpack and enjoy free of guilt whenever you need!
Prefer: Sardines in water without added salt.
Avoid: Sardines in oil and added sugars in seasonings.
Alternative: Tuna, Pink Salmon, Mackerel, or any canned fish!
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4. Low-carb fruits: Great snacks for weight loss too!
While most fruits contain elevated levels of fast acting sugars, some are on the lowest side and could make for great low-carb snacks. Plus, low on calories and fats, fruits remain a smart choice for people watching their weight.
Choose fruits as a diabetic travel snacks when you have rather low blood sugars. If you’re experiencing hyperglycemia, it’s more recommended to choose snacks with even less sugar.
Prefer: Fruits with the lowest sugar content such as watermelon, berries, cantaloupe, peach, orange…
Avoid: Fruits with the highest sugar content such as bananas, grapes, mango, pineapple…
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5. Raw Vegetables Slices: probably the healthiest snack!
If you’re looking for the healthiest way to snack with diabetes, this is it: raw vegetable slices. No fat, very low calories, and close to zero carbs. Remember it’s recommended you eat 2 to 3 cups per day of vegetables, even when traveling!
Slice some veggies at home and pack them in a zipper bag. Carrots, celery, radishes, tomato cherry, cucumbers, pickles, cauliflower…
Avoid: high-carb vegetables such as beets, corn,
Alternative: add some sugar free dips such as guacamole or creamy cheese.
6. Olives: diabetes and keto friendly travel snack on the go
High in Vitamin E, antioxidant and good monounsaturated fats, olives make another great diabetes-friendly and keto-friendly snack to have on the go. Count around 6g of carbs per 100g of olives. Olives are part of the daily Mediterranean diet, one of the healthfullest diets on earth. They’re high in sodium, so if you’re trying to limit your sodium intake have only limited quantities.
It seems boring but it’s not: you can find plenty of variety of olives, with numerous seasonings and fillings (Blue cheese, mackerel, pepperoni, etc.). You can find individual servings of olives that are ideal for traveling in most supermarkets.
Prefer: Kalamata Olives are believed to be the healthiest olives.
Alternative: Tapenade (olive spread) makes a delicious dip for sliced vegetables.
7. Boiled Eggs: Low-carb high-protein snack for everyone
Easy to make, easy to pack, easy to eat, boiled eggs are ideal for diabetic travelers who are craving for a snack in between meals. They’re delicious and filling, and contain merely 0,6g of carbohydrate for one large egg.
If you’re healthy, you can safely eat up to 3 eggs per day. If you have high levels of cholesterol, it’s advisable you limit your eggs intake and/or to eat the white only.
Avoid: fried eggs.
8. Plain Drinkable Yogurt: snack to reduce appetite
There’s around 4g of carbohydrates in 100g of plain non-fat yogurt. That’s little enough for it to make a great diabetic travel snack. Yogurt is known to reduce appetite and hunger, as well as to boost your gut’s health thanks to its high content in probiotics. It’s also a great choice for those trying to lose weight.
The drinkable format is very handy for travels as you won’t need a spoon and can just drink it on the go. You probably won’t be able to take it on the plane though, unless you buy it after security checks.
Prefer: plain yogurts without added sugars, non-fat yogurt, Greek yogurt
Avoid: added sugar, artificial sweeteners and flavors, high-fat yogurt
Alternative: Kefir, milk…
9. Beef Jerky: High protein, Low carb snack for diabetics on the go
Beef jerky is an excellent source of protein and minerals (zinc, iron, vitamin B12, phosphorus) while providing very few carbohydrates. It has a very long shelf life. It’s lightweight, very filling, and easy to carry around.
Beef jerky should be consumed moderately though, mainly because of its high content of sodium. One ounce only provides around 22% of the daily sodium intake recommendation. Excessive sodium impacts your heart’s health and your blood pressure.
Prefer: unsweetened seasonings, unprocessed and homemade jerkies
Avoid: sugary seasonings such as barbecue sauce or honey. Pork jerky contains much more fat.
Alternative: turkey jerky, salmon jerky, lamb jerky…
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10. Cheese sticks: tiny bites to take everywhere!
Cheese is a low-carb food with approx. 1g of carbs for a 28g portion. It’s a great source of protein and calcium too. The nutritional downside is its high content in cholesterol and sodium. The American Heart Association recommends not to eat more than 3 portions of cheese per day (one portion = 42 grams).
You can find all kinds of cheese sticks at any supermarket, so it never gets boring. Usually available in individually wrapped servings, string cheese is a great low-carb finger food for diabetic travelers.
Prefer: Low-fat cheese such as mozzarella, parmesan, goat cheese, feta, blue cheese
Avoid: High-fat cheese such as camembert, brie, cheddar, or processed cheese.
Alternative: Cheese crisps, cheese roll-ups filled with ham or vegetables.
Share your bits of advice and experiences too! What's your favourite diabetes0friendly snacks for travels?