Diet Tips for Juvenile Diabetes
Created by Tanuja Sodhi Updated on Mar 16, 2013
The trauma and tremors felt on discovering that your little angel suffers from Type I Diabetes is totally understandable. This harrowing revelation can be really daunting and can monumentally change the child’s life forever. In fact it’s over-whelming for the entire family at first, as the parents have to make major lifestyle changes to deal with the malady; but with support and time, it becomes manageable and a part of the daily routine.
A normal day in a diabetic person’s life requires drawing blood from finger tips and testing blood with a glucometer at least four times, at least three insulin injections and monitoring carbohydrate intake. Sounds like a lot to ask of anyone, especially young children, but with support from family, friends, doctors and dieticians, they can definitely do it. It is in fact advisable that your child is made to understand the seriousness of this disease even if he/she is still young. It’s better that the kids learn what they need to know to control diabetes, rather than allowing diabetes to control them. So, instead of sheltering your child from the illness, talk to them constantly and teach them to handle the situation wisely.
Diet tips to Control and Manage Juvenile Diabetes
Some crucial diet tips that can help control and manage juvenile diabetes are given below:
• 3 major meals and 2-3 healthy snacks must be inculcated as part of the daily diet.
• Never skip a single meal as it could lead to undesirable sugar spikes. Especially never skip breakfast as it is the most crucial meal of the day.
• The amount of carbohydrates consumed can affect blood sugar levels, so keep a tab on how much carbohydrates your child eats.
• You need to curb sweets and not ban sweets completely. One needs to be judicious as far as dessert is concerned, and the sugar profile of the individual should be the deciding factor here. So, dessert doesn’t have to be off limits, as long as it’s a part of a healthy meal plan.
• Eat sweets with a meal, rather than as a stand-alone snack. When eaten alone, sweets cause your blood sugar to spike. But if one must eat sweets, it should be eaten along with other healthy food, and the blood sugar won’t rise as rapidly.
• Avoid processed/packaged/ready-to-eat foods like ready to eat snack, frozen heat and eat meat, frozen potato wedges, etc. Make the child eat natural meats such as chicken breasts, grilled fish, eggs, nuts, baked potatoes, lentils, legumes, etc.
• Avoid simple carbohydrates (highly refined) such as white bread, white rice, sugar, processed refined flour and its products, sugar-coated cereals, instant oats, white potato, aerated drinks, candy, cakes, pastries, cookies, etc. Go for complex carbohydrates (slow release) such as whole grain/multigrain bread, brown rice, plain rolled oats and other cereals, yams, sweet potato, winter squash, whole-wheat pasta, etc. They are good sources of fibre and they are digested slowly, keeping blood sugar levels more even.
• Administer a healthy diet that includes protein, carbohydrates and fats. All three are required for the body to function properly. The key is a balanced diet.
• Avoid too much salt in the form of table salt, salty snacks, processed foods with preservatives, papad, pickles, sauces, ketchup, readymade soups, etc.
• Eat plenty of vegetables and fruits every day.
• Choose foods with healthy fats such as olive oil, canola oil, nuts (almonds and walnuts), flaxseeds, oily fish like salmon and tuna, low fat dairy like curd, buttermilk. Limit saturated fats from full fat dairy, fried foods and other animal products such as red meat and too many eggs.
• Incorporate special diabetes foods that help control the problem, such as bitter gourd (karela) ,fenugreek (methi), Indian blackberry (jamun), garlic, onion, cinnamon and flaxseed.
• Include fibre in diet in the form of foods such as apples, hard pear, kidney beans, black-eyed beans, dried peas, walnuts, sprouts, green vegetables oatmeal, and soya bean. These aid slow digestion and absorption of nutrients, resulting in a slow and steady release of glucose.
• Focus on maintaining a balance between energy intake / expenditure (input vs. output), body requirements and insulin action to prevent adverse effects of hypoglycemia or hyperglycemia.
• Eat slowly and stop when full.
• Control portion sizes. Eat small meals but eat often.
• Stick to regular meal times: Regular meal times help the body to regulate blood sugar levels.
• Keep your child active through regular exercise.
• Maintain a food diary if possible.
So, don't let juvenile diabetes get the best of your child. Show your precious little child the best way to manage his diet so she is capable of taking care of herself when she grows up. There will be road blocks but nothing that can’t be handled by tweaking the lifestyle a little.