As a responsible parent, it is important to know the nutrition basics for a diabetic child. Certain dietary considerations can go a long way in managing the condition. As of 2018, there were 97,700 children in India with Type 1 diabetes mellitus. It is one of the most common pediatric endocrine illnesses, according to data released by the International Diabetes Federation.
A few common diabetes symptoms are weight loss, blurred vision and excessive thirst. When your child has been diagnosed with the condition, plan their meals accordingly.
Kids are prone to eating loads of candy and processed foods, which are rich in sugar. These can raise glucose levels in the blood quite fast. Try to include more of whole grains and vegetables in their diet. Anything packed with vitamins, minerals and fibers can be beneficial in controlling sugar levels. Avoid pasta and white bread and switch to healthier options.
However, make sure you know exactly how much carbs would be enough for effective diabetes treatment. The intake usually differs, depending on the medication, weight and age of the child.
Fats, when taken in the right amount, do not break down in the blood. Therefore, blood sugar levels remain under control. Make sure the meals are low in fat. So choose grilled chicken, fat free cheese, granola bars, fruits and vegetables and yogurt. You can also make fruit smoothies and low-fat desserts. Try to avoid cookies and cakes as much as possible. This can help in reversing type 2 diabetes.
The blood glucose level is not affected by proteins, unless you include an excess of them in the daily diet. According to the UK Food Standard Agency, 15 grams is recommended for children between 1 to 3 years, 20 gram for children between 4 to 6 years, 28 gram for children between 7 to 10 years, 42 grams for children between 11 to 14 years and 55 grams for anyone between 15 to 18 years. The best foods for protein and successful diabetes treatment and management are lean meats, oily fish, fresh red meat, beans and nuts.
The Exchange Meal Plan works best for children. They are usually given meals from six different food categories. These include fat, vegetable, meat, starch, fruit and milk. One food can be exchanged with another. This will contain equal amounts of calories, proteins and carbs. This plan is useful to cut down on the monotony of eating the same food everyday.To control portions, consider using smaller plates of 10 inches. You could also have your child sip on drinks in between meals to slow down the eating process. Try to keep them from taking second helpings and keep away distractions, like TV and smartphones.
There is no permanent treatment for diabetes, but following efficient meal plans can help the child manage the condition effectively.