This week I got an email from a new reader asking for ideas for low-glycemic index snacks for kids.
Never heard of the glycemic index? It has to do with how fast your body releases insulin when you eat a food. Kids (and adults) with diabetes need a low GI diet, but these foods are good for everyone. Here’s a good definition:
High glycemic index (GI) foods release sugar into the bloodstream quickly, causing a rapid rise in blood sugar. Low GI foods release sugar into the bloodstream slowly and do not cause a rapid rise in blood sugar. High GI foods tend to lead to weight gain and are low in fiber. These foods are easy to overeat and encourage a rapid return of hunger.
(Need some help sorting out what’s low-GI and what’s not? Here’s a good list of kid-friendly low-GI foods.)
So I thought I would help our reader friend out! I rattled off a few ideas in an email to her, but here are some more I came up with when I put my thinking cap on. Deb, these are for you!
- veggies and hummus
- nuts and seeds
- string cheese—or cheese of any kind
- celery sticks with sugar-free nut butter
- cottage cheese with salsa
- carrots or jicama with bean dip or salsa
- oven-roasted crunchy chickpeas (vary the spices to your tastes)
- plain yogurt with a little fresh fruit or fruit puree
- air-popped popcorn
- radishes with butter and sea salt
- smoked salmon on lettuce leaves
- peaches or pears mashed into cottage cheese
- crushed cocoa nibs over sliced pears
- turkey pepperoni or prosciutto wrapped around string cheese
- pepedew peppers (from the supermarket olive bar) stuffed with goat cheese or feta
- baba ghanoush with veggies for dipping or whole wheat pita
- instant miso soup — or any soup, really
- halved cherry tomatoes and mozzarella (try boccocini) tossed with pesto
- slices of roast beef smeared with horseradish and blue cheese and rolled up
- sliced turkey wrapped around sour pickles
- hard boiled eggs—or deviled eggs, or egg salad
- veggie chips—the make at home kind (kale chips, carrot chips, zucchini chips, etc.)
- chicken salad or tuna salad in lettuce leaves
- vegetable sushi made with brown rice (or no rice)
- quinoa salad
- roasted cauliflower
- roasted beets with goat cheese
And, actually most fruits and vegetables—with the notable exceptions of bananas and potatoes—have a low GI, so that’s where I’d always start! My toddler and I had a play date this morning and the kiddos ate diced mango, raw broccoli and carrot sticks for a snack—and were asking for more! Never underestimate the power of a dip; find one your kid likes and make fruits and veggies the star of their snack plates whenever possible.
I’m sure there are a ZILLION more. Can you think of some good ones? Let us know in the comments below.