Among my vast collection of healthy snack recipes for kids is a huge section on diabetic snacks for kids too. While a healthy diet for kids is important no matter what their age or health situation, it is particularly important for a child with diabetes.
Quick Diabetic Snacks for Kids
According to Hamilton Health Services, snacks play an even more important role than usual in children who have diabetes as they help manage their blood sugar throughout the day.
Before making snacks for your child you should consider the following:
- Choose snacks that are relatively small but filling.
- Try and keep to a schedule – ensuring snack times are at roughly the same time every day.
- The last snack before bed should ideally contain protein, as this will aid slow digestion preventing low blood sugar and hunger in the night.
Here are a few diabetic snacks I’ve come up with:
Leafy Turkey Rolls
All you need is a couple of lean slices of turkey and spread peanut thinly on each slice. Add a lettuce leaf to each piece and gently roll them up together.
You can add raisins if you like or use cream cheese if your child doesn’t like peanut butter. An important part of establishing a healthy diet for kids is giving them a diverse offering of food and this snack does that and more. It is quick to eat and tasty.
Children with diabetes do not need special food, they just need to have a considered diet says the Mayo Clinic. Where possible switch out bad foods for a healthier alternative, so your child doesn’t feel like they are missing out.
The simplest of diabetic snacks are often the tastiest. Simply place a range of raw vegetables on a plate, cutting into chunks where needed. I usually use carrot, cherry tomatoes, cucumber and bell pepper. Then drizzle either honey or a sweet chilli ranch dressing over the vegetables, don’t go over the top it is purely meant to act as a glaze.
This snack is ideal for children who have a sweet tooth and is most definitely a healthier alternative to candy.
For this diabetic snack recipe I use hard-shell tortillas, which technically act as a basket for the fruit. The fruit you add is up to you, just remember not to go over the top.
I usually stick to strawberries, blackberries and cranberries, as according to Hamilton Health Services these are the lowest in natural sugars and the highest in useful antioxidants. However, here as you can see I used what was available in the fridge: blueberries, apple and grapes. If you add banana pieces to the tortilla shell you have the ideal diabetic bedtime snacks, as banana is a good source of protein.
Cucumber Hummus Discs
This snack is so easy and delicious too. Just cut some cucumber slices, put a tea spoon of hummus on top and add some bell pepper as decoration.
Cream Cheese Cracker Dip
This is an excellent healthy afternoon snack. Just mix some low-fat cream cheese with some chopped up bell pepper and pecan nuts and some pineapple (not from a can as they are often soaked in a syropy sugary substance).
Find some whole grain crackers and let your kid dip the crackers in the delicious dip.
Grains are an important part of a diabetic diet, so this diabetic snack recipe is an ideal way to introduce wholegrain to your child. Simply take some wholegrain crackers, add a slice of pepperoni and an olive and you have an instant mini-pizza. Of course you can switch the ingredients, as long as they are suitable for diabetic snacks you can’t really go wrong. Another favorite is a lean turkey slice and a bell pepper piece.
Getting youngsters interested in the importance of a healthy diet for kids is much easier if you educate them on the different foods available.
Education starts in the kitchen by encouraging them to be hands on. The pizza stacks recipe and all the other diabetic snacks are easy enough for older children to put together themselves. Lay out the ingredients for them and tell them to make something special. This way they get variety and are more likely to try things they may have otherwise avoided.
This diabetic snack recipe will need to be prepared by an adult but they do not take long and are well worth the effort for the reaction you will get from your kids.
You will need thinly shredded low fat cheese, olives, onions, bell paper and two white corn tortillas. Make a basic sandwich using the tortillas and ingredients and then fry lightly in a little bit of olive oil until you notice the cheese has melted.
Then cut into pieces as you would a pizza and serve with a little green salad.
I have always made plain popcorn for the kids because it is low in fat and since one full cup contains just six-grams of carbohydrates, it is ideal for a healthy diet for kids. Simply pop plain popcorn in the microwave.
You should do this yourself, as the popcorn is a little unpredictable in the microwave. While the popcorn is still hot, cover with parmasean cheese shavings – not too much, just enough to lightly cover the popcorn. And that’s it! Your kids have a snack they can enjoy while watching a film and it is ideal for diabetics too.
A healthy diet for kids can actually prevent their risk of diabetes. According to the Mayo Clinic, the most common cause for diabetes in children is obesity.
Although diabetes in children was never really commonplace, cases are increasing as childhood obesity levels are also on the increase. Maintaining good blood sugar levels is important for children, whether they suffer from diabetes or not.
Diabetes and Children – Type 1 and Type 2 Diabetes
Diabetes is caused by the pancreas’ inability to produce enough insulin for ordinary function. There are two different kinds of diabetes, type 1 and type 2 diabetes.
Type 1 diabetes is the most common form with around 90-percent of children aged under 16 suffering with diabetes having this type according to the Net Doctor website.
Type 2 diabetes in children is classified as a chronic condition and is more commonly associated with adults.
Diabetic Snacks That Are No No’s
Just like finding out what to eat, it is equally important to know what NOT to serve your kids if they suffer from diabetes. When coming up with some tasty diabetic snack recipes, I was shocked at some of the things I discovered were bad for diabetics:
- Potatoes – One of the favorite healthy snacks for kids in my house is the humble jacket potato, usually with a generous serving of home made coleslaw or baked beans. However, this is a definite no-go when it comes to diabetic snacks. Potatoes cause a person’s blood sugar to spike quickly, because they are digested into a person’s bloodstream very quickly.
- Ketchup – There probably aren’t many children who don’t eat tomato ketchup. And since I have become more conscious of the importance of a healthy diet for kids, I have mastered a brilliantly healthy home-made ketchup. Regular ketchup contains a fairly shocking amount of sugar and even low-fat, and sadly my home-made version, varieties contain sugar substitutes that can have a serious effect on a diabetics glucose levels.
- Yoghurt – I use yogurts as a snack on their own or mixed with fruit and muesli for something more substantial. Unfortunately, as far as diabetic snacks go, yogurt is also off the menu for much the same reason as tomato ketchup. Yogurts, even fat-free versions, are full of sugar or sugar-substitutes, all of which elevate a diabetics blood sugar levels. Plain sugar-free yogurts can still contain substitutes, so it is better to be safe than sorry.
List of Good Foods to Include in a Diabetic Diet
- Vegetables – Packed full of important nutrients, vegetables should be a staple item in any healthy diet for kids.
- Beans – Full of dietary fiber, beans are a good way to fill out soups or salads. Be wary though of canned baked beans, as some varieties will contain added sugar.
- Fruit – Fruit, like vegetables, is a rich source of nutrients. However, even though fruit is a good source of antioxidants I still couldn’t give them to Philip in abundance. According to the Mayo Clinic, fruit has quite a lot of natural sugar present, so it is best to stick to three servings or less a day.
- Poultry Breast – Unlike red meats, chicken breast is low in saturated fat and therefore does not raise cholesterol levels. This in turn, decreases insulin resistance and makes blood sugar easier to control. If you plan to use chicken in your own diabetic snacks, ensure the pieces are as lean as you can find, or if you can find turkey breast use that instead.
Diabetic Snacks Does Not Mean Losing Taste
During my mission to find suitable diabetic snacks, I learned one important thing – all it takes to make up healthy diabetic snacks is a little bit of extra thought. You can make something tasty for your child without them feeling they have been cheated out of eating something tasty.
As well as learning that diabetic snack recipes can be just as tasty as anything else, I learned diabetics need to eat little and often.
So you may want to start cutting up pieces of appropriate vegetables and fruit and storing them in your fridge in plastic containers.
One of the most important things to remember when looking after a child with diabetes is to not make them feel different. Children are sensitive to how they are perceived by others, especially other children. If you are constantly telling them “you can’t eat that” or “you can’t eat this”, you will find they are much more likely to secretly eat things that could have potentially serious consequences.
The diabetic snacks I have provided here are ideal as alternatives to high-sugar foods, such as sweet popcorn or candy.
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