Juvenile Diabetes Diet – Guidelines and Recommendations

A juvenile diabetes diet is a treatment as well as a proactive way for a child or teen living with diabetes to manage their condition. It is important that every child with juvenile diabetes learn to "eat a healthy diet to help achieve a normal body weight while getting the nutrients needed to grow and develop" (1)

Diet recommendations may vary depending on specific needs of your diabetic child or teen. For instance, a doctor may recommend a diet low in salt or low in fat if your loved one has other conditions present such as high blood pressure or abnormal levels of fat in the blood.

Juvenile diabetes diet guidelines

Because the goal of a juvenile diabetes diet is to manage blood sugar levels more effectively, it will help if a child with diabetes maintains a consistent eating pattern that is repeated each day. By doing this it will be easier to predict how much medication will be needed to keep the blood sugar levels within the target range.

In type 2 diabetics especially, weight may be a factor that needs addressed. If the child or teen is overweight, then a diabetes diet that is lower in calories will be prescribed.

A diabetes weight loss diet does not mean the child should starve in order to drop the pounds; in fact, this could do more harm than good.

Instead, a child should focus on making healthier food choices. For instance, by substituting fresh fruit which is high in fiber and good carbohydrates for simple sugar foods like candy or sweets, blood sugar levels will spike less and lead to a better insulin response by the body.

Juvenile diabetes diet meal planning

  1. Avoid saturated fats such as those found in animal products (fatty meats, whole milk and whole milk products).
  2. Avoid trans fats. These man-made fats are found in fried foods, French fries, and many baked goods and pre-packaged snack foods.
  3. Increase consumption of mono-unsaturated and poly-unsaturated fats such as olive oil, sunflower oil, corn oils, peanut oil, canola oil, soybeans, nuts and fish.
  4. Increase fiber-rich foods such as whole grains, fresh fruits and vegetables, nuts, seeds and legumes.
  5. Limit salt in foods as well as salt added to foods.

A dietitian or nutritionist can be consulted to help with meal planning. They can custom fit a juvenile diabetes diet to specific needs for each individual with diabetes. They can also help balance food intake with insulin intake for better management of blood sugar levels.

(1) Kids Health (2010). Living with type 2 diabetes. Retrieved from http://kidshealth.org/parent/medical/endocrine/type2.html#

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