All August, the Joslin Blog is highlighting stories about heading back to school with diabetes. This story was originally posted on Oct. 5, 2012.
Our school lunch blog generated some thoughtful comments and questions, one of which we are addressing today. If your child has diabetes and attends public school what can you give him or her for lunch that’s nutritious, carb smart and won’t end up in the garbage or traded for something more tempting?
Depending on the effort you want to put in and the time you have to make lunches, there is actually a wide variety of choices you can offer your hungry child. And with today’s cold packs there is very little you can’t transport to school safely.
Here’s a school-week’s worth of suggestions (plus two bonus menus).
Carbohydrate: 57 grams
— Peanut butter and diet jelly on whole wheat bread (for those institutions that allow peanut butter)
— Baby carrots
— Diet pudding
Carbohydrate: 56 grams
–Chicken salad made with celery, almonds and red grapes in half a whole wheat pita
— Skim or 1 percent milk
— Apple slices
Carbohydrate: 52 grams
— Vegetable Beef kabobs – chunks of sirloin beef interspersed with onions, grape tomatoes and green peppers in a lavash wrap
— A sports bar
— Skim or 1 percent milk
Carbohydrate: 41 grams
— Greek yogurt and fruit parfait
— Celery sticks and julienne red and orange peppers
— Almonds and cashews
Carbohydrate: 55 grams
— Turkey Breast or Roast Beef on rye with mustard
— Small side salad of lettuce, tomato, carrots and peppers
— Chocolate chip or oatmeal cookies
Two bonus lunches
Carbohydrate: 63 grams
— Flavored hummus with whole grain crackers and baby carrots
— Skim or 1% milk
— Cup of grapes and sliced melon
Carbohydrate: 48 grams
— Left over cold vegetable pizza on whole wheat crust
— Low fat fruited yogurt
Most students with type 1 diabetes have to go to the nurse’s office to have their insulin given. It is helpful for the nurse to know the carb count of lunch if the child is using an insulin-to-carb ratio. The lunches above are easy to count and the carb count can be increased or decreased by adjusting the portion of milk or desserts. (And remember to check the carb count of the foods you use to make each meal. The counts in this blog are estimations based on typical carbs in each food.)
And suppose you don’t want to pack a lunch or your child wants to buy lunch? Well, these new school lunch guidelines make it easier to feel comfortable with the food selections in the cafeteria. Kids want to feel normal and it’s important to as much as possible allow a child with diabetes to participate even in activities that involve food.
Having them choose an appropriate lunch from the cafeteria prepares them for making decisions on their own, reinforces carb counting skills and gives you an occasional break from food preparation.