Improve your health by learning
Diabetes- Nutrition
Diabetes- Healthy Coping
Diabetes Blog
< Go back

Diabetes-Friendly Holiday Appetizers

Brooke Marsal, MS, RD
September 1, 2021
March 6, 2023

If you have diabetes, it can be tricky to manage the holidays. Celebrations are usually filled with carbohydrate-rich foods and more frequent drinking that can easily throw your blood sugar out of whack. This holiday season may cause more fluctuations between high and low blood sugar than you would like. And if there's alcohol involved, the change  in glucose may be more erratic but you may not even feel it.

There are some great appetizers around the holidays that are either low in simple carbohydrates or are protein-rich to stabilize glucose. So check out the ideas below to reduce fluctuations in blood sugar and still enjoy some awesome treats this holiday season!

Here is a list of some quick easy snacks and treats that can help keep blood sugar levels stable.

Roasted and Salted Nuts or Seeds

Nuts and seeds are a wonderful diabetes-friendly snack. They are high in fiber, protein, and healthy fats and super low in carbohydrates. For a fun holiday treat, you can roast pumpkin or squash seeds with olive oil and salt. Pumpkin seeds are high in magnesium and zinc. Magnesium assists with blood glucose control while zinc is a powerful ally to the immune system.

Nuts: almonds, walnuts, pecans, cashews, macademia nuts, peanuts, pumpkin or sunflower seeds, or a mix!


  • Pumpkin spice: cinnamon, nutmeg, cloves, splenda or stevia sweetener (optional)
  • Eastern: ginger, garlic, sesame oil, 5 spice blend, cayenne pepper or paprika (optional)
  • Greek: oregano, dill, dried garlic, parsley, basil, thyme, marjoram, black pepper
  • Seasoning mixes: garam masala, cajun, creole, italian, herbs de provence,

Here is a quick easy recipe for roasted pumpkin seeds, but if you want to roast most other nuts or seeds, roasting at 450 degrees for around 15-20 minutes should be plenty!


Crostini is a wonderful moderate-carb appetizer choice to help control blood sugar levels while drinking. Crostini is usually made with sliced, toasted baguette topped with a variety of meats, cheeses, and either roasted or fresh veggies. 2 small slices of crostini gives you about 15 grams of carbohydrate, the recommended amount to keep blood sugar levels stable for a snack. Don't overdo it, though. Otherwise you'll need to reduce carbs at the next mealtime. Here are some toppings to put on your toasted bread. Combine protein with your veggies for an even more stable glucose.

Proteins & Fats

  • Smoked salmon, or lox
  • Cooked shrimp
  • Cured meats
  • Cheese
  • Greek yogurt with added flavors (Lemon garlic pepper, sun-dried tomatoes, minced chives or green onion, and more!)
  • Hummus
  • Olive tapenade
  • Guacamole or mashed avocado
  • Roasted, pureed nuts with spices (check the recipe above)


  • Mashed, roasted eggplant
  • Fresh diced tomato or veggie mix
  • Roasted vegetables

Try this goat cheese crostini recipe.

Veggies and Bean Dip

Bean dips are a great food choice for blood sugar control. Beans are high in fiber and have a nice dose of protein, which typically slows the rate at which the carbohydrates in the beans are absorbed. . Another advantage of bean dips is that they are made with heart-healthy fats such as avocado, olive oil and tahini. These fats can help regulate cholesterol levels and further slow down the rate at which carbohydrates are absorbed, leading to better blood sugar control. Try pairing the bean dip with veggies to avoid unnecessary carbohydrates and get an extra dose of vitamins.

My mom makes this fabulous 7-layer bean dip for every Christmas, New Year, and sometimes Thanksgiving party. If there are leftovers, I'll grab some for lunch. Here are the 7 layers (refried pinto beans (bottom), fat free sour cream, pico de gallo salsa, guacamole, lowfat shredded cheese, sliced tomatoes, and green onion/cilantro/jalapenos on top).

Deviled Eggs

Deviled eggs are a great diabetes-friendly holiday appetizer. Although they don’t contain any carbohydrates, the healthy protein and fat help slow the absorption of any other carbs you might be eating along with your eggs. Just make sure they aren’t the only thing you snack on throughout the evening. Pair them with some carbohydrate to make sure glucose doesn't go too low.

The holidays are a time of celebration, which means enjoying your favorite foods and drinks with the ones you love. But you don't need to put your health in the back seat for this one. Holidays can be delicious, AND healthy. Don't give up!! Keep your healthy resolutions alive!

We're here to support you.

Contact our call center at 1-866-899-3998. Mon-Fri, 6AM-5PM PST