3 Healthy Kid Snack Hacks and Diabetes Friendly Recipes

by: Matthew Naliborski
oats and berries in baking pan

Eating a healthy and balanced diet is an essential skill for all families, especially if your child has been diagnosed with Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes.

Since April of 2020, there has been a rise in pediatric Type 2 diabetes cases. Joe DiMaggio Children’s Hospital has diagnosed over 100 children so far this year with Type 1 and Type 2 diabetes, while last calendar year the system diagnosed only 81.

Matthew Naliborski, RD, CSOWM, LDN, CDE, clinical nutrition coordinator and diabetes care and education specialist said, “We've had significantly more diagnosis of Type 2 diabetes, and we are seeing them come in more critically than what we've seen in the past.”

Naliborksi wants to spread awareness about just how important it is for kids to eat healthy.

“Diet is extremely important. It is one of those essential skills and behaviors to develop in order to promote long term good health. It is one of the survival or essential skills that we teach them from the start, and it can certainly evolve over time.”

 

Every family's going to have a starting point on where they begin with their journey on modifying their nutrition habits.

 

But where do families start when faced with a nutrition overhaul? A child’s favorite meal of course, SNACKS!

Three Healthy Kid Snack Hacks

Here are three tips to building a healthy snack for your children so they stay well-fueled for fun and wellness.

Hack 1: Your Kid’s Snack Should Be the Size of Their Fist

When you are choosing a snack for your child, portion size is really important. It should be approximately the size of their fist or smaller.

Hack 2: Build Your Snack For Balance

When choosing a snack for your child, what you pick is as important as how much you serve. Try to choose a fruit, vegetable or whole grain and include a protein or healthful fat, such as:

  • Eggs
  • Guacamole
  • Hummus
  • Lean meat
  • Low-sodium deli meat
  • Nut butters

Try to aim for 15-20 carbohydrates per snack, and use food labels or the “Calorie King” app to look up nutritional information.

Hack 3: Make it Fun!

Get your kids involved in the snack making process and have some fun together in the kitchen. Include them in choosing the ingredients and allow kids to help you fix their snack. It can get messy, but it can also be a lot of fun and encourage children to eat their snacks.

Here are four healthy snack ideas to make with your kids.

Berry Baked Oatmeal Bars, recipe by Eating Bird Food.

berry oatmeal bars

These are full of antioxidants, fiber and vitamin C.

Ham and Cheese Pinwheels, recipe by Ruffles and Rain Boots

ham cheese pinwheel sandwich

Use a whole grain wrap for fiber and try to add some different colored veggies inside like spinach leaves and tomato for vitamins and phytonutrients.

Broccoli Cheese Cups, recipe by The Lazy Dish

broccoli cheese cup

These are a great option because they are low in calories but high in vitamin C and fiber.

Raspberry Peach Popsicles, recipe by One Lovely Life

raspberry peach popsicles

What child doesn’t love popsicles? Puree their favorite fruits and if necessary you can add a touch of stevia for healthy sweetness.

Which snack will you try first? Stay healthy, but have fun. Happy snacking!

About the Author

Matthew Naliborski, RD, CSOWM, LDN, CDE, is a clinical nutrition coordinator and diabetes care and education specialist at Joe DiMaggio Children's Hospital. As a a Certified Diabetes Educator, he believes building respectful and trusting relationships is integral to diabetes care.

Disclaimer: The ideas and opinions presented in this blog post do not reflect the ideas and opinions of Memorial Healthcare System.