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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 helps to keep 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 change based 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. Solid foods will churn around in the stomach before passing to the intestine where most food is absorbed. Milk or yogurt alone might pass quickly through the stomach, but milk and cereal or yogurt and crackers might pass through more slowly. Adjust carbohydrate amounts 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 (8.3-11.1 mmol/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.

Children who have had an active day should have a bedtime snack no matter what their blood sugar level.


Abstracted from the book, "Understanding Diabetes," 11th Edition, by H. Peter Chase, MD (available by calling 1-800-695-2873).
Published by RelayHealth.
Last modified: 2008-08-11
Last reviewed: 2010-05-11

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 health care professional.

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