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Health & Wellness Resources



The Carb Corner

A well balanced diet is important to help with weight management as well as disease prevention. When choosing the foods you eat, try to achieve a balance between carbohydrates, fats and proteins. Also, pay attention to how often you are eating. These are important considerations when trying to maintain consistent blood sugar levels throughout the day.

According to the Academy of Nutrition and Dietetics there are 3 things to remember when planning for healthy eating:


Eat meals and snacks at regular intervals


Eat about the same amount at each meal or snack


Choose healthy foods

Snacks are good for me?

Having healthy planned snacks between meals can help you to control your portion sizes during meal times and give you an extra boost of energy during the day. Snacks can also help you stay feeling full
between meal times and regulate your blood sugar throughout the day.

Just a few friendly reminders about your snacks: 

  • Pay attention to your portion sizes so your snacks don’t become meals
  • Plan your snacks and be mindful of when you are eating, avoid mindless snacking while driving or watching TV as you can easily overeat 
  • Remember to count your carbs if that is how you manage your diabetes 
  • Have healthy snacks available and pre-portioned to help you with your goals


Healthy Snack Ideas 

It is good to target snacks containing 15-20 grams of carbohydrates between meals. Below you will find some snack ideas from the American Diabetes Association along with the amount of carbohydrates to help you with your carb counting.

Snacks with Less Than 5 Grams of Carbohydrates: 

  • 15 almonds
  • 3 celery sticks + 1 Tablespoon of peanut butter
  • 5 baby carrots
  • 5 cherry tomatoes + 1 Tablespoon ranch dressing
  • 1 hard-boiled egg
  • 1 cup cucumber slices + 1 Tablespoon ranch dressing
  • ¼ cup of fresh blueberries
  • 1 cup of salad greens + 1/2 cup of diced cucumber + drizzle of vinegar and oil
  • 1 frozen sugar-free popsicle
  • 1 cup of light popcorn
  • 2 saltine crackers
  • 10 gold-fish crackers
  • ½ cup sugar-free gelatin
  • 1 piece of string cheese stick
  • 8 green olives
  • 2 Tablespoons pumpkin or sesame seeds
  • ¼ of a whole avocado (~4 g.)


Snacks with About 10-20 Grams of Carbohydrates: 

  • ¼ cup dried fruit and nut mix
  • 1 cup chicken noodle soup, tomato soup (made with water), or vegetable soup\
  • 1 small apple or orange
  • 3 cups light popcorn
  • 1/3 cup hummus + 1 cup raw fresh cut veggies (green peppers, carrots, broccoli, cucumber, celery, cauliflower or a combination of these)
  • ¼ cup cottage cheese + ½ cup canned or fresh fruit
  • 1 cheese quesadilla (made with one 6-inch corn or whole wheat tortilla + 1 oz shredded cheese) + ¼ cup salsa
  • 2 rice cakes (with a 4-inch diameter) + 1 Tablespoon peanut butter
  • 5 whole wheat crackers (or ¾ oz.) + 1 piece of string cheese
  • ½ turkey sandwich (1 slice whole wheat bread + 2 oz. turkey + mustard)
  • ½ cup tuna salad + 4 saltines


Using Everyday Items to Judge Portion Sizes

  • Tennis Ball = 1 piece of fruit
  • Baseball = 1 cup of mashed potatoes, rice, pasta or dairy products
  • Deck of cards or the palm of your hand = 1 serving of meat (3 oz)
  • Pair of Dice = 1 serving of cheese (1 oz)


Understanding carbohydrates can be confusing and is one of the most common questions our dietitians receive. The Carb Corner was created to help our blog visitors learn about the importance of carbohydrates to maintain good health!

We will continue to add to Carb Corner throughout the year. Carbohydrate counting, understanding serving sizes, recipes, snacks, what to eat in a restaurant and menu ideas.


Download the PDF version of this article.


Learn More

Balance, HCR ManorCare’s comprehensive health and wellness blog, supplies readers with healthy ideas throughout the year. The blog is designed to serve as a resource, not only for patients, residents and families, but for anyone who strives to live a healthy, “balanced” life. For more information and help in making healthy choices, go to and sign up to receive our newsletters. If you need help making a health care decision, visit our CareFinder and live chat.