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February 21, 2001

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from America On-Line:

I daycare a child who is two and one-half years old and has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. What kinds of foods can I give in the way of snacks and other foods?

Answer:

Thank you for your concern for this child. I am hoping the parents of the child have talked with you regarding what they need in terms of snacks and meals for their child as timing of food is an important part of diabetes management. The Food Guide Pyramid is a good example of what to feed a child with diabetes. The amounts of food containing carbohydrate need to be determined for each meal and snack. Juice is something that will raise a small child’s blood sugar very fast so should be limited to once a day with a meal or snack. We do not advocate eliminating sugar entirely, however, younger children have more of a response to foods with sugar. The parents should have received education regarding their child’s meal plan. Ask them to share it with you. If possible, I would record what the child eats at preschool and give it to the parents daily. The goal is for children of this age to grow and develop normally and to keep their blood sugars in a moderate range — not too high and not too low.

JM