How to Make Healthy Diabetes-Friendly Snacks for Kids

hummus covered pretzel rods

Pictured Recipe: Hummus-Covered Pretzel Rod

Snacking Strategies for Kids with Diabetes

Snacks often supply a significant share of children’s daily calories, so it’s important the snacks are nutrition-packed. Offer snacks that supply at least one of the following: protein to support growth, complex carbohydrates for slow-release energy, fiber to aid digestive health, and vitamins and minerals to keep the body running smoothly.

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.

 

chocolate peanut butter popcorn

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.

NUTRITION INFORMATION
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.

 

crunchy chocolate raspberry yogurt

Crunchy Chocolate-Raspberry Yogurt

Stir 10 fresh raspberries and 10 Annie’s Chocolate Bunny Grahams into 1/2 cup (4 ounces) plain fat-free Greek yogurt. If kids won’t eat plain yogurt, substitute vanilla fat-free Greek yogurt and add 4 grams of carb to the nutrition information below. (If you want to wean kids off sweet yogurt, mix together half of each kind.)

Kids can help: Count out raspberries and Bunny Grahams (crush with a rolling pin before stirring into yogurt, if desired).

Bonus! Greek yogurt has twice as much protein as regular yogurt.

NUTRITION PER SERVING
125 cal., 1.5 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 81 mg sodium, 15 g carb. (1.5 g fiber, 8.5 g sugars), 13 g pro.

 

saucy pita dippers

Saucy Pita Dippers

Cut a whole wheat pita pocket into four wedges. Warm under broiler or in toaster oven. For dipping, warm 1/4 cup spaghetti sauce in microwave and top with 1 tablespoon shredded reduced-fat mozzarella cheese.

Kids can help: Measure shredded cheese or cut pita pocket using kitchen shears.

Bonus! This snack is a fun way to sneak in whole grains.

NUTRITION PER SERVING
127 cal., 2.5 g total fat (0.5 g sat. fat), 4 mg chol., 449 mg sodium, 21 g carb. (3 g fiber, 4 g sugars), 5.5 g pro.

 

crunchy roasted chickpeas

Crunchy Roasted Chickpeas

Drain, rinse, and pat dry a 15-ounce can of no-salt-added garbanzo beans (aka chickpeas), then spray with nonstick cooking spray and toss lightly with 1/4 teaspoon sea salt. Bake at 425 degrees F about 30-45 minutes until crunchy. Serving is 1/4 cup roasted chickpeas. Need a faster option? Try sea salt-flavor ChickPz from the Nutty Bean Co.

Kids can help: Prep the garbanzo beans.

Bonus! Perfect to try for a fiber-packed snack.

NUTRITION PER SERVING
100 cal., 1.5 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 170 mg sodium, 17 g carb. (5 g fiber, 3 g sugars), 6 g pro.

 

rainbow fruit skewers

Rainbow Fruit Skewers

On 6-inch wooden skewers (cut off pointy ends), string bite-size fruit to represent a rainbow: a fresh strawberry, Cuties mandarin orange wedge, pineapple chunk, kiwifruit wedge, 2 fresh blueberries, and a purple plum wedge. Serving is two skewers drizzled with 2 tablespoons fat-free vanilla Greek yogurt.

Kids can help: String fruit on skewers and drizzle Greek yogurt.

Bonus! An excellent source of vitamin C.

NUTRITION PER SERVING
100 cal., 0 g total fat, 0 mg chol., 26 mg sodium, 15 g carb. (1.5 g fiber, 13 g sugars), 5.5 g pro.

 

chicken taco lettuce cups

Chicken Taco Lettuce Cups

Fill a Bibb lettuce leaf with 1 ounce leftover chopped chicken breast and 2 tablespoons black beans (warmed). Top with 1 tablespoon salsa and 1 tablespoon reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese. Serve with baked tortilla chips, if desired (the chips are not included in nutrition calculation below).

Kids can help: Measure ingredients and assemble lettuce cup.

Bonus! Protein gives snacks more staying power.

NUTRITION PER SERVING
88 cal., 2 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 23 mg chol., 143 mg sodium, 6 g carb. (2 g fiber, 0 g sugars), 10 g pro.

 

cream cheese dip and crackers

Cream Cheese Dip and Crackers

Stir together 1/2 cup reduced-fat cream cheese, 1/4 cup minced green pepper, 2 tablespoons chopped pecans, and 1/4 cup drained crushed pineapple. Serve 1/4 cup dip with 10 Triscuit Minis crackers (the recipe makes four servings). 

Kids can help: Chop or crush nuts with a rolling pin.

Bonus! Sneaking green peppers into the dip supplies added vitamin C.

NUTRITION PER SERVING
162 cal., 8.5 g total fat (3 g sat. fat), 20 mg chol., 208 mg sodium, 15.5 g carb. (2 g fiber, 6.5 g sugars), 3.5 g pro.

 

wild blueberry bagel

Wild Blueberry Bagel

Spread 1 tablespoon reduced-fat cream cheese on a mini whole wheat bagel. Top with 2 tablespoons frozen wild blueberries, partially thawed. Sprinkle with cinnamon. (If your child isn’t a fan of cream cheese, swap it with natural peanut butter.)

Kids can help: Spread cream cheese and sprinkle cinnamon.

Bonus! This yummy treat is chock-full of whole grains.

NUTRITION PER SERVING
155 cal., 3.5 g total fat (1.5 g sat. fat), 10 mg chol., 230 mg sodium, 25 g carb. (3.5 g fiber, 5.5 g sugars), 6 g pro.

 

funleys super crackers and cheese

Funley’s Super Crackers and Cheese

Funley’s Super Crackers hide a superfood vegetable ingredient and are sold in single-serving packets. Our favorite flavor: Cornbread ’n Stuff, which has sweet potatoes tucked inside. Pair a cracker packet with a reduced-fat mozzarella cheese stick.

Kids can help: Stow the cheese with a small ice pack for an on-the-go snack.

Bonus! This easy snack is a good source of protein, iron, and calcium.

NUTRITION PER SERVING
160 cal., 7 g total fat (2.5 g sat. fat), 15 mg chol., 360 mg sodium, 15 g carb. (1 g fiber, 2 g sugars), 9 g pro.

 

kohlrabi slices with ranch dip

Kohlrabi Slices with Ranch Dip

Peel kohlrabi, slice, and sprinkle with dill (fresh or dried). Serve 1 cup kohlrabi slices with 2 tablespoons reduced-fat ranch salad dressing for dipping.

Kids can help: Sprinkle dill onto kohlrabi.

Bonus! Kohlrabi packs a day’s worth of vitamin C.

NUTRITION PER SERVING
96 cal., 3.5 g total fat (0 g sat. fat), 5 mg chol., 300 mg sodium, 15 g carb. (5 g fiber, 4.5 g sugars), 2.5 g pro.

 

mini cheese and turkey melts

Mini Cheese and Turkey Melts

Place three slices of cocktail bread on a baking sheet, then spread 1 teaspoon honey mustard and place 1 ounce natural deli turkey on each of them. Top each with 1 teaspoon reduced-fat shredded cheddar cheese and 1/2 of a cherry tomato, then place under broiler a few minutes until the cheese melts.

Kids can help: Assemble ingredients on the baking sheet.

Bonus! This low-carb snack is high in protein!

NUTRITION PER SERVING
155 cal., 5.5 g total fat (1 g sat. fat), 20 mg chol., 498 mg sodium, 15.5 g carb. (2 g fiber, 3 g sugars), 10.5 g pro.

 

thats it nutrition bar

That’s It Nutrition Bar

That’s It nutrition bars are made with only two ingredients: two whole fruits, which are shown on the front of the wrapper. The low-glycemic (slow-release carbohydrate) fruits support healthy blood glucose and satisfy hunger. Our favorite bar: Apple + Apricot.

Kids can help: Stash bars in backpacks or your car’s glove compartment for snacking emergencies.

Bonus! The sugar in this bar is entirely from whole fruit.

NUTRITION PER SERVING
100 cal., 0 g total fat, 0 mg chol., 15 mg sodium, 27 g carb. (3 g fiber, 23 g sugars), 1 g pro.

 

gorp

GORP

GORP, or Good Old Raisins and Peanuts, is simple as can be, but this blend of sweet and nutty flavors can’t be beat. Mix 1/4 cup unsalted dry-roasted peanuts with 1 tablespoon raisins.

Kids can help: Measure ingredients and distribute in small snack bags for on-the-go munching.

Bonus! Boost sweet flavor with small amounts of dried fruit.

NUTRITION PER SERVING
241 cal., 18 g total fat (2.5 g sat. fat), 0 mg chol., 3 mg sodium, 15 g carb. (3 g fiber, 6.5 g sugars), 9 g pro.

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If your snack-idea list is running dry, check out these easy diabetic snacks packed with nutrients a child’s body needs.
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