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February 24, 2001

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Georgia, USA:

Our 15 year old daughter has had diabetes for three years, and we are having problems keeping her on track with her eating. We need help in establishing an appropriate diet of required portions. Her blood sugar fluctuates continuously.

Answer:

It is very important that you seek the help of a dietitian who is familiar with diabetes and working with adolescents. A big piece of blood sugar control is being consistent with the amounts of foods eaten at each meal and snack from day to day. In order to do this, you will need to measure foods, especially those containing carbohydrates, to make sure the amounts being consumed are consistent. The American Diabetes Association and the American Dietetic Association have a publication available called Exchange Lists for Meal Planning which should help you understand serving sizes, but you will still need to seek help in determining the appropriate numbers of servings for each meal and snack. You may need to check with your local hospitals to see if you can arrange a meeting with a dietitian. Be sure to ask about carbohydrate counting since this system allows for more freedom of choice and has been proven to provide good blood sugar control when followed.

JM