5 Fun Back-to-School Lunch Ideas for Your Type 1 Kiddo
Back-to-school can mean back to planning meals and snacks for many parents across the world. When your little one has type 1 diabetes (T1D), meal-prepping inevitably requires more thought. Here is some lunch and snack inspiration for your family during the 2022/2023 school year!
Get creative with bento-style boxes for your child’s lunch! Kids usually love bento-style boxes because they include a variety of foods. You and your little one can have fun with the element of surprise while using them!
Bento boxes typically contain three to five compartments, one of which may be a small circular compartment to hold hummus or dressing for dipping vegetables.
You can easily pack a variety of yummy items to prevent your kiddo from getting bored, including a lunch meat roll-up, orange slices, string cheese, carrots, celery, olives, nuts, a cookie, a small handful of M&Ms, or yogurt—-the list goes on. There are many ways to keep things fun yet simple enough to fit your and your child’s busy lives.
Wraps are a great way to switch up the ol’ sandwich routine! Cutting them into pinwheels makes them even easier to eat and fun. There is a wide variety of wrap styles and flavors to choose from at many grocery stores for your family, whether you prefer a low-carb, protein-packed option like Egglife egg white wraps, a classic tortilla wrap or a fun dessert-style wrap!
Here are some ideas to get you started:
- Reimagined PB & J Lunchbox classic: Egglife original wrap with peanut butter, and strawberry jelly and chia seeds
- Turkey roll-up: Egglife everything bagel wrap with cream cheese, sliced turkey and cucumber for a refreshing lunch
- Low-carb quesadilla: Egglife original wrap with shredded cheese—add shredded chicken for some extra protein!
- Vegetarian delight: thinly-sliced zucchini, tomato, mozzarella cheese and hummus on an Italian Egglife egg white Italian style wrap
- Low-sugar dessert wrap: Egglife sweet cinnamon wrap with hazelnut spread, strawberries and banana slices to satisfy your sweet tooth
- The Midwest classic: Flour tortilla wrap with cream cheese, ham and pickle
Do-it-yourself trail mix
Creating a trail mix together can be a fun meal-prep activity with your little type 1 warrior! When building a snack like this from scratch, children can feel empowered to learn about nutrition and how different foods may impact their blood sugar levels.
Creating your own trail mix recipe together is also a fun activity for the whole family—everyone gets to match their own taste buds. Try different pairings of some of these popular trail mix ingredients and see what works for your child as a school-day snack:
- Chocolate chips
- Dried fruit (mango, pineapple, etc.)
- Corn nuts
- Roasted chickpeas
- Toasted coconut
- Sesame sticks
Smoothies can get messy, but if your child can manage them, they can be another great way to incorporate key nutrients into school-day lunches or snacks! Proportional on-the-go containers make smoothies more doable for grade-schoolers nowadays.
To make this a slow-digesting satisfying meal, make sure to add some source of fat and/or protein to any fruit combination.
- Frozen strawberry and banana and Greek yogurt
- Blueberries, raspberries and strawberries and peanut butter
- Pineapple and orange and ½ scoop of chocolate protein powder
- Cherries and ½ scoop of vanilla protein powder
(Remember that protein powder can raise blood sugar even if it’s low-carb due to the protein being converted into glucose. Don’t be surprised if your child needs a small dose to cover the protein.) And don’t be afraid to sneak in a bit of spinach if your child is missing out on greens lately. With all of these other delicious ingredients, they’re unlikely to taste added spinach.
Popcorn is a simple but effective crowd-pleaser! It is an easy on-the-go snack for you and your kiddo. With all the flavor varieties available today, you’re sure to find something your type 1 warrior will enjoy as a snack at school.
Popcorn will also stay fresh in your child’s locker for a while if they happen to forget it’s in there!
The bottom line: snacks + lunches vary among all children with T1D
There is no one-size-fits-all lunch or snack routine for children with type 1 diabetes to follow. Children with type 1 diabetes don’t need to eat strictly low-carb or low-sugar diets. With the right amount of insulin, carbohydrates are part of every growing child’s nutritional needs! Every child’s diabetes management and nutrition plans look different.
Most importantly, keep in mind that your child needs the freedom to explore and to choose their own food rather than feeling severely restricted—which can negatively impact their future relationship with food. Through trial and error, you and your child are bound to discover the best snacks and lunches that suit their cravings, nutritional needs and blood sugar management style.
Diabetes educators can be helpful with any nutrition questions that may arise for your family as you head back to school.
Happy snack and meal-prepping!
Educational content related to back-to-school nutrition is supported by Egglife, an active partner of Beyond Type 1 at the time of publication. Beyond Type 1 maintains full editorial control.