Nutritional needs of diabetic children are similar to those of non-diabetic children, however, parents of diabetic kids need to be extra cautious about their kids’ food choices.
Nutritional needs of a diabetic child are similar to those of other children of the same age, however, parents must be well aware about the requirements that the special condition of their child demands. Read on to know a few guidelines for nutritional requirements of diabetic children.
Snacks— Surely, snacking time is the favourite meal time among kids, but as a parent, it’s up to you to ensure that your child is eating healthy and fat-free snacks. All fatty fast and junk food items are a strict no-no for diabetic children. Excess of fat along with diabetes elevates the risk of developing childhood obesity and various physical ailments, such as cardiovascular problems, later in life. Replace carbonated drinks, sweetened shakes and sodas with fat-free and fresh fruit juices and water. Encourage your child to avoid bakery items and opt for baked snacks or salads instead. [Read: Junk food Ads can lead to Childhood Obesity]
Protein— Protein, which is an essential nutrient for unhampered growth and development, diabetic children also require some amount of protein. The nutritious sources of protein, which you can give to your diabetic child are soy, nuts, seeds, fish and dairy products. Beef and pork are other rich protein sources, but they are high on fats and calories, thus inappropriate for a diabetic child. The recommended protein amount in diabetic children of different age groups are 1.5 g of protein/ per kg of body weight in infants, 0.95 g of protein/kg for kids aged between 4 to 13 and 0.85 g of protein/kg in adolescents aged between 14 to 18.
Fibre— For efficient management of your child’s hyperglycaemic (high blood sugar) or hypoglycaemic (low blood sugar) condition, fibre should be made an integral part of his diet. A ten years-old diabetic kid requires 15g-20g of fibre daily and those in the age group of 13-15 years require around 20-25g. Replace white bread and pastas with whole-grain food items.[Read: Type 1 Diabetes Diet For Children]
Advice for Diabetes Management in Kids
- Meal plan for diabetic children must be designed in accordance with their level of physical activity and their present health condition. The meal should be inclusive of required portions of vegetables, fruits and whole grains.[Read: Exercises for Children with Diabetes]
- Diabetic children must have their meals at regular intervals. Instead of three, they should be given more meals, but in smaller portions.
- They should be asked to never skip their meals. Avoid serving foods at unusual timings, such as just before bedtime. Unusual meal timings and skipping meals cause fluctuation of blood sugar level, which is dangerous.
Be in touch with your child’s doctor to help you monitor your child’s condition regularly and customise his diet plans accordingly.
Read more articles on Diabetes.
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