Menu for a Child Diabetic

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The menu for a diabetic child should include at least three meals and three snacks, with a source of carbohydrates, protein and healthy fat during each meal. Include protein to help stabilize blood sugar in diabetics with insight from a licensed dietitian in this free video on diabetic nutrition.

Part of the Video Series: Nutritional Supplements
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Video Transcript

My name is Christine Marquette and I'm a registered and licensed dietitian with Marquette Nutrition and Fitness and I've been asked what is a menu for a child diabetic. This will vary a lot depending on the age of the child, whether they're a toddler, a grade school age child or a teenager, their needs are going to be very different. The main thing to keep in mind is that a child needs small frequent meals. At a bare minimum they would need to have three meals and three snacks. All of these meals and snacks need to have a source of carbohydrate but you do want to control the actual portion size. It also is very important that is has a source of protein and a source of healthy fat. So for example a breakfast if the child likes cereal, you want to make sure that it's a low sugar cereal, something like a plain Cheerios, they can have a small portion say for example three quarters of a cup with half a cup of milk, that would be one and a half carb servings so far. If you added a piece of fruit to it, that would be another carb serving, that would be two and a half. But you really want to include some protein because so far, they primarily have carbohydrate and if that's all they eat, there's that potential that their blood sugar could increase significantly and then drop after they have spent a few hours without eating. If you include a protein or healthy fat, that will help stabilize their blood sugar in the sense that it will slow down how fast their stomach can digest the carbohydrate. So it's a really good idea to include some sort of fat or protein for example you can include a handful of nuts in their cereal or if they like peanut butter, you can put a little bit of peanut butter on maybe a slice of toast or a couple of crackers or if they like eggs, maybe a boiled egg or a slice of cheese or something that has again, some protein or fat. You definitely want to make sure that first meal has a combination of carbohydrate with protein. Generally it's best if there's not more than three servings of carbohydrate for most people, but again it will be dependent on your child's age, their size, how active they are. A good source of information for menu specific menus for children who have diabetes is the American Diabetes Association. Their website is www.diabetes.org and they have a wealth of information, recipes, menus and not just for children but for adults as well. There's also a book that's put out by the International Diabetes Center called My Food Plan for Kids and Teens, that's another good resource, gives a lot of examples of menus for children who have diabetes.

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