Kids eat right.

Can My Child with Diabetes Eat Nuts?

Contributors: Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND and Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN
Reaching for nuts - Can My Child with Diabetes Child Eat Nuts?

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Nuts are a terrific snack or addition to a meal for children and adults with either Type 1 or Type 2 diabetes. Nuts give us magnesium, B vitamins, vitamin E, fiber, protein, nourishing fats and more!

Controlling Blood Glucose

The combination of protein and fat in nuts can be especially helpful when trying to manage blood sugar, but be sure to watch portion size as they are calorie-dense. By combining nuts with a high-carbohydrate food such as cereal, bread or fruit, you can expect lower blood glucose readings after eating than if you or your child eat the high-carb food alone. As part of a research study, individuals with Type 2 diabetes had lower blood glucose after eating an ounce of mixed nuts with white bread, as opposed to eating the bread alone. A similar study among healthy adults showed that eating pistachios with rice or pasta also limited the rise in blood glucose readings after eating.

Love nuts for their magnesium content, too. Among its many roles, this mineral may affect the release and activity of insulin, the hormone that helps control blood glucose levels. Other good sources of magnesium are whole grains, beans and spinach.

Nutrient Powerhouse

There are so many ways to please the taste buds and nourish the body with nuts. Along with their distinct tastes, nuts each have a unique nutrient profile. And when you pair them with other nutrient-dense foods, you're getting a super dose of good-for-you nutrition. Toss chopped pistachios and diced peaches into yogurt. Offer kids half a peanut butter and banana sandwich made with whole-grain bread. Mix walnuts with dried tart cherries for a simple trail mix, or spread almond butter on sliced apples. Your kids will have fun learning the names and identifying the tastes of a variety of nuts. Put out a small bowl with pistachios, almonds, cashews, peanuts, pecans, walnuts, hazelnuts and more. Enjoy! 

There is one caveat: For children under the age of 4, nuts may be a choking hazard unless finely chopped.