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Can My Child with Diabetes Eat Nuts

Contributors: Esther Ellis, MS, RDN, LDN and Jill Weisenberger, MS, RDN, CDE, FAND

Published: November 19, 2021

Reviewed: June 13, 2023

Reaching for Nuts - Can My Diabetic Child Eat Nuts?
Julia Sudnitskaya/iStock/Thinkstock

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

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 the calories can add up quickly. 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-carbohydrate food on its own.
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

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, whole nuts may be a choking hazard. Where appropriate, try spreading a thin layer of nut butter onto foods instead.

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