For a child with diabetes, snacks offer a way to manage blood sugar between meals. But when it comes to snacking, many people think of common carb-rich foods like pizza, candy bars, nachos and French fries.
Try to keep these foods off limits and help your child choose low-carb options that will not raise their blood sugar or require them to take insulin.
A low-carb snack should have no more than 15 grams of carbohydrates per serving. Examples include:
- Non-starchy vegetables and dip
- Light or plain yogurt
- Unsweetened dry cereal
- Crackers and peanut butter or low-fat cheese
- Low-fat string cheese or cottage cheese
- A half sandwich (1 slice of bread) made with peanut butter and sugar-free jelly or with lean meat and low-fat cheese
Foods with less than 5 grams of carbs per serving are considered “free” foods.
However, serving sizes are important. If your child eats 4 servings of a food containing 5 grams of carbs, they will consume a total of 20 grams of carbs, which raises blood sugar.
Examples of “free” foods include:
- Meats and cheeses
- Eggs (hard boiled, scrambled, etc.)
- Nuts like almonds, walnuts and peanuts
- Non-starchy vegetables like carrots, celery and broccoli
- Salad with a tablespoon or less of salad dressing
- Low-sodium broth
- Unsalted sunflower seeds
- Sugar-free-gelatin or ice pops
When it comes to young children, you may have to think outside the cookie jar to come up with low-carbohydrate options that are appealing.
Try these ideas:
- Use small cookie cutters to cut cheese and fruit into fun shapes.
- Make the classic snack called “Ants on a Log,” which consists of raisins marching across a celery “log” stuffed with peanut butter or cream cheese.
- Transform regular yogurt into frozen pops by spooning fruit and low-sugar yogurt into paper cups and freezing them. When the mixture is partially frozen, insert a large pretzel stick to serve as a “holder.”
- Create funny-face snacks by placing slices of hard-boiled eggs, lunch meat or cheese on top of crackers. Design goofy faces on top with sliced black olives, peas, carrot pieces, nuts and so forth. Use your imagination.