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Nov 13, 2007 10:13 AM

Food Gifts for a Diabetic?

In the past I have always given a candy related gift basket to a family of 6 for the holidays. One child has recently been diagnosed with type 1 Diabetes. Can anyone recommend a gift basket that would be safe for the entire family?

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  1. Don't have a lot of experience with type 1 Diabetes (am type 2). You want to get something that everyone can enjoy, perhaps a fruit, nut and candy gift basket? If planned carefully, the child should be able to eat fruits or nuts and the others will still have their candy. You are very nice to be so considerate.

    1. Why don't you contact the family to find out what the child likes (and can eat) and include it in the basket? Depending on the family's feelings about it, you probably can still include some candy for the non-diabetics. For food basket assemblage, in general, I like going to Harry and David and seeing what snacks they carry. There might be some savory snacks that would work well. Just be careful to not carb-overload the basket. If you're near a Trader Joe's or a Cost Plus World Market, they also have interesting snacks and dried goods.

      I live with an adult Type 1 who has a set style of management for his diabetes, so I'm speaking from a viewpoint that might or might not work for a child. Some food-basket-esque stuff my BF would like would include nuts, savory crispy snacks (chips, veggie crisps), cheese, dips. He would still enjoy a little bit of candy, but that doesn't work for everyone. He also dislikes "diabetic-safe" chocolates because they tend to have laxative effects, depending on the sweetener used.

      Edited to add: I was writing this the same time Diane in Bexley's post posted, so sorry if I sound a bit redundant!

      2 Replies
      1. re: geekyfoodie

        I have a friend with a child (now 13) with type 1 diabetes. He's been diagnosed for a couple of years and apparently can eat a lot of things, just not in large quantities and I think he has to count carbs for his insulin pump. If it's a recent diagnosis, though, they may not really have the situation under control and may still be in the adjusting stage. I agree with the advice to speak to the parents. Harry & David does have some sugar-free products, but apparently a lot of these products (not just H & D's) use some chemical that has an unpleasant effect on the intestinal tract if you eat more than a handful, as mentioned by geekiefoodie. Think things that are not carb-loaded, as carbs convert to sugar.

        1. re: geekyfoodie

          FWIW - I like the fruit from Harry & David, but am not a big fan of their snacks/sweets, etc. Leonidas makes some lovely chocolates that are sugar free - maybe with malitol? - but, of course, I'd check first to make sure that that is ok.

        2. Hi, I'm a Type 1 diabetic. You're so thoughtful to research this to ensure he feels special too.

          As another poster suggested, I like the idea of the fruit, nut and candy basket. It's healthy with a little something for everyone. You could include some sugar free candies too. They have sugar free Twizzlers, Jelly Bellies, Tootsie Rolls, etc.

          3 Replies
          1. re: lynnlato

            Thanks for all of your help! I haven't had that great of an experience with Harry & David, does anyone have any other vendors they like?

            1. re: ihearteats

              Quite honestly, I'm a fan of Trader Joes. Their Marcona almonds are to die for, and I also like their Pasadena Pecans (w/ cranberries, orange & black pepper) and my fave is their Salty, Sweet & Nutty Trek Mix (natural & honey roasted peanuts & cashews w/ roasted almonds and little bits of peanut brittle...yum). Dean & DeLuca has some nice stuff too, albeit overpriced.

              1. re: ihearteats

                They don't carry fruit, but Costplus World Market carries a wide variety of gourmet foods from around the world, and they sell baskets as well, if you want to put together your own basket. That's worked well for me in the past, and it's much cheaper than buying a pre-assembled gift basket. You can always stop by whole foods or wherever you buy produce to get some fruit to add.

            2. Yet another type 1 diabetic weighing in.

              First, it's nice of you to be concerned -- the holidays can be tough for kids with diabetes.

              Second, I would say that, whatever you end up including in the basket, your goal should be to take the child's needs into account without singling him out or making a big deal of it. Kids with diabetes are often made to feel "different," and, depending on how old the child is, that can be hard. Since the basket is for the family, I would try to make the contents as universally appealing as possible -- nuts, fruit, maybe some non-food items, nothing obviously "diabetic." After all, it doesn't hurt anybody, diabetic or not, to get less refined sugar, especially around the holidays.

              There are all sorts of schools of thought about managing diabetes, so I would second the idea of asking the parents for guidelines. Some diabetics don't make a special effort to avoid refined sugar -- I don't, I focus more on total carbs and what form they're in (a glass of orange juice will affect my blood sugar much quicker than a dish of ice cream). It's best not to make assumptions about what the child will be able to eat, much less what he'll want to eat!

              2 Replies
              1. re: jlafler

                You may want to check out the Figi's and Swiss Colony websites.They have sugar free treats and cookies,etc. for people like diabetics.
                My dad had it,but he had type 2.I would order some things for him from either one.Even the family would try the cookies which were good.Just check with the parents as to what the child likes and can have.

                1. re: jlafler

                  Amen to jlafler about not singling the child out! Although I am not diabetic, my dad is type 1 and we ate the same as he did. I was at a school party and got trail mix and a banana instead of what the other kids had. I'm sure I owe a lot of character building to those experiences, but this child has enought to deal with without feeling any weirder. It is very kind and thoughtful of the OP to go to the trouble of finding out how to integrate this gift for everyone's enjoyment.