What Kind Of Meal Planning Does My Child With Diabetes Need
It is important for children and young people with diabetes to eat a variety of foods as part of a routine eating plan. Most children can enjoy foods from each of the 4 food groups every day, including:
- vegetables and fruits
- milk and milk products
- lean meat, chicken, seafood, eggs, legumes, nuts and seeds
Children and young people need to eat enough food, and drink enough fluids, so they can grow and keep active. Having a routine eating plan and teaching your children to make healthy food choices is an important part of diabetes management. This will help your child to keep their blood glucose levels steady and within the target range most of the time.
A dietitian who specialises in diabetes will work out a routine eating plan that suits you and your child. Each child is an individual and the eating plan that might work best for your family will depend on things like:
- nutritional needs for growth and development
- daily routine
- physical activity levels
- your child’s insulin regimen
Most children and young people living with diabetes do not need to follow a special diet or restrictive eating plan.
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Preparing Meals For Children With Diabetes
When preparing meals for a child with diabetes, the principles of healthful eating are the same as for an adult. For instance, it is important to avoid processed foods and packaged breakfast cereals, as these contain a lot of sugar.
Preparing a packed lunch for children makes it easier to monitor food groups and portions. The Diabetes Food Hub includes plenty of example meals for children, including packed lunches.
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What Is Type 1 Diabetes
According to the American Diabetes Association, about 1.6 million people have type 1 diabetes. Of those, there are approximately 187,000 children and adolescents.
Type 1 diabetes is an autoimmune disease in which the body mistakenly attacks the pancreas, destroying the cells that produce insulin. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin daily to keep their blood sugars in range.
Insulin is a hormone that has many functions, including blood sugar control. There are many different types of insulin regimens and vehicles for delivery.
With advancements in technology, people with type 1 diabetes may use smartpens, insulin pumps, sensor-augmented pumps, hybrid closed looped systems, and continuous glucose monitors, to name a few. Regardless of what type of insulin regimen your child is on, the kinds of foods they eat will impact blood sugars.
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Why Is Specific Dietary Advice Important For My Child With Diabetes
It is important that your child or young person sees a dietitian regularly, as part of the specialist diabetes team. Your dietitian can provide more education and information on the dietary management of diabetes. They can review your child or young person’s routine eating plan to support their growth and development.
Type 1 Diabetes Nutrition
If you have type 1 diabetes, it is important to know how many carbohydrates you eat at a meal. This information helps you determine how much insulin you should take with your meal to maintain blood sugar control.
Carbohydrates are the main type of food that raises blood sugar. The starch, fruit and milk groups of the Food Group Pyramid for Diabetes are high in carbs. Foods in the Other Carbohydrates and Combination Food groups are also high in carbs. The vegetable group has a small amount of carbohydrates. The meat and fat groups have few or no carbs. The amount of carbohydrates you eat at each meal will determine how high your blood sugar rises after the meal. The other two major nutrients, protein and fat ,also have an effect on blood glucose levels, though it is not as rapid or great as carbohydrates.
Most people with diabetes can control their blood sugar by limiting carbohydrate servings to 2-4 per meal and 1-2 per snack.
A delicate balance of carbohydrate intake, insulin, and physical activity is necessary for the best blood sugar levels. Eating carbohydrates increases your blood sugar level. Exercise tends to decrease it . If the three factors are not in balance, you can have wide swings in blood sugar levels.
If you have type 1 diabetes and take a fixed dose of insulin, the carbohydrate content of your meals and snacks should be consistent from day to day.
Children and Diabetes
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Three Common Approaches To Meal Planning
Three kinds of meal plans are commonly used:
In the exchange meal plan, foods are divided into six groups: starch, fruit, milk, fat, vegetable, and meat. The plan sets a serving size for foods in each group. Each serving has a similar amount of calories, protein, carbs, and fat. This allows flexibility in planning meals by exchanging, or substituting, choices from lists of foods with similar nutritional content. The number of exchanges from each group recommended for each meal and snack is based on the total number of calories the person needs per day.
The diabetes health care team can provide you with exchange lists. This meal plan is particularly useful for people with diabetes who are overweight or others who need to pay closer attention to the amount of calories and nutrients they eat each day.
Many people with diabetes now use the carbohydrate counting meal plan to estimate the amount of carbs in the foods they eat at each meal or snack. They then match their insulin dosage to that carb amount. This plan is most useful for those who manage their diabetes by taking a dose of insulin with each meal. This technique can help people achieve better control of blood sugar levels as they manage their diabetes. It also allows more flexibility because the person takes insulin when meals are eaten, not at the same set times each day.
Egg Noodles With Butter And Cheese
One serving of egg noodles contains about 3 grams of fat, 39 grams of carbohydrate, and 8 grams of protein. This can be a great option for more selective eaters.
Mix your egg noodles, some butter, and Parmesan cheese. If your child cannot have cheese, you can substitute the butter for olive oil and use nutritional yeast for extra vitamins and cheesy flavor.
Pair this meal with a serving of fruit and a slice or two of fresh turkey breast or yogurt for a complete meal. Mixing some protein like chicken, fish, or cheese with traditional or bean pasta is also an option.
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Creating A Type 1 Diabetes Meal Plan
People can use different methods to plan their type 1 diabetes diet. They can also seek help from a dietitian. Some common ways to prepare meals are:
Carbohydrate counting: This method involves keeping track of how many grams of carbohydrate someone eats and drinks each day.
Glycemic index:Glycemic index and glycemic load measure the amount of sugar in foods and how much they will raise blood sugar.
Plate method: People can use this technique to control portion sizes and food groups. It ensures that half of the plate consists of nonstarchy vegetables while a quarter contains a healthful protein, and a grain or starch fills the last quarter.
Snacks should aim to balance carbohydrates with protein or fats. So-called diabetic sweets are also available, but people should keep these to a minimum. Healthful snack ideas include:
- hummus and oatcakes
- chocolate protein balls made with oats, nut butter, cocoa powder, and a diabetes-friendly sweetener, such as stevia
- celery sticks and nut butter
- a boiled egg
People who are tracking their carbohydrate intake should take care to count fruit if they eat it as a snack. A small piece of whole fruit contains about 15 g of carbohydrate. Berries are a lower GI fruit, and melons, pineapples, and some dried fruits have a medium GI.
Eating a lower sugar fruit together with a protein source may help balance blood glucose more than eating the fruit on its own. For example, someone could have berries with natural yogurt.
Choose Healthful Protein Foods
Including protein in every meal can help balance blood sugar. People should choose healthful protein foods and vary their choices. Examples of these foods include:
- lean meat and poultry
- broccoli and cauliflower
Starchy vegetables, such as potatoes, pumpkin, and corn, contain more sugar. However, people can still include these in their diet in smaller amounts as long as they monitor their blood glucose.
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Easy Meal Plans For Diabetic Kids
Every growing child benefits from healthy nutrition, but for a child with diabetes proper diet is absolutely paramount.
Like all youngsters, they need to eat foods that will give them energy and promote overall physical health however, diabetic kids have other dietary requirements that cannot be ignored. They also need to balance their carb intake with their insulin levels and they need to avoid foods that could raise the lipid levels in their blood.
Easier said than done, right? For many parents, especially those who dont have diabetes themselves, handling their childs diet can be a frustrating and stressful task. But we are here to provide you with a pair of very simple diet plans that will save you a headache and, more importantly, keep your kids happy and healthy!
The Exchange Meal Plan
In the exchange plan, foods are divided into six groups: starch, fruit, milk, fat, vegetables, and meat. Each food group is assigned a daily serving size, and each serving is assigned a daily allowance of calories, protein, carbohydrates, and fat. Once the diving is done, each daily meal becomes a matter of checking boxes: Did Timmy eat all of his starch for the day? Check! On this plan, kids can eat what they enjoy so long as it falls into the guidelines youve laid out, making their diabetes a little easier – a win for everyone!
Carbohydrate Counting Plan
Key Points To Remember About Healthy Eating For Children With Diabetes
- healthy meal planning is an important part of diabetes management
- healthy eating for people with diabetes is the same as healthy eating for everyone
- there is no need for your child or young person to eat special foods or follow a restrictive diet
- regular physical activity is also important and benefits people of all ages
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Meal Planning For Children With Type 1 Diabetes
When you have a child with type 1 diabetes, meal planning is important. Everything your child eats can affect their blood sugar. Your doctor or a registered dietitian can help you come up with the best plan for your child, but thereâs information all parents of kids with this condition should know.
Like all children, kids with type 1 diabetes need nutrient-rich foods that help them grow and keep them at a healthy weight. Over the course of a day, your child should get about 10%-20% of their calories from protein, 25%-30% calories from healthy fats, and about 50%-60% from carbohydrates.
Carbs are found in most foods — not just bread and potatoes. They supply the energy that the body and brain need to work their best. Steer your child toward complex carbs such as vegetables and whole grains. They have vitamins and minerals that will keep them healthy, and fiber, which helps control blood sugar levels.
Try to stay away from simple carbs, like white bread and pasta and other processed grains, candy and frosting. They can raise blood sugar quickly.
The amount of carbs your child needs depends on their weight, age, size, exercise level, and any medicines theyâre taking. Your doctor or dietitian can help you figure out the number of grams or serving sizes your child should have each day.
Constant Carbohydrate Plan
Exchange Meal Plan
Foods To Avoid
Snacks to Keep on Hand
Highs and Lows
French Toast Made With Whole
Using whole-grain bread adds fiber and micronutrients. Cut your French toast into sticks and sprinkle it with cinnamon for a beautiful-looking, fun lunch.
French toast is usually made with egg, which contains fat and protein. Instead of using syrup as a dipper, pack a serving of low-fat Greek yogurt as a dipping sauce, or, if your child is more selective, consider a sugar-free syrup.
Keep in mind that sugar-free does not mean carbohydrate-free and carbohydrates in the syrup will need to be accounted for.
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What Grains And Starches Are Recommended For A Type 1 Diabetes Diet Plan
Grains and starchy vegetables
Whole grains, such as brown rice, quinoa, and oatmeal are good sources of fiber and nutrients and have a low glycemic load. This makes them good choices. Processed food labels make it very confusing to understand whole grains. For example “whole wheat bread” is made in many different ways and some of it is not really that different from white bread in its blood sugar impact . The same is true for whole grain pasta – it’s still pasta. Whole grains will require less insulin because of their low glycemic load. The best way to understand them is to check the nutrition label. Find the grams of dietary fiber and subtract that from the total carbohydrate. That number should be less than 25 per serving. Starchy vegetables such as potatoes, squash, corn, and other root vegetables are higher in carbohydrates than green vegetables but lower than refined grains. They also are good sources of nutrients such as vitamin C. They are best eaten in smaller portions with an additional dose of insulin to cover 1 serving of carbohydrate.
High Sugar Foods To Avoid
Its fairly obvious to say that any foods high in added sugar are not the healthiest choice for, well, anyone, but when a child has diabetes and eats these foods his or her blood sugar level can go up very high, very quickly. Notwithstanding the fact these foods are typically if not always low in nutrients, they could take the place of those more nourishing eats that are imperative for your childs growth. Best to reserve these sweet treats for special occasions.
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Starting A Type 1 Diabetes Diet
Its important to include nutritious foods that are high in vitamins and minerals. For general health recommendations, choosing healthy fats, proteins, and nutrient-dense carbohydrates is optimal.
If youre having trouble managing type 1 diabetes, work with your doctor or dietitian to help manage your medications and timing of eating. You should also discuss the portions of carbs per meal that would be appropriate based on your needs.
Youll also need to take exercise into account and determine the carbohydrate need for your activity level.
Here are some basic recommendations:
Breakfast: Oatmeal Pecan Pancakes
A healthful start to the day, these pancakes contain whole grain oats and delicious pecans.
Method:Brush both sides of the salmon with avocado oil and cook on a skillet on medium heat for 4 minutes on one side until browned. Turn the salmon over and season the other side with salt and pepper. Cook the salmon until it is opaque throughout.
Mix the watercress, cucumber, and orange pieces in a bowl and season with white wine vinegar, avocado oil, and salt and pepper to taste.
Plate everything and top with avocado, walnuts, apple cider vinegar, and optional nasturtiums.
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Do Not Eliminate Carbs From Your Diet
No carb diet is a myth as it can affect your body adversely. No carbs is a bad move because it will drain your strength and energy which will eventually kill your productivity. Though you will definitely lose weight by cutting on carbs and survive well without them. However, there is a difference between survival and getting satisfying or startling results.
Preparing For A Type 1 Diabetes Diet
Theres no standard diet for diabetes. A nutritionist or dietitian can help you come up with meal plans and create a diet that works for you in the long term.
Its easy to reach for fast food and other processed foods when youre short on time and money. However, these foods offer minimal nutrients and are high in fat, sugar, and salt. Planning meals ahead of time and grocery shopping regularly can help cut down on any emergency eating.
A well-stocked kitchen of healthy food can also cut down on unnecessary sugar, carbohydrates, sodium, and fat that can spike blood sugar.
An important aspect of any diabetic diet is consistency. To maintain blood sugar levels:
- dont skip meals
- try to eat around the same time each day
- pay attention to food labels
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