Figuring out the best bedtime snacks for diabetes is critical to managing blood sugars.
Anyone with diabetes knows that how your blood sugars start the day is a pretty good indicator of 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 bother reading about the best bedtime snack 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) have 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.
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 should you have for a bedtime snack to lower blood sugar in the morning?
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.”
And, Casey Seiden, MS, RD, CDCES offered more ideas saying, “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.”
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 51 best packaged snacks for diabetes.
13 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!
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!
No Bake Lemon Cheesecake Bites: These no-bake lemon cheesecake bites are delicious and packed with protein and fiber!
Nutreat: Nutreat is a low-glycemic, no added sugar snack loaded with prebiotic fiber and lots of flavor. I’m not sure if I should compare it to nut butter, or some sort of pudding (see the photo below), but either way it’s a creamy delicious low glycemic bedtime snack for diabetes.
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!
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 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.
Avocado toast: Use my 5-minute guac recipe and have a slice of avocado toast on whole grain bread.
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 28 of my favorite bars for people with diabetes. They’d make a great easy bedtime snack for diabetes!
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.
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.
Handful of your favorite nuts: This can be anything from peanuts to walnuts to pecans. They’ll both satisfy and help promote stable blood sugars overnight.
Popcorn and nuts: This is actually my favorite way to make trail mix! I sometimes make this version I posted on Instagram, AND I have a different version in my cookbook, The Easy Diabetes Cookbook!
Fruit + Fat/Protein: This could be anything from an apple with peanut butter to blueberries with cottage cheese!
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!
Curious if you have tried ProGranola® brand granola? Thoughts on it as a snack
Never tried that one before! Will have to look into it!
Great information. How do I get the recipes?
Hi there! All of the recipes are linked 👍 Just click on the one you want to view!
Just wondering if you have tried the midday squares? I am newly diagnosed and looked for a sweet treat that I could have now and again and I found these and it really doesn’t spike my sugar. The peanut butter one is the best imho
How can excess fat cause a delayed spike?
Fat takes longer to digest… so when in moderate amounts is a great thing for a steady blood sugar response. But, if it’s a very high fat meal (>~25g) it can cause blood sugars to stay elevated for longer.