No carb snacks for child
Looking for some no carb or super low carb snack ideas for my 5 1/2 year old. My daughter was recently diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and we are running out of affordable snack ideas. So far we have been sticking to:
Sugar free jello
Does anyone know if I can get no carb/low carb fruit snacks, granola bars, pop tarts, ice cream or other child friendly snack ideas? Before she was diagnosed she was big into fruits for snacks, but now since most fruits have so many carbs those are reserved for meal times. Our whole "healthy eating" vibe has gone out the window as she wants to have snacks without having to get a shot every single time!
Granola bars are tricky. If buying them, look for mostly nut bars The addition of grain-based "granola" and (often) a good deal of sugar makes some of the brands not healthy for your daughter.
My type I nephew likes sugar free popsicles as a summer treat. Instead of fruit snacks, berries are a great substitute. I make a "trail mix" for my husband in a small container consisting of pumpkin seeds, walnuts, almonds and dehydrated strawberries.
Does your daughter like eggs? hard boiled or deviled eggs are a good idea, as are little mini frittatas (a crustless quiche)...you can bake in mini muffin tins.
Pop tarts aren't ideal. Try this...in a low carb mini pita, do a schmear of cream cheese and a layer of sugar free jelly or jam. Or a schmear of cream cheese and some shavings of dark chocolate and a sprinkle of cinnamon.
Here's a low carb granola recipe I found online and have made once. It's very good. For sweetener, I used Da Vinci sugar free vanilla or caramel syrup:
2oz unsweetened desiccated coconut
3oz chopped Brazil nuts
3oz chopped walnuts
3oz chopped almonds
3oz sunflower seeds
4oz melted butter
1tsp ground cinnamon
1tsp vanilla extract
3oz flax seeds
sweetener of choice to taste
Mix together, spread on a baking tray, and bake in a 350F/
for 5-7 mins until brown, stirring frequently. Estimate this as 4.4gms carb for a 2oz serving
Jerky, Garrett Valley turkey stick snacks (like pepperoni), nuts cheese sticks, dips with celery, cucumber and raw carrot slices for dipping, and especially jicama sticks, nice crunch.
Greek yogurt for the protein, dice up some fresh strawverries or black berries, maybe add a bit of vanilla sugar free syrup.
What about plain yogurt with some Splenda added? Full Fat Greek is a pretty decent option w/r/t carbs. I don't know how low you need to go, but Siggi's (Skyr) has come out with yogurt tubes that are significantly lower in sugar than others I've seen, but they still have some - I think 5g per tube, with 6g total carbs. Bell Peppers are a possibility, salami or pepperoni slices, ham rolls with cream cheese...
Seaweed snacks - you can get these in small individually wrapped containers, like at Trader Joe's
Almonds, cashews, macadamia nuts, etc - see what you can get in bulk
Radish slices with butter and sea salt
Pepperoni / salami / etc. slices
Jamon Serrano or prosciutto etc wrapped around raw vegetables
Cucumber rounds and guacamole
Bell pepper strips, sugar snap peas, cucumbers, endives with dip (ranch, blue cheese, etc) - go beyond celery
Deli meat wrapped around a pickle slice and cream cheese
Sliced ham, beef, or turkey wrapped around string cheese
Half a ripe avocado with sea salt
Smoked salmon "sandwiches" made from cucumber rounds and cream cheese
Flax seed crackers dipped in scallion cream cheese
"Fat bombs" - I make an "Elvis" variation with coconut oil, bacon fat, butter, peanut butter, cocoa powder, sugar substitute, maple extract, but google around for recipes, this can help with her need for sweet stuff
Frico - microwaves or baked cheese that gets crispy like a chip
Hot dogs with mustard or low carb ketchup
Deviled eggs or egg salad?
Atkins brand peanut butter cups and faux M&M's might do the trick - might also be cheaper on amazon, in bulk.
Blueberries and raspberries tend not to have a ton of carbs vs other fruits, comparatively speaking. Maybe blueberries and some unsweetened Greek yogurt?
I would avoid the carrots as being too carby.
For the other pastry esque stuff, you'll need to probably make your own low carb versions of her former favorite foods. Here's a few ideas:
Low carb strawberry hand pie
Low carb, sugar free Twix bar
Frozen mini yogurt berry cups:
The best way to have healthy options and save money will be to make more snacks vs buying them. Especially for granola bars or granola.
Zucchini chips are very easy and cheap to make, if you don't have coconut oil swap in olive oil or grapeseed.
Instead of ice cream blend frozen cubes of coconut milk with peanut butter and a splash of regular coconut milk, add cocoa powder for a chocolate version or a bit of vanilla extract for a thick smoothie.
How are chickpeas as far as carbs go? Roasted chickpeas make a nice snack, and homemade can be quite cheap (cook dried chickpeas, then roast in a low oven tossed with a bit of oil and spices of your choice until crispy).
Pickles, and pickled stuff - lots of flavour there.
Beef jerky, pepperoni sticks.
Celery sticks filled with peanut butter.
What about vegetable sticks with some yoghurt based dip - you can do tatziki style dip, or spicy Indian (mix yoghurt and Indian lime pickle), or spinach dip, or lemon and herb. If beans are okay, I like refried beans thinned out with a bit of water as a dip, or homemade black bean dip (with lime juice, cilantro and garlic).
For granola bars, you're probably better off making your own, so you can control the contents - stick to nuts, seeds and shredded coconut, and maybe use peanut butter to help them stick together (normally, it's the sugar that does this).
I don't think there's any such thing as 'low-carb fruit snacks/poptarts' etc. You can make substitutes if you're into cooking from scratch but low-carb snacks lean heavily towards protein, nuts and vegetables rather than traditional 'kid food'.
Natural peanut butter in celery sticks
Cooked chicken (how about drumettes/mini wings, or homemade chicken nuggets 'crumbed' with ground nuts/flax seed)
homemade tatziki dip (greek yoghurt and cucumber) and vegetables
nuts/seeds - sunflower seeds are pretty cheap and tasty
low-carb tortilla roll-up with cheese and lunchmeat or laughing cow and alfalfa
low-carb pita pocket stuffed with tuna/chicken salad/egg salad etc.
Pepperoni (not exactly healthy, but low-carb)
Dannon makes a special 'diabetic yoghurt' in little containers with only 4g carb in each. My husband says they taste pretty good... but at $3 for 4 cups they're far from cheap.
I'll have to try that... we're still in the process of restocking the pantry - we spent $300 on groceries the first week! And we STILL don't have everything I'd like to have... I want to make the trek down to Whole Foods to get all sorts of goodies like coconut flour and soy flour and unsweetened coconut etc. so that I can start trying my hand at low-carb baking. I also need a food processor so I can grind nuts! I've been making do without one for a good five years now because you can do almost everything by hand if you try, but chopping/grinding nuts is not one of them!
My daughter does not eat a lot of "junk food" like pop tarts or fruit snacks, but she has been asking about being able to eat them without carbs so I thought I'd look. But she loves her vegies and ranch dip. We have been pairing all her "carb snacks" with her meals so for the mean time that is okay. I would love to be able to find a carb free ice cream she could enjoy before bed or even a frozen yogart or like sub. I really liked the make your own granola idea. I bake a lot anyway so this sounds like something I may look into!
DH is an icecream-a-holic so we tried all the sugar-free icecreams, and Breyers won the flavour/texture contest hands down. Breyers 'carb-smart' icecream was the nicest and lowest-carb sugar-free icecream we could find and they sell it in individual bars as well as tubs. Edys is good too, especially the caramel, but higher in carbs. In the freezer we have Blue Bunny 'carb-lite' popsicles (9g carb/3g fiber per pop), and Outshine sugar-free fruit bars (6g carb each). I like bars because you don't have to worry about portion-size, it's done for you.
Stay away from sugar free anything, it's almost always made with aspartame which is basically poison. Do your own research, but I wouldn't let my child within a mile of the stuff. For carb free sweetening stick to pure stevia extract. That being said, I make these "muffins/pancakes" for my husband who is on a VERY low/no carb diet at the moment.
Combine in blender:
2oz cream cheese
1/2 tsp cinnamon
1/8tsp baking powder
2 stevia packets or drops if using liquid
At this point you can either pour it into a muffin tin lined with paper or use a silicone one for easy removal, or use it just like you would pancake batter. Serve with a little pat of butter.
Hummus is another good idea, with cut fresh veggies. Beans do have carbs but they are full of fiber and do not spike blood sugar like some other things. You can make it yourself or buy it for convenience.
Although I don't eat them anymore I have fold memories of my mom making "turkey and cheese roll ups", which we dipped in a mayo/mustard mixture. It's just how it sounds, sliced deli meat rolled with a slice of cheddar or American cheese.
For another sweet treat try chia pudding, made with coconut milk and sweetened with stevia or a low sugar (Berry) fruit purée. If you do a search you'll be able to find plenty of recipes. Chia seeds can be pricy but you can find them in the bulk section and you don't need many since they really swell up when combined with liquid.
Hope this helps!
Dealing with a new DM1 diagnosis is a huge adjustment for any families. You have my virtual support!
Have you met with a nutritionist or other professional on your team to help with this? They will have great ideas.
Other kinds of nuts an nori (seaweed) might be appealing as additional ideas.
Hopefully in a few months your daughter will be able to get a pump, which will minimize the need for shots.
Also look for (or order from amazon) dry roasted edamame- 10g carbs, 8g fiber, and 14g protein per serving. Wasabi flavor or lightly salted are both really delicious.
With low carb, I've found it's easier to make/assemble snacks at home. I use the snack size baggies and make a few at a time so I can just grab and throw into a lunchbox or into my work lunch bag.
I make low carb cookies using almond meal instead of flour. They still have sugar in them, but they don't make my sugar go up like it would with a flour based cookie. The recipe I use includes shredded coconut and coconut oil.
I like almond butter and peanut butter with sliced apple.
I'm a fan of jicama, just sliced into sticks and sprinkled with Tajin or eaten as is.
Make mini egg quiche using a mini cupcake tin. My kids love these for snacks and in their lunch box. I use cooked quinoa, beaten egg, green onions, chopped ham, shredded cheese, salt and pepper. Mix it up, pour into a greased muffin tin (really grease it up!) and bake until lightly browned and the egg is just set.
Ham and cheese pinwheels -- roll a piece of ham around a piece of cheese (or with a slice of cheese). You can slice it into rounds and put on a skewer, or eat as-is.
All of your snack suggestions are great snacks but they would unfortunately still require an insulin injection or a bolus for a Type 1 Diabetic (except for the pinwheels - no carbs there). Sounds like the OP is looking for no-carb snacks for her daughter.
To the OP: First and foremost, I'm sorry for your daughter's diagnosis. I know full well that her no-carb choices are so limited. I hope that your daughter will be able to get an insulin pump soon. It definitely makes things much easier - pushing a few buttons rather than taking an injection.
I love deviled eggs and they are super easy to whip up and they are satiating because of the protein. Guacamole with cucumber slices or celery sticks for scooping. Pepperoni slices, beef/turkey jerky, Slim Jims, BabyBel cheesewheels (sometimes kids are drawn in by pre-packaged snacks so the slim jims, little Babybel cheese rounds or Laughing Cow cheese wedges satisfy that desire). Oh, and sunflower seeds in their shell are fun to snack on too.
I use about 1/2 cup of cooked quinoa to make 24 mini quiche. That's only 20g of carbs, so less than 1g per quiche. My sugar goes up maybe 5 points with 2 quiche.
Jicama is only 6g of carbs for a 1/2 cup serving, which I find satisfying and is more than enough for a 5yo girl. The OP stated she gives her daughter carrots and strawberries, which also have roughly the same amount of carbs in a 1/2 cup.
I was only responding because you asked why lynnlato said it would require insulin; she knows because she is insulin dependent.
I don't know if you noticed, but the OP asked for "carb free" which even if not zero carb usually means no added starches.
I love jicama as a snack. Even tried it in gratin in place of potatoes, but the crunch would not bake out of it.
Jicama would require insulin because, as a Type 1 diabetic, any intake of carbs requires insulin. Hell, I drink a cup of coffee in the morning with nothing but stevia (no carbs) and I still need to bolus for that. You are absolutely right though, strawberries and carrots require insulin too. It could be, however, that the OP's child is still producing some insulin at this stage of her disease.
Thanks mcf for your responses!