Snacks for hypoglycemic 12-year-old

My daughter is 12, hypoglycemic and wants to lose weight. Her doctor showed her on the chart that she is fine (95th percentile for weight, 85th percentile for height), but she still feels that she needs to lose some pounds. I understand; she just started middle school, and it's normal to suddenly take an interest in her figure. I've agreed to help her if she follows my guidelines.

I don't want her to skip meals or her snacks (she has a doctor's note to snack in school), I've just asked her to cut down on some foods and eat more of others. The problem is, she is getting bored with the snacks I can send to school. They have to keep and be individually packaged. Besides nuts, juice boxes (hard-to-find real juice) and granola bars, what can I send?

She is very active, so usually requires two to threee snacks during school. She is five-foot-two and around 125 pounds but her father's family are all big-boned. She looks at her half-sister, who is five-foot-five and 100 pounds (naturally thin -- ugh!) and wants to look like her. It will never happen.

Any advice will be appreciated.

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Sue Gilbert

Sue Gilbert works as a consulting nutritionist. For many years she worked with Earth's Best Organic Baby Food, integrating nutrition and... Read more

It is wonderful to find a mother who is happy with her daughter's body, recognizes her genes and wants to help her accept herself for who she is and to optimize that. Kudos to you. I don't imagine it will ever be easy for a shorter, more solidly built person to look at a tall, lean one and not feel a little envious, but that can still be our goal. It is also wonderful to hear that your daughter is active. A lifetime of activity is the best way to prevent becoming overweight. It also is a great way to arrive at a mental attitude of feeling fit and full of energy. If you combine your daughter's active lifestyle with a wholesome, low-fat diet you are setting her up for a successful attitude toward and acceptance of her body.

Snacks are an important piece of any diet, but especially for one who is hypoglycemic. Snacks should make a positive contribution to the days total diet, and should not be looked at as "extras." That means you want to use the same criteria for choosing a snack as you do for choosing a meal. In your daughter's case, you need to be sure that she try and keep her blood sugar up, and at a constant level. That means choosing snacks that will not result in a rapid rise in blood sugar that are apt to be followed by a rapid fall.

The best snacks are ones that contain protein and complex carbohydrates. You mention that they have to be individually packaged. I am wondering if you feel you need to purchase them that way, or would you be willing to package them up yourself into a small Ziplock bag? If the latter is the case, you have many more options.

To purchase, how about some of the individual boxes of breakfast cereals (the nonsugar-coated variety), small packages of pretzels, breakfast bars or protein-bar-type snacks, individually wrapped string cheese, all-fruit fruit leathers, small boxes of raisins, a small container of yogurt would be good for a midmorning snack since it could safely remain unrefrigerated for a couple of hours,

For snacks that you can package yourself, try bagels, whole-grain muffins, peanut butter crackers, a trail mix with Cherrios, peanuts, raisins and sunflower seeds, dried fruit like apricots, apples and papaya, homemade whole-grain oatmeal cookies, thermosful of yogurt smoothie (in the blender, mix nonfat vanilla yogurt with banana and orange juice), square of homemade corn bread spread with almond butter, baggie of roasted pumpkin seeds, slice of raisin-nut quick bread or banana bread.

Your daughter is lucky to have such a supportive, realistic mom who is sensitive to her needs. I hope these snack ideas help you both enjoy a little more variety in her diet.

Best of luck and thank you for writing.

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