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Diabetes: Bedtime Snacks

Bedtime snacks are important for blood sugar control for children with type 1 diabetes. A snack that includes carbohydrate and protein is helpful in keeping up your child's blood sugar level through the night. A typical bedtime snack should include 15 grams of carbohydrate and 7 to 8 grams of protein. This amount can vary depending on your child's age, blood sugar levels, and activity throughout the day.

Examples of foods containing 15 grams of carbohydrate and 7 to 8 grams of protein include:

  • 1 slice of bread plus 2 Tbsp peanut butter
  • 1 6-inch tortilla plus 1/4 cup grated cheese
  • 6 saltine crackers plus 1 string cheese
  • 3 cups popcorn plus 1 oz of meat or 1 egg
  • 12 small pretzels plus 2 Tbsp sunflower seeds
  • 3/4 to 1 cup cereal plus 1/4 cup peanuts
  • 5 vanilla wafers plus 1 cup milk*
  • 8 oz of no-sugar-added yogurt*

    *Yogurt and milk provide about 15 grams of carbohydrate as well as protein.

It is good to choose a solid food at bedtime that will churn around in the stomach before passing to the intestine where most food is absorbed. Milk or yogurt alone might pass rapidly through the stomach, but milk and cereal or yogurt and crackers might pass through more slowly. Adjustments in carbohydrate amounts can be made based on what the blood sugar is at bedtime. Here are some guidelines to follow:

At bedtime, if your child's blood sugar is:

  • 150-200 mg/dl (8.3-11.1mmol/L): Give your child 15 to 20 grams of carbohydrate and 7 to 8 grams of protein.
  • 100-150 mg/dl (5.5-8.3 mmol/L): Give your child 25 to 30 grams of carbohydrate and 7 to 8 grams of protein.
  • 100 mg/dl (5.5 mmol/L): Give your child 30 to 45 grams of carbohydrate and 7 to 8 grams of protein.
Abstracted from the book, "Understanding Diabetes," 10th Edition, by H. Peter Chase, MD (available by calling 1-800-695-2873).
Published by McKesson Provider Technologies.
Last modified: 2002-09-04
Last reviewed: 2005-12-05
This content is reviewed periodically and is subject to change as new health information becomes available. The information is intended to inform and educate and is not a replacement for medical evaluation, advice, diagnosis or treatment by a healthcare professional.
Copyright 2006 McKesson Corporation and/or one of its subsidiaries. All Rights Reserved.
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