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From Iowa, USA:

Is there a general guideline for planning meals for diabetic children? I am a school food service director. We preplan our menus in a 20 day cycle, and I would like to modify and plan for our diabetic students (we have 5) so that they know what would make a balanced meal. The regulations say the parents should give us what is acceptable and not, but we don't always have or offer some of the items that I have seen listed.


I am not quite sure of what you are asking. When we work with the children at our program, we tell the parents to visit with the school folks to give them an idea of how they want their child with diabetes handled at school. Most of the time the menus are sent out ahead of time so families can pick and choose the meals that the child will eat. If there are children on meal plans that require substitutions of fruits or starches for sweets, then the substitutions are requested ahead of time. You may want to pick up a copy of the Meal Planning with Exchanges which is available from the American Diabetes Association. Many children these days are on the carbohydrate counting system of meal planning which allows them to have any food, including the ones with sugar as long as it is worked into the total amount of carbohydrate allowed for the meal. The amounts of foods served is a very important piece of information for families as they try to work the school menus into their daily lives.

I hope some of this addressed your concerns. It sounds like the children in your school are lucky to have someone who is so concerned about helping them.


Additional Comments from Dr. Lebinger:

First of all, I'l like to compliment you on your concern and interest. It is quite likely that each of your 5 students with diabetes have different meal plans and recommendations from their doctors. If you know the menus in advance, it is helpful to send them home so the parents can indicate which meals would be okay for their children (and how much of each food would be okay) and let you know about problem days - foods their child won't eat, or are so high in carbohydrate that it is hard to make substitutions.

If the parents will send in a copy of their lunch meal plan, that would also be a help. Another great help would be if you could let the parents know the nutritional breakdown of foods served at lunch. This is especially hard for parents to figure out when foods such as pasta are served and they have no idea of the portion size served.

Another big help would be to always have a substitution available that the child can request if they don't like the lunch or it doesn't fit their meal plan. Simple sandwiches, milk, fresh fruit, plain cookies, cake, and many flavors of ice cream can usually be fit into the meal plan.


Original posting 7 Aug 1998
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet and Social Issues: School and Daycare


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:08:58
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