Pleasing the palate of any child can prove difficult, but preparing a menu that both suits the taste buds and meets the dietary needs of a diabetic child is even more challenging. If your child suffers from diabetes, the foods with which you fill his plate will play a major role in controlling this disorder.
Instead of serving your diabetic child the standard three-square meals a day, you should aim to feed him smaller portions throughout the day, recommends the National Diabetic Information Clearinghouse. By placing your child on an eating plan that includes three meals with three snacks placed between them, you can increase the likelihood that his blood sugar and insulin levels remain in balance. To ensure that this constant eating doesn’t keep you forever in the kitchen, prepare meals and snacks ahead of time and store them in easy-to-grab containers so that you can quickly supply your child will the food he needs, whenever he should need it.
Starches, the food group that rests at the bottom of the food pyramid, have a major impact on your child’s blood sugar level. By feeding your child foods rich in starch, but not in sugar, you can help prevent his blood sugar from surging out of control. Also place a starch in each of his meals. Try kid-friendly options, like bread in the form of rolls, or cheesy rice, as these options provide the starchy punch without extra sugar.
Veggie and Fruit Delights
Vegetables and fruits are a must for a diabetic child. Include one vegetable and one fruit portion with each meal, or, if your child tends to shy away from fruits and veggies, sneak them in at snack time by preparing snacks like apple wedges and cheese or broccoli with low-fat ranch dip.
Sugar-Free Sweet Treats
Just because your child is diabetic, doesn’t mean he can’t enjoy the sugary sweets characteristically popular with children. To ensure that your child’s desire for a cookie doesn’t have health consequences, fill your cookie jar with cookies made with a sugar substitute, or those containing fruits, giving them a natural sweetness without the addition of sugar. Try to avoid having sugary cookies in your kitchen all together, as sugar-free options are generally better for the whole family and not having sugary cookies in the house ensures that your child won’t sneak one.
Family Meal Change
Instead of preparing a diabetic-friendly meal for your child and a different meal for the rest of the family, save yourself some time and modify the way in which the entire family eats. Diabetic diets are generally low in sugar and fats and high in health foods such as whole grains, fruits and vegetables. While the other members of your family may not need to subsist on a diet of this type, doing so certainly won’t be a detriment.