DiSH-MT February Session:
Diabetes and School Nutrition



In this session, Brooke Foth discussed the importance of healthy nutrition, carbohydrates, and reviewed the different types of carbohydrates: simple VS complex. Brooke shared tips for helping kids choose healthier options if they are eating breakfast and lunch at school and discussed high protein and fiber-rich snack ideas.

Video Recap

Key Takeaways

Students with diabetes have the same healthy diet recommendations as other kids – there’s not a specific “diabetes diet.” That said, with diabetes, students need to have more awareness of what they are eating (i.e. carb counting) so that they can give the right amount of insulin to match the carbohydrates in the foods they eat.

Kids with diabetes NEED carbohydrates! Carbohydrates are vital for growing, learning, and active children – they are the body’s #1 fuel source.

It is important to support the development of a healthy relationship with food. Frame food in a positive light – avoid labeling food choices as good or bad.

It’s often not an issue of food insecurity that is factoring into poor food choices for students with diabetes but rather it is often more of an organization and planning problem at the family level.

What you should know about diabetes and school nutrition based on this session…

Simple carbohydrates (e.g. juice) raise blood sugar quickly while complex carbohydrates (e.g. whole grain bread) raise blood sugar more slowly.

Like for all kids, try to avoid sweetened beverages (e.g. juice) in routine meals and activities. For students with diabetes, these sweetened beverages SHOULD be available for treatment of low sugars.

Sweets and treats are fine in moderation! Being too restrictive can be problematic and can increase the risk of disordered eating.

Parents tend to support their children with snacks that can quickly raise blood sugar. It’s worth communicating to parents the importance of sending their child to school with those fast-acting snacks AND snacks that can help sustain more consistent levels.

Q&A Highlights

How can I support my students who are picky eaters?

It’s great to remind children that tastebuds are constantly changing! It can take up to 30 times of trying a food before our bodies adapt to it, which means we have to try things a lot. Try walking through the cafeteria line with your students, consistently encouraging them to try new foods – remember, children recognize what we do, so you can set a good example by trying foods with them!

I really notice a lot of my students (high school age) skipping lunch. How can I support my students that do this?

Try talking with your student about their extracurricular activities – the things they want to do, like clubs and sports – and how nutrition plays into their ability to perform better. It’s also worth reframing the question to your students, so instead of saying “did you eat lunch” try asking “have you had any snacks today?”

Unfortunately our school cafeteria rarely offers fresh fruit and instead seems to provide canned fruit as an option. How can I count this for my students?

While it might not be the preferred way to eat fruit, you can drain the sugary water from the fruit and just carb-count it as a whole fruit!

March’s Session

Topic: Automated Insulin Pumps Go to School