What to Eat on an Empty Stomach if You Have Diabetes?

Living with diabetes means always paying attention to your blood sugar levels because it directly impacts your overall health and well-being. But what do you eat when that familiar rumble in your stomach hits, especially on an empty stomach? If you are looking for the answer to the question What to Eat on an Empty Stomach if You Have Diabetes? then, you are in the right place.

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Finding a healthy and satisfying snack can be challenging.  While you need something to satisfy your hunger, it’s crucial to make a selection that won’t send your blood sugar levels on a rollercoaster ride. So, the key is to find a balance between keeping your blood sugar in check and feeling full until your next meal.

Understanding Food Choices

When choosing food, especially on an empty stomach, it’s important to consider the Glycemic Index (GI). The GI scores carbs from 0 to 100, showing how fast they spike your blood sugar. High-GI foods cause a rapid spike in blood sugar, while low-GI foods lead to a more gradual increase.  For people with diabetes, prioritizing low-GI foods on an empty stomach is crucial. It helps ensure a more controlled rise in blood sugar levels and promotes better overall diabetes management.

Ideal Food Choices for an Empty Stomach

Focus on Protein:

Protein is your friend when it comes to managing blood sugar on an empty stomach. Here’s why: Protein takes longer to digest than carbohydrates, which means it helps you feel fuller for longer and prevents those pesky hunger pangs. Additionally, protein has a minimal impact on blood sugar levels, making it a great choice for people with diabetes.

Examples of Healthy Protein Sources:

  • Nuts (almonds, walnuts) with a small piece of fruit (berries): This combination offers a satisfying blend of protein, healthy fats, and some natural sweetness from the berries. Aim for a small handful of nuts (around 1 ounce) to keep the calorie count in check.
  • Greek yogurt with chia seeds: Greek yogurt provides a good dose of protein with minimal sugar. Adding chia seeds boosts the fiber content, further promoting satiety. Choose plain Greek yogurt and sweeten it naturally with a sprinkle of cinnamon or a few berries.
  • Hard-boiled eggs: A classic and convenient protein option, hard-boiled eggs are a filling snack that’s perfect for on-the-go situations.
  • Cottage cheese: This low-fat cheese is a great source of protein and calcium. Pair it with chopped vegetables for added flavor and fiber.

Healthy Fats:

Don’t shy away from healthy fats! Including them in your snack can help slow down digestion, keeping you satisfied for longer and preventing blood sugar spikes.


  • Avocado slices on whole-wheat toast: Avocado is a superstar when it comes to healthy fats. The creamy slices add a delightful richness to whole-wheat toast, providing sustained energy without a blood sugar surge.
  • Nut butter on celery sticks: Spread your favorite nut butter (unsweetened varieties are best) on crunchy celery sticks for a satisfying and portable snack.

Complex Carbohydrates:

Complex carbohydrates offer a source of sustained energy, making them a valuable addition to your snack repertoire. However, prioritize options with a low glycemic index (GI) to ensure a gradual rise in blood sugar.


  • Oatmeal with a sprinkle of nuts and seeds: This classic breakfast option works well as a snack too. Opt for steel-cut or rolled oats as they have a lower GI compared to instant varieties. Top your oatmeal with a sprinkle of nuts and seeds for added protein and healthy fats.
  • Whole-wheat crackers with cheese: Choose whole-wheat crackers for a source of complex carbohydrates and pair them with a slice of low-fat cheese for a satisfying and balanced snack.

Additional Considerations

Everyone reacts differently to food. These options can be a good starting point, but it’s very important to monitor your blood glucose levels to understand how different foods affect you. This will help you improve your snacking strategy for better diabetes management. It’s also worth mentioning that depending on your medications and overall diabetes management plan, you might need to adjust your medication dosage based on your food choices. To get the best advice for your own needs, be sure to consult a doctor or registered dietitian.


Final words

Choosing the right snack on an empty stomach when you have diabetes is all about balance. Prioritize protein and healthy fats for satiety and control blood sugar rise. Don’t forget the power of complex carbohydrates with a low glycemic index for sustained energy. Regular blood sugar monitoring and staying in touch with your doctor are key to creating a personalized plan that keeps you feeling your best and supports your overall health.

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