Food & Drink

Cookbook review | Have a child with diabetes? This is the cookbook for you

“America’s Best Cookbook for Kids with Diabetes” by Colleen Bartley.
“America’s Best Cookbook for Kids with Diabetes” by Colleen Bartley. Courtesy image

With children returning to school, this is a great time to peek at “America’s Best Cookbook for Kids with Diabetes” by Colleen Bartley.

If you have a child with diabetes, he or she probably already feels the stress of having a “different” diet. This cookbook allows families to prepare fun foods that give children the chance to enjoy “normal” lunch box treats like oatmeal cookies, several kinds of pizzas (French bread and other) and breakfast starters like protein plus pancakes.

Bartley’s teen daughter has had diabetes for 10 years. While running a catering business, Bartley came up with the idea of a cookbook for kids with diabetes. She worked with a dietician and her daughter to develop these family friendly recipes. The author attests that “all of the recipes have been taste-tested by kids as well as their parents and friends.”

Most of the fare reminds me of the kinds of recipes that were in my first cookbook—”Betty Crocker’s Cookbook for Children.”

However, this one is a specialized book. All of the recipes take into account the need for balancing carbs and proteins. With recipes like the applesauce cookies, Bartley suggests pairing a couple with a yogurt for a healthy snack. Each recipe lists the relevant starch, carb, fat, etc. exchange and provides a per-serving nutrient analysis.

Some of the recipes are child-friendly; encouraging someone with diabetes into the kitchen at an early age is a good thing since homemade fare is usually best.

The front notes of the book are easy to read and I believe if you have a child with type 1 diabetes it would be good to put this book into their hands. The book advocates exercise as well as eating right.

The breakfasts were a little complicated for school mornings, except for the oatmeal. I never had time to put French toast in front of my two on school mornings. But they would make a good breakfast-for-dinner option and certainly can be made, even by an older child on weekend mornings.

Only a couple of the lunch items were easily packable for school lunches but the baked goods section and all of the offerings look easy to make.

I liked her suggestion of making meatloaf in mini-pans to reduce the cooking time and her many suggestions for baked goods — including chocolate chip cookies and brownies, two items that kids with diabetes are often not permitted.

If you need it, it’s a good cookbook to have, not only for the recipes, but also for the fact that these “training recipes” will get your child into the kitchen learning to prepare healthy options—a healthy habit that will continue all of their lives.

At a glance

Title | America’s Best Cookbook for Kids with Diabetes

Author | Colleen Bartley

Publisher | Robert Rose Press

Length | 208 pages

Price | $24.95