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Bedtime snacks are an important part of managing your child’s Diabetes.
A good and healthy nighttime snack helps maintain stable blood glucose levels throughout the night.
It is very important to choose bedtime snacks that are low in glycemic index and high in fiber.
There is a wide variety of bedtime snack options available. Some healthy choices include fruits, nuts, whole-grain crackers, whole-wheat crackers, and popcorn.
In addition to choosing healthy bedtime snacks, it’s also helpful to know how to make bedtime snacking easier and more enjoyable for yourself and your child.
Lastly, it’s important to be aware of potential risks associated with eating snacks before bed so your child can stay in range with his/her glucose levels while still enjoying bedtime snacking!
Why are Bedtime Snacks Important for Kids with Diabetes?
Bedtime snacks help maintain your child’s blood sugar levels overnight in range, which is an important part of managing Diabetes.
Bedtime snacks can also provide essential nutrients such as fiber, vitamins, and minerals that may be lacking in your child’s diet.
Having your child eat bedtime snacks also helps avoid hypoglycemia (low blood sugar). These snacks when in moderation, also help curb nighttime hunger until breakfast the following morning.
What to Look for When Choosing Bedtime Snacks
When choosing bedtime snacks for your child with Diabetes, it’s important to look for options that are low on the glycemic index and high in fiber.
The Glycemic Index (GI) is a measure of how quickly a food raises blood sugar levels, read more about this here.
Foods that have a GI score lower than 55 are considered low-GI foods, while those that have a GI score higher than 70 are considered high-GI foods.
High-fiber bedtime snacks are also important as they help to keep blood sugar levels stable and can help reduce the risk of developing long-term complications associated with Diabetes, read more here from the Mayo Clinic.
High-fiber bedtime snack options include fruits, vegetables, nuts, whole-grains, and legumes.
It’s also important to be mindful of portion sizes when choosing bedtime snacks for your child with Diabetes as too many calories can lead to weight gain or other health complications.
Some Options for Healthy Snacks for Bedtime
Like I just said above, it’s important to choose options that are low in glycemic index and high in fiber.
Examples of some of the best bedtime snack ideas:
- Apples with peanut butter or another nut butter
- Baby carrots with hummus
- Pumpkin seeds
- Strawberries alone or with other fruits and nuts
- Cherry tomatoes
- Low-fat cheese slice or low-fat mozzarella cheese
- Cottage cheese that can be used as a dip for veggies like celery, baby carrots
- Whole-grain crackers or whole-wheat crackers with peanut butter, nut butter, or hummus
- Low-fat plain yogurt or greek yogurt with berries, or nuts
- Trail mix made with dried fruits, nuts, and seeds
- Air-popped popcorn with light salt
- Smoothies made with frozen fruit or veggies, almond milk, and a scoop of high-protein powder
- Whole wheat toast with nut butter or avocado
- Celery sticks with hummus or peanut butter
- Whole grain muffin with jam or jelly
- Kale chips with olive oil
- Hard-boiled eggs
- Tuna salad with whole-wheat crackers
How to Make Bedtime Snacking Easier and More Enjoyable
Bedtime snacking doesn’t have to be a chore.
Here are some tips to make bedtime snacking easier and more enjoyable for your child (and you):
1. Get creative with your child’s late-night snacks! Try different combinations of fruits, nuts, and seeds, or try something new like vegetable sticks.
2. Prepare bedtime snacks ahead of time to save time. This could be in the form of pre-measured snacks, smoothies, or trail mix.
3. Get your child involved! Have him/her choose their bedtime snack options and create a routine.
4. Make bedtime snacking a bonding time for you and your child. Spend quality time together while preparing the snacks or sitting down to have the snack together.
5. Have variety! Choose options that are interesting and fun, like smoothies or yogurt parfaits.
Potential Risks Associated with Eating Snacks Before Bed
When it comes to bedtime snacks and Diabetes, there is a risk of over-snacking or eating too many calories before bed which can lead to weight gain. (yikes!)
It’s important to measure portion sizes and be mindful of the types of snacks you are choosing.
Read those nutritional labels and their serving sizes. The American Diabetes Association has a post about this, read it here.
Eating snacks that are high in sugar and carbs could cause a spike in blood sugar levels and increase the risk of hyperglycemia (high blood sugar) in your child.
Also, be mindful that having your child eat snacks too close to bedtime can cause indigestion or disrupted sleep patterns, especially if these are too big.
Be mindful of portion sizes when giving snacks, choose a low-calorie snack as too many calories can lead to weight gain, and it’s important to measure portion sizes.
Remember that it’s important to opt for low glycemic index (GI) foods that have a good dose of fiber.
When in doubt, always check with your child’s health care provider or registered dietitian to create an individualized meal plan and bedtime snack routine that best fits the needs of your child.
While every child is different, and you know your kid best, these are some great general tips to keep in mind when it comes to snacks before bedtime.
If your child is struggling with insulin resistance or having trouble controlling their blood sugar levels, making dietary changes and lifestyle changes can have a positive impact.
Try incorporating some of these ideas into your child’s nightly routine and see how they work for him/her. Adding a non-starchy vegetable like carrots or celery is a healthy choice, and adding some dietary fiber to their snack can have a positive impact on their well-being.
What are some of your go-to bedtime snacks for your kids?
What are some of your child’s favorites?