Insulinning: The Podcast

We have some interesting conversations at night after the kids go to bed. We thought we should try to record them once in a while. Both of us really enjoy the Juicebox Podcast, and we think there could and should be more good content out there for T1Ds and parents of T1Ds.

We’ve taken several cracks at it now, and this was the first one we thought might be worth publishing. It’s a short conversation we had about protein and fat dosing, a topic we’re pretty interested in, because we often have high-fat, high-protein dinners and Charlie is then frequently high all night long. Carbs aren’t the whole story.

If you like this, we hope to publish more. You can subscribe!

The Perfect Snack: Candidates

Is there a perfect snack for our t1d kiddos? It needs some things: We want them to want it. We want it not to wreak havoc on control. We want it to fit into life without hassles.

So what might fit the bill?

Raw Veggies

Carrots are the first thing that pops into my head. Baby carrots are a decent snack for me, personally. However, I know kids don’t always think they’re tasty.

There are other raw veggies: broccoli, tomato, cucumber, cauliflower, kohlrabi, celery… these all rank high for low prep time, healthiness, inexpensiveness, portability, and shelf life. None of them will do much damage to blood sugar, either. We can give them to Charlie without an insulin dose, with no worries.

But your kid has to like ’em or they’re no good to you.

Category Grade
Tasty C
Low-Carb A
Low-Prep A
Portability A
Inexpensive A
Shelf Life C
Healthy A
Overall B

Pickles

My guess is that pickles rank higher than raw veggies in terms of tastiness, for most kids. They’re a little worse for prep and portability, though. You can put them in a bag or container for on-the-go snacking, though. Its not a huge problem.

Pickles in a jar in your fridge will generally last longer than raw veggies, too. So they rank a little higher there.

At our house, we like to buy fermented pickles (https://bubbies.com/kosher_dills), instead of pickles in vinegar (which are mostly what I ate growing up), for the probiotic benefits.

Category Grade
Tasty B
Low-Carb A
Low-Prep B+
Portability B+
Inexpensive A
Shelf Life B
Healthy A
Overall B+

Lunch Meat

The kids in our life enjoy themselves some lunch meat. It’s generally carb-free or pretty darned close to it, too. It doesn’t last forever, though. And you can’t exactly stick it in your pocket for later.

Meat is always going to be more expensive than veggies, too. Especially if you’re a hippie like us and try to buy pastured, grass-fed, or wild stuff.

I’ll give it a small ding on the healthiness front, too. Not because I think meat is unhealthy like some do, but because processed meat raises a number of concerns for me. (You can try to avoid processed meat, but then you’re probably going to trade convenience for healthiness.)

Category Grade
Tasty A
Low-Carb A
Low-Prep A-
Portability B-
Inexpensive B
Shelf Life C
Healthy B
Overall B

Cured Meats

Cured meats tend to be a little more convenient and more portable than lunch meat. I actually could stick a beef stick in my pocket for later. But these kinds of things are generally more processed and less healthy. And some of them can be kind of expensive.

Category Grade
Tasty A
Low-Carb A
Low-Prep A
Portability A
Inexpensive B
Shelf Life A
Healthy C
Overall A-

Hard-Boiled Eggs

I am not a fan of these. But some people like them, including my family. They’re certainly not low-prep, though, unless you buy them packaged, which we rarely do. They don’t last especially long and do need refrigeration. And eggs are one of the healthiest foods you can eat. And they’re low-carb.

Category Grade
Tasty B
Low-Carb A
Low-Prep B
Portability B
Inexpensive A
Shelf Life B-
Healthy A
Overall B+

Cheese

Cheese is a personal favorite. We are from Wisconsin, after all.

There’s a lot of variance among cheeses, though. Some cheese is tastier than other cheese. Some might involve preparation (cutting). Some is expensive. Most lasts a while, and some lasts a very long time.

One of our favorite cheese snacks: individually-wrapped colby jack cheese sticks. These things are filling, low carb, delicious, involve virtually no prep and are grab-and-go. They last a while, and I don’t think they’re especially unhealthy. They’ll get the grade here:

Category Grade
Tasty A
Low-Carb A
Low-Prep A
Portability A
Inexpensive B
Shelf Life B
Healthy B
Overall A-

Nuts

Some of our favorite nuts are surprisingly high-carb, but they don’t usually make as big an impact on blood sugar as you might expect from their carb content.

We like macadamias, almonds and cashews. Dry roasted and salted. Yum.

Unless you’re roasting ’em yourself, they’re probably convenient and portable. They last a looong time and don’t require refrigeration. And they’re generally considered quite healthy. The big downside with nuts can be the price: They’re often expensive.

Category Grade
Tasty B
Low-Carb B
Low-Prep A
Portability A
Inexpensive C
Shelf Life A
Healthy A
Overall B+

Pork Rinds

My child loves pork rinds. To me, these seem like potato chips with the carbs magically extracted.

They’re super convenient and last a while. You can get cheap ones, or more more expensive ones (arguably healthier).

We’ll give them a slight downgrade for portability, too, because they’re large and poofy. They don’t fit all that well into a diaper bag. Or what you could fit would get eaten quickly.

Category Grade
Tasty A
Low-Carb A
Low-Prep A
Portability B
Inexpensive B
Shelf Life A
Healthy B
Overall B+

Winner, Winner?

Based on my very scientific evaluation and grading process, the winners are cheese and cured meats. I’ll break the tie and say cheese slightly wins out. But there’s no reason you can’t stock up on both.

The Perfect Snack

A snack is only good when it fits the situation. So a perfect snack fits the situation perfectly. Right?

Let’s aim higher. Is there a snack that fits just about every situation perfectly for your type-one kid?

Let’s think about the factors the might be important in different situations.

Tasty

It’s tempting to list “low carb” first. That’s the first thing I think of. But it can be a zero carb snack and, if Charlie won’t eat it, it’s totally useless.

If he eats it only most of the time, let’s say we’ll give it a B.

Low Carb

Isn’t it nice when you can give the kid a snack without a finger check, without an injection or fooling with the pump, and without a high or a low in the following hour or two?

Don’t answer that. I’ll answer for you. Yes. It’s nice. It’s very nice.

Low carb could mean zero actual carbs, or it could mean negligible carbs or it could maybe even mean high carb but ultra-low GI. The goal is for it not to affect the blood sugar in a way that requires correction.

Low Prep

The perfect snack doesn’t require hours of my time to put together, even in advance. Not even in batches. Even if the result of the prep is otherworldly in every other one of these factors, if it takes my whole Sunday to get it ready, that’s a big ding against it. My time is valuable.

Portable

Sometimes I need something I can throw into the diaper bag at the beginning of a day, so I can then whip it out whenever Charles says he’s hungry.

Inexpensive

We’re fortunate folks. We can afford to eat premium food if we choose to. But all things being equal, we’d rather spend our money on other stuff. Or save it.

Long Shelf Life

Is it something we can stock up on? Can we keep a stash of it on hand at all times? Can we buy in bulk?

Healthy

Maybe I’m a bad parent for putting this last. (Hey, at least I thought of it.)

Different people have different ideas about what is healthy. Alicia and I tend to have a Paleo-centric mindset when it comes to this sort of thing. But that’s a whole other article. For now, let’s say that the healthier side of the spectrum contains real, whole foods. Veggies good. Ho-hos bad.

Candidates?

So what hits all these criteria? Stay tuned. Next time, we’ll look at a few candidates for the perfect T1D snack.