By : Apeksha Thakkar Clinical Dietitian, Certified Diabetes Educator and Nutrigenomic Counselor

Healthy Snacks for Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes mellitus (juvenile diabetes) is the second most common chronic disease in children in India .With Type 1 diabetes, the body does not make insulin. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose, or sugar, enter your cells to provide energy. Without insulin, sugar (glucose) builds up in blood causing high blood sugar (hyperglycaemia). High blood sugar can damage blood vessels, nerves, eyes, kidneys, and heart. Hence artificial insulin is provided through injections and pumps.


Nutrition recommendations for children with type 1 diabetes focuses on keeping blood glucose levels normal, controlling lipid and blood pressure and to prevent acute and long term diabetes-related complications.



Nutritional Considerations in Type 1 diabetes

A diet that not just emphasizes on limiting sugars but provides children with a wide variety of healthy nutrients such as fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat milk while limiting intake of less-nutrient-dense foods (candy, pastries, salty snacks, fries ,burgers etc.) is recommended for children with type 1 diabetes.


Foods that produce lower rise in blood glucose are better choices for children with diabetes, these foods are said to have a low glycaemic index (GI).Examples Green vegetables, most fruits, berries, raw carrots, kidney beans, chickpeas, lentils ,oats, yogurt etc.



Role of Snacks

When it comes to snacking, children always rush towards a bag of chips or a jar of cookies, the impact of which on their  diabetic diet can be huge. If you're not keeping tabs on what they constantly munch on, it's easy for them  to go overboard.

Snacks are essential for children with diabetes not just to curb their untimely hunger pangs but also to keep blood glucose levels as close to normal as possible and to help prevent low blood sugar, hypoglycaemia which can be detrimental to them.

Their snacks should provide a sustained supply of healthy carbohydrate and essential nutrients to complement their activity level and fuel their body and  make  life healthy and as  normal as possible. In short, let them snack healthy without compromising on taste.


Healthy Snacking

Use your imagination to make healthy, attractive snacks for your fussy child.

Homemade wholegrain crackers and cookies. Crackers made of cracked wheat, quinoa, oats ,cookies made with millets (bajra,ragi,jowar) and jaggery  are healthy as these grains help in lowering blood-glucose levels. Let them run around munching on these.

Our desi snacks with a twist

Colourful dhoklas with buckwheat, carrots, spinach instead of the regular ones

Baked khakras with vegetable and sprouts topping and a dash of cheese, your own version of pizza.

Chillas and uttapams, our very own spicy pancakes, add vegetables to them and roll them or  cut them into attractive shapes 

Introduce children to chaats at home. Sprouts or channa or sweet potatoes or fruit chaat .The easiest and delicious way to sneak in vegetables and fruits into their snacks as they are engrossed in  watching their favourite cartoon or finishing their homework.

Frankies and wraps are a favourite snack for kids.  It is easy to hold and the crisp rotis can be filled with a variety of healthy options.


Smoothies and milkshakes, the simplest and tempting way to make them have milk and curd. It keeps them hydrated and full for a long time without a sugar spike. Add a variety of low sugar fruits, berries, nuts, seeds to a glass of milk or low fat yoghurt.

You can even experiment vegetable smoothie with your child! Spinach, cucumber, tomatoes or mint blend them with curd or refreshing coconut water .

Simply Fruits for snacks – occasionally, back to basics are important. Make your child love fruits and vegetables without any disguise. Choose fruits low in sugar such as berries, apples, oranges, guava.


The Takeaway

Managing diabetes in children does not mean taking away their favourite snacks. Just make sure, you replace them with a much healthier and equally tasty option and teach children to avoid unnecessary munching idling before TV.


Snack Recipes for Children with Type 1 Diabetes

Healthy Paneer Rolls (Serves 2)

Rolls are filling, delicious and kids love them. An easy and healthy solution for that untimely hunger pangs of your child. Diabetes does not have to compromise on their taste


For Rotis:

½  cup whole wheat flour 
2 tbsp beetroot grated

½  tsp oil

Salt to taste

For Filling:

½ cup low fat paneer ,cubes
¼ cup tomato ,finely chopped 
1 medium onion ,finely chopped 
¼ cup capsicum ,finely chopped 
1 tsp oil 

1 tbsp chopped coriander leaves

2 tbsp low fat curds, whisked

To be mixed in curd

½ cup low fat paneer,cubes

¼ tsp  turmeric  powder

½ tsp ginger and garlic paste  

½ tsp kasuri methi  

½ tsp garam masala  

Salt to taste 



For Rotis:

Combine the ingredients except oil and knead into soft dough. Cover the dough and set aside for a few

Knead again adding oil and divide into 4 equal portions. Roll the dough out evenly .

Heat a tava and cook each roti lightly on both sides. 


For Filling:

Take a bowl and add curd in it and all ingredients to be mixed with curd and mix well. Keep aside .

Heat oil in a non-stick pan; Add the onions and sauté for a few Then add capsicum and sauté for 2 minutes. Do not overcook .

Add the curd mixture to the pan ,stirring continuously.

Add the paneer and tomatoes and sauté on medium flame for a few minutes until the mixture is dry.

Add coriander leaves and mix well.


How to Proceed:

Divide the paneer filling into 4 equal parts.

Spread 1 portion of the filling in a single row in the centre of the roti.

Fold the two opposite ends of the roti over the filling and start rolling the roti tightly from one open end.

Heat a non-stick tava .Brush the rolls lightly with oil and cook on medium flame from both sides.

Repeat the steps for the remaining dough.

Allow the rolls to cool down and then wrap in an aluminium foil .They are ready to be served or packed in tiffin.

Nutrition Information per Serving 


100 kcal


15 gms


4 gms


3 gms


2.8 gms


Indian Blackberry (Jamun ) Smoothie (serves 4 ) 

Come summer, these little nutrient boosters make a comeback. They are known diabetic friendly and blend into a smoothie, the best treat for children. 



¾ cup black plum ( jamun ) , deseeded and chopped

2 cups low fat yogurt (dahi )

1/2 cup low fat Milk

Honey  as required to add sweetness. 



Combine the fruit and honey in a blender and blend till smooth.

Add Milk and Yogurt into it and blend it again . Remember not to over blend it after adding Milk and Yogurt.

Pour prepared smoothie in a glass, and serve immediately or slightly chilled


Nutrition Information per Serving


105 kcal


11 gms


4 gms


5 gms


1.7 gms

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