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Diet and diabetes

Diabetes management and meal-planning:
It is important to learn about proper meal-planning when your child has diabetes. The type and amount of food your child eats affects his or her blood sugar levels. If your child eats too much, his or her blood sugar may go up too high. Also, if your child skips meals, his or her blood sugar may go too low. Good blood sugar control requires a balance of food, exercise, and medication. Healthy meals include foods that contain carbohydrates, protein and fat.

What are carbohydrates?
Carbohydrates are an important source of energy for children. Carbohydrates in foods affect the body's blood sugar the most. The body turns carbohydrates into blood sugar. If your child eats too many foods with carbohydrate, then his or her blood sugar can go too high. A dietician can help you decide how much carbohydrate your child needs each day. About half the calories your child eats should come from carbohydrates. Carbohydrate foods should be included with each meal and snack. Sources of carbohydrates include the following:

  • Breads, crackers, and cereals
  • Pasta, rice, and grains
  • Vegetables
  • Milk and milk products
  • Fruit and fruit juice
  • Sugar, honey, jelly and syrup

What are sugars?
Sugar also is a carbohydrate. It does not affect your child's blood sugar any differently than other carbohydrates do. Your child can eat sweets and sugars if they are counted as part of the daily carbohydrate intake. Sweets and sugar do not have many vitamins or minerals, so they should be eaten in small amounts.

Protein and fat in your child's diet:
Protein and fat do not affect the body's blood sugar level as much as carbohydrates. However, the amount of protein and fat in your child's diet may need to be counted as it is important for your child to eat the appropriate amount of protein and fat. Too much fat can increase your child's risk for heart disease and may make it difficult for your child to maintain a healthy weight. Your child's dietician can help you decide how much protein and fat your child needs. Sources of protein include the following:

  • Beef, pork, and lamb
  • Fish and seafood
  • Chicken and turkey
  • Cheese
  • Eggs
  • Peanut butter
  • Butter and margarine
  • Oils and shortening
  • Mayonnaise
  • Sour cream and cream cheese
  • Salad dressing
  • Bacon
  • Nuts and seeds

There are also foods that have carbohydrate, protein, and fat. These foods can affect your child's blood sugar similar to other foods with carbohydrates:

  • Pizza
  • Casseroles
  • Stew and soups
  • Milk and yogurt
  • Beans
  • Sweets (cakes, pies, cookies, chocolate, ice cream)
  • Snack foods (chips, snack cakes, pudding)

A dietician can help you find the meal-plan that works best for your child.

Sample menu-plan:


Breakfast Lunch Supper Bedtime Snack
1/2 cup cereal
1/2 cup milk
1 slice toast
1 tsp. margarine
1/2 cup orange juice
hamburger
1/2 cup corn
1 apple
carrot sticks
1 cup milk
chicken breast & wing
1/2 cup mashed potatoes
dinner roll
1/2 cup greens
1/2 cup fruit cocktail
water
peanut butter sandwich
1/2 cup milk

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Carb Factor App

CHW_CarbFactor_120x120The Children's Hospital of Wisconsin's Carb Factor App gives you a quick and easy way to calculate the exact amount of carbohydrate in the foods you're eating. Learn more.

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