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.
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.
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#