Lunch Box Ideas for Diabetic Kids

During childhood, it can be difficult to have a disease like diabetes which makes you feel left out or different than everyone else. However, this does not have to be the case when it comes to lunch time!

From the beginning, you can help your child make the right decisions regarding his or her diabetes management by showing him or her that it can be fun.

By choosing some healthy, yet still delicious, lunch options for your kid, you can make sure that he or she enjoys the meal while managing blood glucose levels.

The Basics

Protein

To start off the lunch, it is important that you pack some protein to help energize your child without raising his or her blood sugar levels. Some great sources of protein include chicken and turkey slices, tuna, low-fat cheese, beans, and almonds. Having 1/4 cup of protein in your kid's lunch is ideal.

Whole Grains

A wonderful source of fiber, vitamins, and minerals, whole wheat products are a great addition to your child's lunchbox. The fiber will help to keep your child feeling satiated for the rest of the school day without spiking his or her blood sugar levels. You can do this by using whole wheat bread for the sandwiches and whole-wheat pitas and tortillas for any salad wraps. Whole wheat pasta and brown rice are other possible options.

Fruits and Veggies

Fruits and veggies are important for any meal, but especially for a diabetic. Green vegetables are ideal, such as celery, spinach, broccoli, or asparagus. Fruits can also be added to the lunch, but because of the high levels of sugar in most fruits, they should be eaten in moderation.

Beverage

With all of the sugary drinks marketed to children, it can seem difficult to prevent your kids from buying them. However, by providing healthier alternatives, your kids can get the delicious taste without all of the sugar. Instead of soda, try sugar-free powdered mixes such as Crystal Light. 100% juice is an easy alternative to fruit juices. Swap out 2% milk for low-fat or skim milk.

In addition, water should be the main drink for your child. Continually encourage your child to stay hydrated throughout the day. Send him or her off with a full water bottle for the day to jump-start this healthy habit.

Lunchbox Examples

Here's a week's worth of potential diabetic lunches:

Monday

  • Turkey sandwich with lettuce and tomato on whole wheat bread
  • 1 cup baby carrots
  • Low-fat or skim milk
  • Extra Snack: 1/2 cup of almonds

Tuesday

  • 1/4 cup tuna, 2 tsp low-fat mayo, and cucumbers in a whole wheat tortilla or pita wrap
  • 1 apple
  • 100% orange juice
  • Extra snack: 1/2 cup of cubed low-fat cheese

Wednesday

  • 2 tbsp hummus spread onto a small, low-carb tortilla. Top with 1/4 of a red sweet pepper, sliced, and 4 chopped cherry tomatoes. Roll up and cut into 1-inch slices. (Depending on the age of your child, 2 of these tortillas may be needed)
  • 1 cup of celery sticks
  • Crystal light or other sugar-free beverage
  • Extra snack: low-fat jello

Thursday

  • 1 slice of veggie pizza. Use a thin, whole wheat crust for the pizza and low-fat cheese. Some delicious topping choices include: Sautéed spinach, bell pepper, mushrooms, olives, tomato, broccoli, and garlic
  • 1/4 cup blueberries
  • 100% grape juice
  • Extra snack: 1/2 cup of fruit mixed in 1/4 cup of cottage cheese

Friday

  • Thermos of chili or low-sodium soup with 1 serving of high-fiber crackers
  • 1 banana
  • water with 100% lemon juice
  • Extra snack: 1-2 cups light air-popped popcorn
  • Extra "Fun Friday" Dessert: 1 tbsp cranberries or raspberries, 1 tbsp toasted almonds (or other nuts) mixed into 6-ounces plain fat-free Greek yogurt

Source: LiveStrong

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