Consuming snacks is very important part of every child’s daily meal plan. But this is especially true for kids with diabetes. Most diabetic meal plans will include at least 2 to three snacks daily in order to maintain a balanced diet. Of course this is dependent on the meal plan that as been specified by your personal physician or dietician.
The key to maintaining healthy blood glucose levels in active children is to find the balance between a child’s insulin, food intake, and physical activity. Insulin and exercise lower blood sugar levels, whereas, foods can raise blood sugar levels, especially carbohydrates.
Children who have diabetes food needs change as they grow and become more physically active. Studies from doctors and nutritionist from clinics indicate that snacks for children with diabetes should come from the following food groups: grains, dairy, fruits, and vegetables. Additionally, they recommend using the Food Pyramid for Kids as a reliable guide to understanding food groups and portion sizes.
Creative snack ideas:
- A piece of fresh fruit is always a good idea.
- 3 to 6 cups of low fat popcorn
- A handful of pretzels
- A couple of rice cakes
- Flour tortilla filled with low fat shredded cheese or a slice of lean meat.
- Ants on a log: celery stick with peanut butter.
- English muffin pizza: halve of an English muffin, pizza sauce, and low fat shredded cheese.
Bagel bites: Mini bagel with fruit spread.
Kids with diabetes either have tendency to over snack for fear of low blood sugar levels. Or they try to sneak snacks that they are not supposed to eat. If parents or teachers are not aware of either situation it can cause problems as they try to respond to the child’s elevated blood sugar levels.
That is why it is so important that their meal plans are followed and monitored by all responsible adults. If you find that your child is over snacking or trying to sneak snacks talk to your child about why this is not a good thing for them to do. Always be supportive and seek outside counseling when needed.
Keep these tips in mind:
• When appropriate, ask kids to help make snacks. They’ll be more likely to eat them if they help prepare them.
• Schedule snack times to discourage frequent nibbling between meals. When possible, serve snacks at the table.
• When a child is able to understand, talk about the carbohydrate in snacks and how to check this information on nutrition packages.
• Avoid giving young children snacks they might choke on, such as nuts, popcorn, and dried fruit.
• Children may need a smaller or larger serving size depending on age, activity level, and diabetes treatment plan.
Note: Snack nutrition information was tallied based on online nutrient databases, food labels, and recipe calculations. Amounts specified are to make one serving unless otherwise noted.
Other Helpful Resources:
Chocolate Peanut Butter Popcorn
Sprinkle 1 tablespoon PB2 powdered chocolate-flavor peanut butter over 2 cups piping-hot plain popcorn. Some organic microwave popcorn brands offer varieties without salt or oil. Alternatively, pop plain kernels in a microwave-safe glass popcorn popping bowl or air popper.
Kids can help: Measure the powdered peanut butter and add to popcorn.
Bonus! Popcorn counts as a whole grain.
85 cal., 1 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 36 mg sodium, 15 g carb. (2.5 g fiber, 1.5 g sugars), 4 g pro.
- cucumber hummus sandwiches
- Cucumber Hummus Sandwiches
- Spread 1 teaspoon purchased hummus on a round English cucumber slice and top with a second cucumber slice.
- Make five of these sandwiches per serving.
Kids can help: Spread hummus on cucumber rounds.
Bonus! This snack has just 5 grams of carb.
NUTRITION PER SERVING
47 cal., 2 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 89 mg sodium, 5 g carb. (2 g fiber, 1 g sugars), 2 g pro.
anytime turkey and cranberries
Anytime Turkey and Cranberries
A nitrate-free turkey stick, such as Nick’s Sticks Free-Range Turkey Snack Sticks, paired with 2 tablespoons dried cranberries makes a portable, finger-friendly snack.
Kids can help: Measure dried cranberries.
Bonus! Enjoy for a protein-rich snack.
NUTRITION PER SERVING
140 cal., 2.5 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 33 mg chol., 385 mg sodium, 16 g carb. (1.5 g fiber, 14.5 g sugars), 10 g pro.
- limey mango chunks
- Limey Mango Chunks
- Serve 1/2 cup slightly thawed frozen mango chunks with a squeeze of 1 tablespoon fresh lime juice. Buying frozen
- mangoes saves prep time and guessing about ripeness.
Kids can help: Squeeze fresh lime juice.
Bonus! This refreshing snack packs 40 percent of daily vitamin C needs.
NUTRITION PER SERVING
61 cal., 0 g total fat, 0 mg chol., 0 mg sodium, 16.5 g carb. (1.5 g fiber, 14 g sugars), 0 g pro