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.
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.
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.
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.
Here's a week's worth of potential diabetic lunches:
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
1/4 cup tuna, 2 tsp low-fat mayo, and cucumbers in a whole wheat tortilla or pita wrap
100% orange juice
Extra snack: 1/2 cup of cubed low-fat cheese
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
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
Thermos of chili or low-sodium soup with 1 serving of high-fiber crackers
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