Pack a Diabetes-Friendly School Lunch Like a Pro with These Tips

Finding a balance between healthy and tasty is difficult enough when packing school lunches, but when your child has diabetes, the task can be even more daunting. Fortunately, by focusing on fun, healthy and delicious foods, you can pack a nutritious school lunch your child is excited to eat.

Think Low Glycemic Index

School lunch box with sandwich, vegetables, water and fruits

Keeping a healthy balance between carbohydrate intake, physical activity and insulin is key to maintaining target blood glucose levels in children with diabetes, according to Diasan Corporation. However, it’s important to focus on carbohydrates with a low glycemic index, because these foods digest more slowly and produce a slower rise in blood glucose levels. Some examples of low glycemic index foods include whole grain bread, green vegetables, popcorn and fruit. Avoid foods high in simple carbohydrates, such as candy, white bread, fruit juice, raisins and other dried fruit.

Include Your Child

mother and her child preparing healthy food and having fun

Including your child in the lunch-packing process means she is more likely to eat it, according to Diabetic Lifestyle. Have your child choose a healthy main meal option, such as sliced turkey, lettuce and tomato on whole grain bread, sautéed chicken and vegetables with rice, or chili with beans and vegetables. Your child may then pick two sides, such as vegetables with hummus, low-fat yogurt, a hard-boiled egg, string cheese, or a piece of citrus fruit or stone fruit. Focusing lunch around lean protein, low glycemic index carbohydrates and healthy fats provides the child with a steady energy source throughout the day.

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Pack a Water Bottle

little school boy with books, apple and drink bottle

Because children with diabetes have higher than normal blood glucose levels, they are at high risk for dehydration, states U.S. News. Dehydration can cause a sudden drop in blood pressure, causing a child with diabetes to feel unwell during the school day. To help reduce this risk, pack a refillable water bottle in the child’s lunch as a gentle reminder for them to stay hydrated.

By focusing on fruits, vegetables, lean protein and low glycemic index carbohydrates, children with diabetes can enjoy a healthy and delicious lunch that keeps their blood sugar levels steady. Even with the healthiest diet, children with diabetes still require insulin, which can be very costly. Visit The Diabetes Site, and sign a petition to tell the Food and Drug Administration to approve a less expensive generic insulin option.

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