As my son is getting older, I can tell with each passing month that he is craving independence. While I’m more than happy to facilitate this shift in responsibility, for a kid with type 1 diabetes, there are more complexities that can come with that.

Along with all the usual preteen issues, these kiddos have to manage a chronic condition 24/7, from which they get zero breaks. This means that their diabetes impacts every aspect of their lives.

For instance, my son has shown a big interest in learning more in the kitchen. Not only does he need to know the basics that everyone learning to cook does, but (because of his diabetes) he also needs to learn how to effectively measure and carb-count the food he prepares. He will need these skills throughout his life, so I’m so glad to see him learning them early.

If you too find yourself trying to impart more kitchen skills to your type 1 tween, here are three beginner-friendly options that older kids can easily prepare themselves. Whether they need a quick afterschool snack or some munchies they might want to serve friends coming over to hang out, or if Mom and Dad just need a night off from cooking, these recipes do the trick!

Cheese “Crackers”

Cheese Crackers

What if I said you could make your own zero-carb cheese crackers with just one ingredient? These come together super quickly, and are easy for teens and tweens to make themselves. Pair them with salami, jerky, lunchmeat, or other favorite toppers for a yummy, low-carb snack.


Homemade Trail Mix

Homemade Trail Mix

Whenever my kids have friends over, the number-one requested snack is popcorn. It got me thinking: What if we take it a step further and add in some additional ingredients so that it becomes even more nutrient-dense, delicious, filling — and a mini lesson in carb-counting your own “cooking”? This recipe is simple and contains easy-to-measure ingredients that teens can throw together on their own.


Build-Your-Own-Burger Bar

Build Your Own Burger Bar

If your kiddos are like mine, the idea of a build-your-own-burger bar is so fun that they won’t even mind pitching in; I’ve included extra detailed cooking instructions just for beginner chefs. I love that the meal is customizable, so the whole family can make their burger however they wish. (For an ultra-low-carb option, you can omit the buns.)


Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring.