Need Ideas: Pocket-Sized Snacks for 7-Yr-old with Hypoglycemia

Updated on November 05, 2008
A.R. asks from Salem, OR
33 answers

My daughter is 7 years old and starting 2nd grade. She has recently been diagnosed with Hypoglycemia, and needs to have some kind of snack or food about every 2 hours. Between breakfast, morning-snack, and lunch all of the bases are pretty much covered at school EXCEPT in the afternoon between lunch and the end of the school day. I need to figure out some kind of snack she can take to school and keep in her pocket so that no matter what they are doing at 1:30 or 2:00 p.m., she can stop and have that snack quickly, and without disrupting the class. I have tried hard candies but she doesn't like candy very much. Any ideas on snacks that she could fit in her pockets, that won't melt or crush? All I can come up with is nuts and that will probably last about a month before she'll get sick of them for a while.

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L.M.

answers from Seattle on

if she wears a jacket to school the pocket is larger and you could put something like a Zone bar.. i carry one in my coat pocket all the time... even if it gets smashed a little still taste good... and has good protein too..
lenc

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S.L.

answers from Portland on

Fruit leather? Any possibility she could put something in her backpack or keep in the office at school? The school really should be able to help you out with this. She shouldn't have to keep food in her pocket all day!

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K.K.

answers from Seattle on

My kids love fruit rollups, but they can be noisy as the cellophane crackles. Look in the granola bar aisle and you will find boxes with gummy fruit snacks, they are sweet and fruit-flavored and small, so she can slip them in her mouth without being too noisy. Maybe crackers, string cheese, small cut-up pieces of lunch meat or beef jerky...depending on what the protein/carb combo you are looking for is.

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D.L.

answers from Seattle on

Hi A.,

Peg M.'s advice is spot on. I know some of the others mean well, but they suggested many high-glycemic high carb foods which will do more harm than good in the long run. I too was diagnosed with hypoglycemia in my 20's and I had years of getting light-headed and dizzy if I didn't eat every 2-3 hours. I have since changed my eating style to include much more protein, good fats, and natural whole foods and I no longer have that problem. I'm 42 now and healthier than ever. I wish someone had clued me in years ago! No one has mentioned this, but you might try jerky if she likes it because it is a high-protein snack. Just try to get the stuff with no nitrates. (I find it at a food co-op but you might also try Trader Joe's or a health food store). Good luck to you!

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H.D.

answers from Portland on

Hi A.,

I have blood sugar issues and am extremely sensitive to sugar. One premade snack I swear by is the Nectar bars made by Clif. They are a "low-glycemic index" food and are dried fruit and nuts. The cranberry, apricot and almond bar is my favorite and my 17 month old son loves them as well...he insists on a few bites of mine. I always pack one in the diaper bag. They are a great "get me through" snack until I can eat a meal, and I have noticed no sugar-surge or crash with this food.

I also pack raisins and nuts for longer trips, or some other kind of dried fruit and nut combination. Although they have the advantage of being portable and not needing refrigeration, I've found that carbs like crackers (sweet or savory) and breads tend to have a much higher glycemic index than one would think. I tend to crash with these.

If you are interested in more information regarding carbohydrates, I found "A Week in the Zone" by Barry Sears pretty easy to understand and use. Or look up The Zone site on the web. It's amazing how the understanding of which carbohydrates are more desirable (less affect on blood sugar) or less desirable has had on my energy level and my mood. Far less likely to be grouchy at the end of the day. Many experts claim to the contrary, but sugar (and it's other forms, corn syrup, cane juice, etc) DOES affect moods and overall energy levels. I've worked with kids for too long not to notice the spike in energy after a "graham crackers and juice" sort of snack.

Controlling one's sugar intake and eating smart can make a huge difference in how a family functions, and protects everyone's health. What do bad bacteria and viruses feed on? Sugar. Less sugar in your diet and your family stands a better chance of fighting off colds, etc. :)

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P.M.

answers from Portland on

I developed hypoglycemia in my 20's, and found that eating anything fruity or sugary, or consisting of highly-processed grains, would give me a quick boost, but then I'd crash again pretty fast. My current doctor is convinced that hypoglycemia can evolve into Type 2 diabetes (which I developed 4 years ago). The theory is that eating quick carbs for an energy boost prompts an over-active pancreas to produce more insulin than is actually needed, thus lowering blood glucose too much, and eventually exhausting the pancreas. Avoiding high carb foods, according to that understanding, extends the life of the pancreas while avoiding snack-induced hypoglycemia.

The snacks that worked best for me then, and still work now without raising my blood sugar dangerously, are protein, fiber, and fat based. You might try alternating nuts, as you mentioned, sunflower or other seeds, string cheese, and olives. And here's my favorite weird snack: make a thin omelette and cut it into squares, like brownies. Add finely-chopped veggies and/or cheese if you wish. This will keep safely in her pocket (in a plastic bag, of course) for a couple of hours after lunch, is quick and quiet to eat, and is really yummy.

I've also recently read that chocolate is digested slowly, so a sugar-free chocolate might give a sustained boost. I haven't tried this yet to see if it works, but I love to eat nuts and chocolate together, so I'm sure I'll get around to it. In the name of science, you understand.

It's interesting that your daughter doesn't much like candy. I've never liked many candies or other highly sweetened food, either. I sometimes wonder if this has been my body's way of protecting its precious pancreas.

I just Googled "low carb snacks" and got quite a list of sites to try. Good luck!

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N.Z.

answers from Portland on

As someone with Hypoglycemia I can tell you that candy is a big no-no, anything with a high sugar content should be avoided. Nuts and whole grains are your best option. Trailmix, chex mix (made without the rice and corn chex). I eat a lot of peanut butter because of nut allergies. Cheese sticks, also work great.
Talk with her teacher and find out what can be done for this needed snack time.

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A.B.

answers from Portland on

I think the advice about granola bars or little baggies of trail mix are the best. You should do some research on the best foods for kids with hypoglycemia though, to make sure that she's getting what she needs the rest of the day. Pure sugar is NOT a good idea, because it metabolizes very quickly and will lead to a high, then crash... To the best of my knowledge, the only time sugar should be used in order to bring someone's blood-sugar level up is when they're very low (like ready to pass out), and then it has to be followed immediately with protein in order to stabilize things. Keeping a constant level with proper nutrition is a much better idea and will keep your daughter feeling at her best.

I know my kids don't usually like pre-made trail mix, so I make my own in large quantities before we go hiking or camping, etc. using bulk ingredients from New Seasons. They have a bunch of different flavors of granola, which I use as a base, then I add dried cranberries and some other fruit, cashews (one of the only nuts that my kids like), sunflower seeds, sesame sticks and a sprinkling of M&Ms. You can make a lot all at once, and it keeps forever and doesn't have any "crushing" issues. I let each of my kids pick out what they want in their mix, and then they look forward to snacking on it.

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N.W.

answers from Eugene on

"Lara bars" are just dried fruit and nuts, no added sugar. I carry one or two with me all the time because of the low-blood sugar thing. The do flatten out in my purse but they still taste fine. Costco has them in 3 flavors by the box and I've seen them at Tjoes and the supermarket sold singly.

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M.C.

answers from Seattle on

a few suggestions small box of raisins, string cheese, Trader Joe's has those all natural fruit roll ups (fruit leather), . Not sure if this would work but maybe one of those 100 calorie packs (they are pretty small) a couple baby carrots, pretzels (the little round ones are pretty sturdy), Yogo balls, my husband grandma always carries a little baggie of jelly beans for her diabetes, dried fruit, little stick of beef Jerky, slice of pita bread with peanut butter or humus in it wrapped up...just a few idea I hope some of these are appropriate these are just some things that I have seen other do primarily my hubby's grandmother.

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B.A.

answers from Richland on

One thing that my aunt always makes that I think is delicious is little yogurt bites. If you have a dehydrator, you just dump some yogurt on a fruit leather type tray and spread around until it's about 1/4" thick. Dry until it has hardened enought to just be a little tacky to the touch. Then roll up like you would fruit leather and cut into little chunks. Yum!! I know it can also be done in an oven on wax paper in a jelly roll pan, but I'm not sure what the temp should be. Pretty low (200-250?) for quite a while. I think it would be kind of trial and error to figure it out. I hope you get lots of good ideas. Good luck!!

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K.K.

answers from Portland on

I would try all natural gummy bears or fruit snacks made with only fruit juice and no coloring. New Seasons has some great ones. They come in small packets and kids love them.

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A.D.

answers from Portland on

A.,
What I found that works for me is some type of fruit and a little bit of protein like nuts. Since she is in school, I would recommend a trail mix. Target has some new brand of trail mixes that taste really good. I'm not sure what she likes, but I'm sure you will find something she likes. Since I can't have soy, I get the one that has cranberries, seeds, nuts, golden raisins, etc. Trail mix can be made at home using unprocessed ingredients, but if your in a crunch, store bought products work ok. Just try not to use processed products very often.

Try to stay away from candies, gummies and treats. These can cause more problems. Which can lead to diabetes. (runs in our family)Stick with natural foods that are unprocessed.

Another suggestion is raisins.

What one of my doctors recommended was carrots. They are sweet and keep up the blood sugar.

Good luck, I know how hard it is. I've been there for over 25 years.

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A.S.

answers from Eugene on

there are lots of kinds of nuts and seeds, if you vary what you give her, she shouldn't tire of them. little carrots, celery pieces, wholegrain crackers. don't give her candy! sugar is what causes hypoglycemia in the first place.

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J.A.

answers from Seattle on

I see you've already gotten some good advice and I guess mine is pretty much the same. I've had Hypoglycemia since I was your daughter's age and I've found that granola bars are really handy. I always keep a few in my purse, in the glove box of the car or in the diaper bag. I find Quaker chewy bars are great (Cliff bars and Luna bars are good, but pricey and are more advanced flavor combinations than a kid might like). They come in a variety of different flavors and I find that having a combination of fruit, protein and complex carbohydrates really helps keep my sugars level. Hope you find something that works for your little girl!

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A.H.

answers from Seattle on

Hi A.,
Not sure if your angel likes Yogurt or not? But Yogo rollers or yogo's. They are a good snack, that can fit in pocket that she can snack on and they have different flavors.

Good luck!
Best wishes,
A.

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J.O.

answers from Corvallis on

The co-op in Corvallis has really good dried fruits and nuts. The bananas are my personal favorites. The prices on some are okay they are good quality, mostly organic and without sulfites (most of the time) You could mix it up with some dark chocolate covered nuts once in a while too, instant sugar, less fat than milk chocolate and the nuts are healthy in moderation as well... and uh yummy:)

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K.P.

answers from Seattle on

I also have hypogylcemia and I use to carry dried fruit around with me and nuts. I loves the dried fruit because they had so many different kinds that I never got bored with them.

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M.F.

answers from Seattle on

A., My husband is hypoglycemic and we have seen a huge difference with both diet and supplementation. The advice about a high protein, fat and fiber diet is right on. We stopped orange juice and sugar laden drinks and that helped. As far as the snacks go nuts, trail mixes, and those cheese or peanutbutter cracker snacks are a good option. I would not recommend a sugary snack. My husband no longer has to be quite as careful about eating on time and snacking in between because of the nutritional shakes we now use. It is a supplement called Reliv and has a protein base with a food balance so that it is readily absorbed. It has made a huge difference and he now longer gets the nasty migraines he used to due to his blood sugars getting out of wack! If you want more info about it let me know. [email protected]____.com

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S.W.

answers from Portland on

Jerky-- protein and portable!! Gold fish crackers in a ziploc are highly resilient in the pocket as well. I loved the carrot idea!! When I was a kid rolls held up well in my pocket too-- even if they got a little squashed they were still awesome, especially with peanut butter!! Cereal can also be fairly portable. This might be weird but the Gerber yogurt melts are tasty and offer a bit of protein.

Might I also suggest getting a couple altoids tins or small plastic containers to help preserve the shape of the snack in the pocket. You are doing an awesome job Momma!!

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M.B.

answers from Seattle on

Hi A.,

I get Lara Bars from our Costco ($18 for 18) They're basically fruit, nuts, and few other ingredients. My 7-year-old and I like them better than Clif Bars. Some supermarkets sell them, too, but they're much more pricey. The ones from Costco are cherry, apple, and coconut/cocoa.

Good luck!

M.

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M.O.

answers from Portland on

clif for kids makes an all fruit twist like a piece of licorice in a single serve packet. I found them at fred meyers for 50 cents. Costco has yougurt covered strawberries/blueberries in little single serve packets. I don't know if that kind of stuff works for you or not but thought I would throw it out there

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L.D.

answers from Portland on

"Tiger Milk" bars are great. They are a wonderful mix of protein and carbs, taste great and are not expensive like other protein bars. They are also gluten free. I cut them in half, and then cut bite size pieces out of one half and put them in a baggy. My kids take them for snack that way at least once a week.

Another quick snack is string cheese or prewrapped cheese squares.

Raisins mixed with the nuts can be nice, also banana or plantain chips, although nuts and chips are not as quick an unobtrusive as a bar.

Also, maybe once in awhile you could send a healthy afternoon snack for the class (if teacher approves). This age really needs a pm snack, even if blood sugar processing is "normal". Whole grain cookies with nuts and raisins, crackers and cheese and yogurt all work well for class snacks.

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J.C.

answers from Seattle on

Depending on the amount of protein she needs - you could try trail mix ( some are more nuts than sugarry fruit - but if she likes them there are SO many flavors) also there are snack cracker packs that have peanut butter or cheese - she could have one of those )

As a diabetic - I know how hard this is -
Blessings,
J.

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K.B.

answers from Portland on

I had to do that in school as well. Pickles are good, sliced apples, peanut butter bread, small bag of sunflower seeds, cheese and crackers,

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Z.A.

answers from Seattle on

Milk-based products seem to work best for our son....he gets the quick sugar, the longer lasting protein, and the even longer lasting fat...all from one food.

Our two favorites for places he can't have a fridge for are :

- Horizon Chocolate Milk Boxes...they don't need refrigeration
- String Cheese

BTW keep an eye out that she's actually GETTING her snacks at school. Even though the school he went to SEEMED totally accommodating, because of the jealousy of the other kids & the inconvenience some of his teachers perceived, we found out that some weeks he hadn't had bite or drink one. We eventually had him scheduled to go to the nurses office 3 times per day (their morning snack didn't work with his needs). That solved most (but not all) of the problems.

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P.S.

answers from Portland on

They have tiny boxes of Sunshine raisen at Winco and I'm sure I've seen them at other grocery stores. Also, the 100 cal packs of cracker and cookies are fairly small. Hope that helps.

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M.E.

answers from Spokane on

What about a single serving fruit gummies pack? A friend of mine in high school had the same condition and that's what she did.

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C.C.

answers from Anchorage on

Hi. I live in Fairbanks, Alaska, and just discovered the "Mamasource" website. I was just browsing through the different topics, and your response caught my eye. I have 2 girls under age 3 and joined a great company a year ago called "Agel Enterprise". They have 10 different health/wellness products for the whole family which are all natural! All the nutrients are suspended in a gel base (so it is the consistency of yogurt). Each product comes in a tiny gel packet with different flavors. You just tear open the top and suck it out! Compared to anything else on the market, you can't beat these for convenience, flavor, and %100 absorbability by your bloodstream. Kids love them....I know mine do! I would recommend the "PRO" or "EXO" for your daughter's condition. One tastes like chocolate and the other like grape jelly even though they're only flavored with fruit extracts. Email me at [email protected]____.com if you want more info.

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B.Y.

answers from Portland on

Cliff bars makes kid's size ones called Z bars. You can get single ones for $0.50 or a box for a few bucks. Lots of good flavors, like honey graham cracker, s'mores, or peanut butter. They are 4 in. by 1 in. Or how about some Bunny Grahams or Cheddar Bunnies made by Annie's organic. (Little bunny shaped graham crackers or cheese crackers.)
Good luck!

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K.K.

answers from Portland on

Hi,
I don't know much about your daughter's condition but I just purchased some natural bars from Costco. They are made by "Mrs. May's" naturals-Trio bars. Inside of the case are 5 blueberry, 5 strawberry, 5 cranberry and 5 tropical bars. Here is some information from the side of the carton: VEGAN/NO TRANS FAT/NOADDITIVES/ NO PRESERVATIVES/NO CHOLESTEROL/GLUTEN FREE/DAIRY FREE/WHEAT FREE/NON-GMO/KOSHER 3nuts - 3 seeds -3 fruits. They taste great. My family loves them. I intend to keep a few bars in my car, baby bag and my husbands desk at work. www.mrsmays.com Good Luck! K.

M.B.

answers from Seattle on

A.,

Boxes of raisins come to mind. There are the small bags of chips/cookies. Near the produce section of the grocery there are usually bags of dried fruits. Raisins, dried cranberries/pineapple/mango/variety. Fruits in general. Jello cups, applesauce cups, mini rice cakes, random junk food.

Some of my suggestions don't hold up well to using and abusing on the playground, but maybe stick it in the lunchbox and save for later?

Hope this helps,
Melissa

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M.H.

answers from Seattle on

Hello A.,

Not sure if there are food restrictions, but since you mentioned nuts - what about a trail mix that you can make and change.

Also, pretezels (just a few in a baggie)

Fruit roll ups

Positively,
M.

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