Diet Tips for Diabetic Children
Diabetic children under the age of 16 with type 1 diabetes are Insulin dependent. Unlike adults they do not have to be on strict diets. Type 1 diabetes is caused since the pancreas cannot produce insulin. This happens when the immune system attacks the insulin-producing beta cells. In diabetic children one needs to focus on what they eat and when to eat to keep the sugar under control. Sugar need not be absolute, but the child must be made to understand how his / her body responds to various foods and the requirement of insulin in accordance. Purwa Duggal, Nutrionist, P J Hinduja Hospital, Mahim gives diet tips for diabetic children.
Nutritional Management is essential in diabetes care. It must be customized to suit the cultural, family traditions and the psychosocial needs of the child.
- 3 major meals with healthy snacks must be inculcated as part of the routine.
- The amount of carbohydrates consumed can affect blood sugar level, so one needs to keep a tab on how much your diabetic child eats.
- You don’t need to ban sweets completely, eating them in moderation is fine, but only after your child figures out how his body responds to various foods and taking insulin.
- Rather than going for processed foods like packed dairy products or ready to eat snack get your diabetic children to eat natural meats such as chicken breasts, grilled fish, eggs, nuts, baked potatoes, beans and legumes.
- Go for whole grain bread and cereal rather than processed white flour or sugar-coated cereals.
- Ensure adequate energy intake with all required nutrients to support optimal growth.
- Focus on maintaining a balance between energy intake / expenditure, body requirements and insulin action to prevent adverse effects of hypo or hyperglycemia.
- Encourage positive dietary modifications by using the carbohydrate counting technique which allows for the maximum flexibility of food.
- Must ensure that the diabetic child is safe and healthy even when at school. Educate all involved to ensure your child is well taken care of.
- Keep him/her active.
*Image courtesy: © Thinkstock photos/ Getty Images
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