Snacks can help children recharge and manage blood sugar levels between meals. If your snack-idea list is running dry, check out these easy diabetic snacks packed with nutrients a child’s body needs. (Adults will love these snacks, too!)

Marsha McCulloch, MS, RD, LD, 2013

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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

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

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.

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, 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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