Eating a structured meal plan can be a difficult adjustment for a child, but it is critical to maintaining healthy blood sugar. Living with diabetes no longer means cutting out sweets completely; instead, it means eating a healthy, balanced diet that every growing child needs. A balanced diet features foods from the three major groups - protein, carbohydrates and fats - in the appropriate amounts.

Meeting nutritional needs of your child requires some changes in food shopping and preparation and keeping the right snack foods available. Your dietitian provides the best source for guidance with meal planning and helping your child follow a food plan. In general, the same nutritional principles apply to all people with diabetes - children or adults. Some people with diabetes use carbohydrate counting or food exchanges to ensure a healthy balance of nutrients to maintain the blood sugar target range.

With a little extra effort and planning, children with diabetes can live a normal life. When your child eats out at restaurants, choose the lower fat options and healthier desserts, such as frozen yogurt. Also, do not overdo the bread. When your child goes to a party, call ahead of time to check what foods will be served. You might want to pack some healthy snacks. Check the blood glucose of your child beforehand; giving some extra insulin might also be a good idea. And being a person with diabetes does not mean your child must forgo birthday cake - as long as you prepare for it.


Reviewed by Clara Schneider MS, RD, RN, CDE, LDN - 05/13