Figuring out the best bedtime snacks for diabetes is critical to managing blood sugars.
Anyone with diabetes knows that your morning blood sugars generally indicate how the rest of the day will go. And, nothing can have a bigger impact on morning blood sugars than the types of bedtime snacks for diabetes you are choosing.
Why learn about bedtime snacks for blood sugar
Whether you have diabetes or not, the idea of a bedtime snack is fairly common to everyone. Who doesn’t love a little something to snack on before they call it a night?
The difference you see though once you (or a loved one) has diabetes, is the “art” involved in figuring out the best bedtime snacks for diabetes. It can have a direct impact on your blood sugars the next morning. And we all know having a stable blood sugar come morning time is important.
What should blood sugar be at bedtime?
Unless your diabetes care team tells you differently, your blood sugar should be less than 180mg/dL before going to bed. Your care team, may even have a lower target depending on your individual situation and age.
Regardless of age though, blood sugar should always be above 90mg/dL before going to bed.
Why does your blood sugar drop at night?
Your blood sugar might be dropping at night for a variety of reasons, but some common causes are:
- Activity just before going to bed
- Too much medication/insulin at dinner time
- Not eating a bedtime snack
- Going too long without eating
How to avoid low blood sugar at night
To avoid dropping low (that’s diabetes talk for experiencing a low blood sugar) in the middle of the night, try having a bedtime snack with complex carbs, protein, and little bit of fat. Talk to your doctor about if you should take medication/insulin for that snack or not and how much. We’ll cover the best bedtime snacks for diabetes below.
Why does my blood sugar go up at night?
Just like blood sugars can go too low at night, they can also go too high at night. A few causes might be:
- Not enough medication/insulin for your evening meal
- Not as active the day before
- Being sick
- Being stressed
- Going too long over night without eating (aka, not having a bedtime snack)
How to avoid blood sugar spikes at night
The best ways to avoid blood sugar spikes overnight are:
- Avoid very high fat foods later in the evening. That high fat can cause a delayed spike in blood sugars (>15-20g).
- Eat a bedtime snack with complex carbs, protein, and a small amount of fat.
- Go for an evening walk after dinner.
What foods keep your blood sugar stable at night?
As I alluded to above, foods that help keep blood sugars stable at night and make for the best bedtime snacks for diabetes are those with:
- Fiber (complex carbs)
- Low amounts of added sugar (or none)
- Small amounts of fat
What is the best bedtime snack for type 2 diabetes?
I asked a few of my favorite diabetes colleagues to weigh in on what their recommendations for bedtime snacks for diabetes are and this is what they had to say…
Fellow dietitian and diabetes expert Rahaf Al Bochi, RDN, LD recommends, “Bedtime snacks can be helpful for some people to bring down their morning blood sugars. I recommend experimenting with a protein and a complex carbohydrate for a bedtime snack and monitoring your blood sugars to see how your body responds. Examples include whole grain crackers and cheese, or greek yogurt and nuts.”
Bedtime snacks for gestational diabetes
Casey Seiden, MS, RD, CDCES, gestational diabetes expert, recommends, “Everyone’s blood sugars respond differently to a bedtime snack, but ideally you should aim for a combination of complex carbs and protein or healthy fat to keep glucose steady overnight. Try snacks like a rice cake with mashed avocado on top, Greek yogurt with blackberries, energy bites that contain oats and nut butter, or a cocoa chia pudding.”
Low carb bedtime snacks for diabetes
Bedtime snacks do not have to be low carb all the time. In fact, as mentioned above, most diabetes nutrition professionals recommend a moderate amount of complex carbohydrates before bedtime. A low carb snack may be appropriate if/when blood sugar levels are running higher than normal.
Is oatmeal a good bedtime snack for diabetes?
Oatmeal, while a carb-rich food, makes a great food when combined with other fiber sources and protein if you have diabetes. Normally when people with diabetes eat high-carb foods, it’s a common concern that they will rapidly raise blood sugars. Oats are a little different though. The fiber in oatmeal slows down digestion, which helps prevent unwanted blood sugar spikes. Learn more about oatmeal and diabetes.
Should people with diabetes eat peanut butter before bed?
The macronutrient profile of peanut butter makes it a great option for people with diabetes. As a dietitian living with diabetes, I regularly use peanut butter to add protein and plant-based fat to my meals and snacks… things like oatmeal!
Peanut butter before bed may supply the protein and fat needed for stable blood sugars throughout the night.
Best bedtime snacks for diabetes
Now that we’ve covered what to look for in bedtime snacks for diabetes and why bedtime snacks can be helpful here are some of my favorite bedtime snack ideas. These are all “homemade” in that they involve a simple recipe and/or a quick combination of foods. For ideas for packaged snacks, make sure to check out my post on the best packaged snacks for diabetes.
12 bedtime snack ideas and recipes for diabetes
- Blueberry Zucchini Muffins
- No Bake Lemon Cheesecakes Bites
- Simple Pecan No Bake Energy Bites
- Low Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites
- Low Sugar Brownie Bites
- Avocado toast
- Low glycemic bar
- Low sugar Greek yogurt
- Peanut butter crackers
- Handful of your favorite nuts
- Popcorn and nuts
- Fruit + fat/protein
Learn more about each of these bedtime snacks for diabetes below.
1. Blueberry Zucchini Muffins
Nothing makes me more excited than a fluffy blueberry muffin. Make these zucchini blueberry muffins ahead of time and freeze for an easy bedtime snack during the week!
Gluten-Free Blueberry Zucchini Muffins
2. No Bake Lemon Cheesecake Bites
These No Bake Lemon Cheesecake Bites are delicious and packed with protein and fiber!
No-Bake Lemon Cheesecake Bites
3. Simple Pecan No Bake Energy Bites
If you’re looking for the perfect quick and easy bedtime snack, these Simple Pecan No- Bake Energy Bites are a great option with only 4 ingredients and no added sugar!
Simple Pecan No-Bake Energy Bites
4. Low Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites
These Low Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites are the perfect bedtime snack… they’re very easy to make, vegan, and no-bake. O, and the secret little ingredient adds fiber and protein!
Low Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough BitesView Recipe
5. Low Sugar Brownie Bites
These Low Sugar No Bake Brownie Bites are a close spin off of my Low Sugar Chocolate Chip Cookie Dough Bites (one of the most popular recipes in the history of my blog!) They are perfect for a quick chocolate bedtime snack.
Low Sugar No Bake Brownie BitesView Recipe
6. Avocado toast
Use my 5-minute guac recipe and have a slice of avocado toast on whole grain bread for fiber and plant based fat.
5-minute guacamole for oneView Recipe
7. Low glycemic bar
There are a TON of bars on the market. Everything from energy bars to protein bars to snack bars. This post has 29 of my favorite bars for people with diabetes. They’d make a great easy bedtime snack for diabetes!
8. Low sugar Greek yogurt
Greek yogurt offers both protein and carbohydrate. If you’re not into plain yogurt with fruit on top, try a flavor with less than 5-6g added sugar/serving.
9. Peanut butter crackers
What’s more classic than some peanut butter crackers before bedtime? For some reason, this was always what I wanted as a kid. Opt for whole grain or grain free crackers and unsweetened peanut butter.
10. Handful of your favorite nuts
This can be anything from peanuts to walnuts to pecans. They’ll all satisfy and help promote stable blood sugars overnight.
11. Popcorn and nuts
This is actually my favorite way to make trail mix! It provides fiber and protein in portable form.
Homemade Popcorn Trail Mix with Blueberries, Walnuts, Seeds & Chocolate
12. Fruit + Fat/Protein
This could be anything from an apple with peanut butter to blueberries with cottage cheese! Fruit plus a fat/protein provides blood sugar stabilizing benefits.
More bedtime snacks for diabetes
And, if you’d like more bedtime snack ideas for people with diabetes, make sure to order a copy of my cookbook The Easy Diabetes Cookbook!
This post has been updated since being published in January 2021.