Diabetes-Friendly Foods: 16 Super Bowl Snacks Everyone Can Enjoy
We asked a team of nutrition experts and chefs to give us their recipes for delicious and diabetes-friendly snacks everyone can eat during the Super Bowl.
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A typical super bowl can last around four hours. That could mean a lot of sitting and eating, up to 2,400 calories, says Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, RD, a certified diabetes educator in New York City. “My key recommendations are to never go to any party starving or you will overeat everything,” she advises. She recommends having a small meal that’s heavy on protein, like eggs or tuna fish, before the party starts. “It will digest slower and keep your stomach full to help curb those cravings when the wings show up.” Pace yourself and follow this diabetic meal plan.
Healthier spinach dip with Greek yogurt
Creamy and packed with satisfying protein, this Healthier Spinach Dip with Greek Yogurt recipe, created by Christy Brissette, MS, RD, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Chicago, is easy to make and will fill you up. And this Super Bowl recipe has an extra bonus: Spinach is especially beneficial for those with diabetes as it contains protective steroids that keep blood sugar levels stable. (That’s probably why it makes our list of healthy foods people with diabetes will love.) Malkoff-Cohen recommends serving dips with crackers made from cheese like Parm Crisps and Moon Cheese.
1 cup frozen spinach (150 grams)
2 garlic cloves
1 tsp sea salt
2 cups fat-free Greek yogurt
2 tbsp lemon juice
1 tbsp za’atar
1/2 cup chopped parsley
3 tbsp chopped mint
Directions: Defrost the frozen spinach in the microwave. Add the garlic cloves to a mortar and pestle with the salt. Crush until you get a paste. If you don’t have a mortar and pestle, you can mince the garlic and crush it using the side of your knife. Put the yogurt, lemon juice and za’atar in a medium bowl. Add the garlic paste and mix. Stir in the fresh herbs, reserving a tbsp to sprinkle on top. Serve with whole-grain pita, pumpernickel bread, seed crackers or vegetable sticks.
Edamame wasabi dip
This is a tasty dip for those who like a little kick. “Healthy fats, protein, and complex carbohydrates in this low glycemic recipe will help keep you feeling balanced during the big game—and the next day, too,” says Nicole Visnic, a clinical nutritionist at Vejo, in Los Angeles. Find more healthy foods for diabetics here.
2 cups shelled edamame
1/4 cup olive oil
1 tablespoon tamari
1 teaspoon ginger powder
3 tablespoons wasabi
3 garlic cloves, minced
Directions: Place all ingredients in a food processor. Process until all ingredients are combined and form a creamy mixture. If you prefer a thinner dip, add 1 to 2 tbsp of water. Serve with crudités, like red pepper slices, broccoli spears, and celery sticks.
Usually, pizza is no-no because the crust is full of carbs, but now you can pop a Real Good Pizza Co. frozen pizza in the oven and enjoy a slice. The crust is made from all-natural chicken breast and Parmesan cheese, with just 4 grams of carbs and 25 grams of protein per serving. Or opt for a do-it-yourself pizza with a cauliflower crust—you’ll find pre-made ones in the freezer section of Trader Joe’s and Whole Foods. (And yes, diabetics can eat cheese.)
Sour cream and onion kale chips
If you like sour cream and onion potato chips, you’ll probably love this Sour Cream and Onion Kale Chips recipe created by Brissette. This antioxidant and anti-inflammatory recipe is packed with vitamin A and vitamin C and according to research, kale is considered among the best foods for people with diabetes.
1 large bunch of kale
2 tbsp olive oil
2 tbsp dried onion
1 tbsp dried garlic
2 tbsp nutritional yeast
1 tsp salt such as Himalayan Pink Salt
2 tsp pepper
Directions: Preheat your oven to 300 degrees F. Line 2-3 large rimmed baking sheets with parchment paper. Take the leaves off of the stems of the kale and put the stems into a freezer bag in your freezer for making vegetable stock later (note: save all your veggie scraps for this purpose and don’t waste any food). Tear or cut up the kale into pieces. Rinse them in a salad spinner and spin dry. In a large bowl, combine the kale with the oil. Massage the oil into the kale so all leaves are coated. Add the remaining ingredients and toss to cover. Spread the kale out on the baking sheets in a single layer. Bake for 12 minutes, rotate the baking sheet, and bake for about 12 more minutes or until the kale gets crispy. Let the kale cool for about 5 minutes and then dive right in! You can store the kale chips in a container but note they get less crispy with time. This is one snack you want to enjoy right away.
“Jerky is a great option because it has no carbs and comes in many flavors. Be sure to read ingredients lists and pick ones that have no nitrates or MSG and with minimal ingredients,” says Malkoff-Cohen. Don’t forget to check the sodium and sugar grams too. (She recommends Krave brand.) For the crunch factor, try a protein-rich and low-carb option like 4505 Chicharrones pork rinds. They are all-natural and humanely raised.
Roasted eggplant dip
Eggplants rate low on the glycemic index chart and won’t raise blood sugars as quickly as other foods that are carb-heavy. This dip by the Unleavened Fresh Kitchen, fits the bill. “For dipping, avoid carby veggies like corn, peas, carrots, and beets. Try tomatoes, string beans, broccoli, mushrooms, peppers, and celery,” advises Malkoff-Cohen.
2 eggplants, split and grilled to light char
2 tablespoons tahini paste
½ tablespoons capers
2 tablespoons chopped red onion, roasted
4 tablespoons flat-leaf parsley, chopped
Extra virgin olive oil, lemon juice, kosher salt and fresh cracked, black pepper to taste
Directions: Scoop out the flesh of eggplant with a spoon and combine the first five ingredients in a food processor, then pulse to semi-smooth. Add remaining ingredients in small amounts until dip reaches desired consistency and flavor.
Make your own healthy popcorn with this recipe from Jason Roberts, executive chef at The Bistro at Manly Pavilion in New South Wales, Australia. “It’s a tasty snack loaded with flavor and texture and easy to make,” he says. Here are 9 reasons why popcorn is actually good for you.
4 cups of popped popcorn
3 egg whites
2 tablespoons sugar
A good pinch salt
½ teaspoon ground cumin seeds
1 tablespoon coriander seeds (just cracked, not ground)*
Chili flakes (optional)
Directions: Preheat oven to 350°F. In a medium-sized bowl, beat egg whites and a pinch of salt until foamy, then add in sugar and beat until well-incorporated (but don’t overmix). Fold the popcorn through the whites along with the spices and place them into the oven on the baking sheet for around 40 minutes.
Note: Crush the coriander seeds roughly in a mortar and pestle, or on a flat bench under a saucepan.
This is a delicious snack for diabetics with its healthy fat and fiber to keep blood sugars stable. It was developed by Maru Dávila, an integrative nutrition health coach in La Jolla, California, and author of The Mexican Food Diet, Healthy Eating That Feels Like Cheating. This will be a crowd-pleaser on game day.
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
1/8 teaspoon turmeric powder
1/8 teaspoon celery salt
1/8 teaspoon garlic powder
2 peeled garlic cloves
2 organic, chopped Roma tomatoes
2 tablespoons, chopped onion
1/2 cup fresh cilantro
1/2 Serrano chili, chopped
Directions: Use a potato masher to mash the avocado. Add lime, salt, and spices to the smashed avocado. In a small pan, roast garlic on both sides. Chop roasted garlic, tomatoes, onion, cilantro, and Serrano. Add ingredients to the avocado mix. Taste for seasoning and serve with crunchy veggies like celery, zucchini, carrots, radishes, jicama, or cucumbers.
Just three ingredients make this appetizer, created by Lahana Vigliano, holistic nutritionist and owner of Thrival Nutrition in Austin, pretty impressive. Good news: Prosciutto has less fat and calories than bacon, and asparagus is a natural diuretic, along with these foods that help reduce belly bloat.
2 Bunches asparagus
5 packages prosciutto
Directions: Preheat the oven to 375°F. Line a baking sheet with parchment paper. Cut off the thick bottoms on each asparagus. Cut each prosciutto slice in half lengthwise. Take each halved prosciutto slice and wrap around the asparagus. Wrap as tightly as you can, trying not to overlap. Repeat until all asparagus are wrapped. Place wrapped asparagus on the baking sheet. Drizzle evenly with avocado oil. Bake for 15 minutes. After 15 minutes, turn the broiler on high and broil until prosciutto is crispy (a couple of minutes). Watch the oven when you’re broiling, everything cooks fast and can easily be burned.
Ranch cauliflower bites
Cauliflower has many similarities to its other colorful cruciferous cousin, broccoli. It’s a good source of fiber and just one cup of cauliflower provides as much as 70 percent of the daily recommended amount of vitamin C. These delicious bites are created by Charmaine Jones, MS, RDN, LDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist and founder of Food Jonezi in Washington, D.C.
1 large head of cauliflower
2 large eggs
1 packet ranch seasoning mix
1/2 cup low-fat shredded sharp cheese (plus some to sprinkle on top of bites)
1 teaspoon chives
Directions: Preheat oven to 375°F. Pulse cauliflower in a food processor until it forms large crumbs or looks like snow. Place cauliflower in a towel and wring out any excess water; cauliflower should be dry as possible. Pour cauliflower in a large bowl. Add eggs, 1/2 cup cheese, ranch dressing, and chives. Take out a non-stick muffin tray and fill each one about 2/3 full. Top with a sprinkle of cheese. Bake for about 20 minutes or until lightly golden. Garnish with chives.
Hot wings and chicken fingers
“Wings are OK, but it depends on the sauce; think spicy not sweet,” says Malkoff-Cohen. She recommends Frank’s Red Hot Sauce because it has no carbs. Vigliano created these Hot Wings with just four ingredients: butter, hot sauce, chicken wings, and tapioca flour. Prefer a boneless Paleo and gluten-free option? These Paleo Chicken Fingers created by Brissette down below are coated in almond flour and baked to crispy perfection.
2 boneless, skinless chicken breasts
1/2 cup almond flour
1 tsp paprika
1 tsp garlic powder
1/2 tsp chili powder
1/8 tsp salt
2 large eggs
1/8 tsp black pepper
Directions: Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Cut the chicken breasts into long strips about 2 inches wide. In a medium bowl, combine the almond flour and all ingredients up to the salt and pepper. In a small bowl, crack the eggs and whisk with a fork. Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper or spray with olive oil. Dip each chicken strip in the egg and then dip in the almond coating. Place on the baking sheet so the strips aren’t touching. Bake for about 20 minutes or until the strips turn golden brown. Test for doneness using a meat thermometer (should read 165 F). Serve with your favorite dipping sauce or hot sauce. Enjoy!
Wash it all down
“Opt for no-calorie beverages, so you’re not drinking your calories,” advises Malkoff-Cohen. Water is an option for sure, but one you may find boring. While you may pucker at the idea of drinking vinegar, LIVE Drinking Vinegars are uniquely refreshing because they’re infused with organic juices, apple cider vinegar, and coconut vinegar but still much lower in sugar than soda. Another beverage alternative is cold brew Southern Breeze Sweet Tea bags. In less than five minutes, you can sip on a variety of fruity flavors like raspberry and peach. Or, you can indulge in a decadent Vanilla Cardamom & Bourbon Hot Chocolate recipe from Kristen Link, an integrative holistic health coach in New York City. “It features real cacao which has many antioxidants and uses low-glycemic coconut palm sugar,” she says.
16 ounces milk of choice (almond milk, whole milk, coconut milk, etc.)
1 vanilla bean, inside scraped out (or 1 teaspoon pure vanilla extract)
6 green cardamom pods, cracked slightly with the edge of a knife
6 tablespoons healthier hot cocoa mix
3 ounces bourbon, divided
Homemade marshmallows (I use this recipe using honey)
Directions: In a small saucepan, combine the milk, vanilla and cardamom pods and bring to a low simmer over medium-low heat. Stir in the hot cocoa mix and whisk well to remove and lumps. Let simmer another minute after it is fully combined. Remove the cardamom pods with a slotted spoon or strain through a fine-mesh sieve if there are a lot of small pieces. Pour 1.5 ounces of the bourbon into each of your mugs or glasses. Pour in the hot chocolate and stir well. Top with marshmallows and enjoy!
“If you’re drinking alcohol, liquor (vodka, brandy, whiskey, tequila, gin) is your best bet since it has no carbs,” says Malkoff-Cohen. “Serve it with ice and a no-calorie splash like diet lemonade.” Or try a Sugar-Free Extra Spicy Moscow Mule, recipe below. Prefer a little wine? Sip penalty-free with Dry Farm Wines. They offer artisan red and white wines that are sugar-free, low in sulfites and alcohol.
1 1/2 ounces vodka
1 1/2 ounces lime juice
4 ounces Brooklyn Crafted Sugar-Free Extra Spicy Ginger Beer
Directions: In a Moscow mule mug, combine the listed ingredients and pour over ice. Stir and garnish with a lime wedge.
The dessert table is usually a carb-spiking nightmare, but if you make these treats, you can still satisfy your sweet tooth. For example, these Puffed Quinoa Peanut Butter Squares with Chocolate Chips, created by Brissette, are a healthier version of Rice Krispies Treats. Don’t miss these other diabetic-friendly desserts, which are super tasty and easy to make.
3/4 cup natural peanut butter smooth
4 cups puffed quinoa
1/2 cup dates pitted
1/4 cup water
1/2 tbsp pure vanilla extract
2 tbsp chocolate chips (dairy-free if needed)
2 tbsp unsweetened shredded coconut
Directions: Add the peanut butter to a medium saucepan over medium heat. Put the dates and water in your food processor or a good blender. Pulse until combined. Add the date mixture to your saucepan. Put the quinoa in a large ceramic or glass bowl. Mix in the contents of your saucepan. Stir in the chocolate chips and shredded coconut. Line an 8×8 baking pan with parchment paper. Pack your quinoa mixture evenly into the pan and put the pan in the fridge for at least 10 minutes to set. Take the bars out of the fridge and using a sharp knife, cut into 9 squares (3×3). Wrap or keep in an airtight container for up to 5 days (if they last that long) Enjoy.
In the mood for something chocolatey and creamy? This “dessert is low in carbs and sugar and can help keep blood sugar stable and metabolism healthy,” says Dávila. By the way, you should know about these symptoms of high blood sugar.
2 ripe avocados
6 tablespoons raw cacao powder
1/2 cup unsweetened almond milk
2 teaspoons pure vanilla extract
1/8 teaspoon sea salt
2 to 3 Tablespoons liquid stevia (adjust to your taste)
2 teaspoons raw cacao nibs (optional)
Directions: Combine all ingredients in a blender or food processor until completely smooth. Use less milk for a thicker mousse and more for a thinner/creamier result. Sprinkle with raw cacao nibs. Serves four.
- Deborah Malkoff-Cohen, RD, a certified diabetes educator in New York City
- Christy Brissette, MS, RD, president of 80 Twenty Nutrition in Chicago
- Nicole Visnic, clinical nutritionist at Vejo, Inc in Los Angeles
- Jason Roberts, executive chef at The Bistro at Manly Pavilion in New South Wales, Australia
- Maru Dávila, integrative nutrition health coach in La Jolla, California and author of The Mexican Food Diet, Healthy Eating That Feels Like Cheating
- Lahana Vigliano, holistic nutritionist and owner of Thrival Nutrition in Austin
- FoodData Central: “Cauliflower”
- Charmaine Jones, MS, RDN, LDN, a registered dietitian nutritionist and founder of Food Jonezi in Washington, D.C
- Kristen Link, an integrative holistic health coach in New York City