There was a time when diabetic children had very restrictive diets that included specialized foods and no sugar at all. Today, children with diabetes can thrive on a well-balanced diet of the same foods the rest of the family eats, with regular snacks during the day and a moderate amount of sugar..
The key to a healthy diet for a diabetic child is to know what is in the food she eats. Carbohydrates, fat, and protein should be balanced according to a doctor's plan--generally about 50 percent carbohydrates, 30 percent fat, and 20 percent protein. Many parents of diabetic children monitor the diet with carbohydrate counting or other methods to balance food and insulin intake. Because it is important to know what is in a diabetic child's meals, lunches often come from home.
The sandwiches below can be packed with raw carrots or celery, fresh fruit, and baked veggie chips or crackers for complete meals. When available, the diabetic dietary or carbohydrate counting exchanges are listed.
Chicken and Cole Slaw Wrap
The Mayo Clinic suggests this easy wrap. This variation uses a whole wheat flour tortilla for extra fiber.
Combine 1/2 cup bagged shredded cabbage with 1/8 cup reduced fat coleslaw dressing. Add 2 1/2 ounces canned white meat chicken and 2 ounces crushed pineapple. Chill. Spread on tortilla, fold the bottom, and roll.
Diabetic dietary exchanges: 2 starch, 1 fruit, 1 nonstarch veg, 2 meat, 1 fat
Nemours suggest this wrap, which keeps well in a lunchbox: spread 2 Tb light cream cheese on a whole wheat tortilla and layer with one slice each lean/low sodium turkey and ham, a slice of swiss cheese, 1 leaf of iceberg lettuce, and 2 slices of tomato. Fold up bottom and roll.
Carbohydrate counting exchange: 2 carbohydrates
D Life offers this unusual kid-friendly sandwich: combine 1 Tb chunky no salt peanut butter, 2 Tb mashed banana and 1 tsp honey in a bowl. Lightly toast two 8 grain frozen waffles, cool, and spread with peanut butter mixture.
Diabetic dietary exchanges: 1 starch, 1 1/2 fat, 1/2 very lean meat.
Make Your Own Lunck Kit
Diabetic Lifestyle suggests making your own diabetic-friendly lunch "kit," similar to the pre-packaged kits that are full of salt, fat, and msg: cut up cubes of low-fat cheese and cooked leftover chicken breast, plus baby carrots in a small container, with a plastic bag of crackers and a thermos of low-fat milk.