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Type 1 Diabetes Snack List: 4 Choices To Consider

Written and medically reviewed by Lisa Booth, RDN
Posted on March 22, 2024

Finding snacks that your child with type 1 diabetes enjoys and that also help manage their condition can be challenging. Type 1 diabetes happens when the body doesn’t make enough insulin to control blood sugar levels. Eating healthy foods can help keep blood sugar in balance.

Treating diabetes early on helps prevent eye, kidney, and heart complications later in life. It also supports energy levels, so children can run and play.

Make sure to check with your child’s physician before making any major dietary changes. Working with a registered dietitian and health care provider can help develop a personalized meal plan that meets their nutritional needs and helps maintain stable blood sugar control.

Below are four snack ideas that will hopefully please the entire family.

1. Veggie Snacks With Hummus

Carrot sticks, cucumber slices, bell pepper strips, or celery sticks served with a tablespoon or two of hummus is a great way to provide vitamins, fiber, and protein. The human body can’t break down or digest fiber, so it helps slow down the absorption of glucose into the bloodstream, preventing sharp increases and dips.

When you look for hummus, aim for brands with minimal or no additives (check the nutrition label). Or better yet, make your own hummus at home. There are many simple recipes available online.

Get your kids involved by encouraging them to wash and slice the vegetables however they like, such as in sticks or slices. Children can create better associations with new foods by first exploring them, which can potentially make them more open to trying them.

2. Ants on a Log

Ants on a log is a classic childhood snack and a healthy option for those with type 1 diabetes. The name describes raisins that are lined along a stick of celery with peanut butter, resembling ants marching along a log.

Peanut butter boasts abundant plant-based protein and healthy fats, and it has a low glycemic index. A low glycemic index means peanut butter won’t cause your blood sugar to spike. Opt for unsweetened peanut butters with minimal additional ingredients. If possible, avoid peanut butter with hydrogenated oils, as eating these and trans fats have been linked to heart disease.

To make ants on a log, first wash the celery and remove the leaves, then cut it into two or three pieces. Fill the celery with a thin layer of peanut butter and place a single line of raisins across.

Get creative with your child and try out some variations of this classic recipe. You might try “ants on apples” by replacing the celery with apple slices, or “ants on an orange log” by slicing carrots into sticks and spreading the peanut butter on one side, then topping with raisins. As one myT1Dteam member shared, “Peanut butter and crackers was my go-to for snack. And apples or strawberries.”

3. Fruit and Greek Yogurt

Greek yogurt is high in protein, which is important for balancing a type 1 diabetes diet. Choose the unsweetened, plain versions because the fruit types may contain more than 20 grams of sugar. Add sweetness and color by adding a small handful of fiber-rich fresh berries like strawberries, blueberries, or raspberries.

To make this snack even more fun for the kids, try slicing fruit and making fruit skewers with a yogurt dip, or freeze the yogurt and fruit for healthy popsicles.

4. Turkey Roll-Ups

Turkey roll-ups are a fun variation on a sandwich. Use a tortilla or low-carb flatbread with your choice of fillings. You can also swap the turkey for tofu or lean roast beef. Add veggies or cheese for a dairy-free option.

If the daily carb count is already too high, omit the tortilla and wrap up slices of turkey or chicken with lettuce, tomato, and a slice of cheese for a low-carb, protein-rich snack.

Guidelines for Type 1 Diabetes Snacks

If you want to whip up some of your own snack ideas, there are some general suggestions for type 1 diabetes-friendly snacks. Aim for a balance of carbohydrates with protein or healthy fats to help your child manage their blood sugar levels and make it to meals without risking hypoglycemia (low blood sugar levels).

When it comes to exact carb or macronutrient counts, you’ll need to consult your child’s physician. A dietitian can also help plan snacks according to their needs. For instance, if you’re looking for a snack with about 15 to 30 grams of carbohydrates, try including an apple, a slice of bread, half a banana, and a half cup of plain yogurt.

Mix and match a tasty snack by picking one serving from each of the following groups.

Fiber-Rich Carbohydrates

  • Complex carbohydrates — Whole grain bread, brown rice, quinoa, barley, whole wheat pasta, oatmeal
  • Legumes — Beans, lentils, chickpeas, split peas
  • Vegetables — Celery, broccoli, carrots, tomatoes, leafy greens
  • Fruits, preferably whole fruits instead of juices or dried fruits, which can be higher in sugar and lower in fiber — Berries (strawberries, blueberries, raspberries), apples, pears, citrus fruits

Natural Protein

  • Lean meats — Skinless poultry, such as chicken and turkey, and lean cuts of beef, pork, lamb
  • Fish — Salmon, mackerel, trout, sardines
  • Dairy products and eggs — Greek yogurt, cottage cheese, low-fat cheese, eggs
  • Plant-based proteins — Tofu, tempeh, edamame, lentils, beans, chickpeas

Connect With Others

You’re not alone in your path to finding safe and healthy snacks for your child with type 1 diabetes. On myT1Dteam, the social network for people living with type 1 diabetes and their loved ones, more than 1,400 members come together to ask questions, give advice, and share their stories with those who understand life with type 1 diabetes.

What are some of your favorite snacks? What recipes or food combinations are you excited to try out? Comment below or post on your Activities page.

    Posted on March 22, 2024

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    Lisa Booth, RDN studied foods and nutrition at San Diego State University, in California and obtained a registered dietitian nutritionist license in 2008. Learn more about her here.

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