Best Diet for Children With Diabetes. It’s Child’s Play!

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When having Children with diabetes, often the type 1 variety, then you may be feeling under pressure to make sure they get a balanced and well-rounded diet, to help control their blood glucose as much as possible. It’s completely normal to feel a little pressure in this situation, but the good news is that it is easier than you might think, and simple foods can help hugely – think yogurt, fruit, vegetables, for instance.


 

Do Children With Diabetes Need a Diet?

Diet is very important in general life. When it comes to diabetes management, a healthy diet plan is extremely decisive. Children with diabetes are active, growing children who needs the same dietary needs compared to youngsters who don’t have diabetes.

Diabetic children are keen to  express themselves through all activities available to them.  They don’t want to miss out on any great opportunity, such as dancing, sports,  and school parties. So, Diabetes should not keep them from participating, fully and safely, in any of these social interactions.

However, diet doesn’t have to be extremely firm, to the point where a child would feel overly restricted. It’s all about healthy choices, and paying attention to what they are eating, in order to keep blood glucose levels balanced and healthy.


 

My Child Is Type 1 Diabetic. Any Restrictions?

It is preferable to consult a registered dietitian, on a yearly basis,  in order to set up the right meal plan for your child and ensure nutrient needs are met. Your child diet may need some adjustments according to changes that may occur in his:

  • glucose control
  • activity patterns
  • growth patterns
  • medical conditions

You dietitian will specify which nutrients are necessary and in what amounts, so your child can develop and gain weight at a healthy rate.Essential nutrients include:

  • vitamins
  • minerals
  • fiber
  • fluids

According to New York State Department of Health:

The meal plan should take into account the many factors that impact a child’s eating habits and their blood glucose management, including:

– food preferences

– cultural influences

– family eating patterns and schedules

– activity level

– insulin action peaks

– overall caloric needs reflecting the child’s weight and growth patterns


Insulin Dosing Method and Meal Planning

You can give your Type 1 diabetic child insulin in different ways. The meal plan can be adjusted according to his insulin method. Basal/bolus insulin therapy has becoming a trendy one among children with diabetes.

This therapy include injections or insulin pumps. Every method will impact your meal planning. This chart will give some strong basis:

 

Methods of insulin dosing used by children with type 1 diabetes and the impact each has on meal planning.

 


What Do I Have To Be Aware Of?

Usually, Meals and snacks contain a blend of ingredients. The food combination affects digestion and absorption process.

Carbohydrates

They are probably the most important factor to keep an eye on, because they affect blood glucose levels more than any other food type. Therefore, By knowing the amounts of carbs, we could predict the blood glucose response after a meal.

Fiber is a type of Carbohydrates present in healthy options such as whole grains, fruit, beans, and vegetables. Fiber has been found to reduce cholesterol, slow the absorption of sugar, as well as helping in weight management, which is always a plus side when trying to manage diabetes levels.

Protein

According to dietitians, the part of protein should constitute 10 to 20 percent of the calories your children eat. Protein is the most important element of hormones, enzymes and antibodies. Proteins don’t tend to have too much of an effect provided they’re not eaten in excess.  On the other hand , it could reduce  carbs absorption when it’s blended with other foods.


 

What About Sugar and Fat?

Sugar

You also need to look out for sugar alcohols, which are basically found in sugar-free products, like chewing gum. When consumed in moderation, these are fine, however excessive amounts could cause a rise in blood glucose levels, so simply keep an eye on how much of this your child is having, or simply switch to diabetes-friendly healthy alternatives.

Fat

There are 4 types of fats that you should pay attention to:


Monounsaturated fat: Olive, canola, flaxseed and peanut oils; avocado, nuts
Polyunsaturated fat   : Soybean, safflower, sesame, fish and seafood

These healthy fats reduce blood pressure . They contain vitamins A, D, E and K. Omega 3 fatty acids,  found in fish, empower the body against heart disease and stroke.


Saturated fat               : Butter, meat fat, lard, whole milk
Trans fat                       : oils used for deep frying

These fats are harmful. They are involved in heart disease and type 2 diabetes.


 

So, fat isn’t a particularly bad word, provided it’s consumed in moderation. Healthy Fat doesn’t have a direct impact on blood glucose levels but it can slow down digestion, which can cause blood glucose to rise if the meal is particularly high in fat content.


 

Fruit, Yogurt, Vegetables, and Whole Grains – The Road to A Healthy Diet

Staying healthy isn’t as hard as you might think, and keeping  children with diabetes on the straight and narrow is easy if you start educating them on healthy choices as early in their life as possible. It’s really about making meals exciting but healthy, which can be done with a few tricks.

Breakfast for example, yogurt is a great choice and has been linked to helping with diabetic control, as well as a potential reduced risk for type 2. Yogurt is a low carb meal which won’t cause spikes in blood glucose, provided you stick to your own toppings – why not try plain yogurt with sliced strawberries for a healthy meal?


 

Swapping white bread to brown, throwing some vegetables onto a plate, and keeping an eye on portion control, including the right combination of carbs, protein, fiber and fat, will help your child stay well controlled and healthy.

See? It’s child’s play!

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