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May 22, 2001

Meal Planning, Food and Diet

Question from Dublin, Ireland:

What special factors are associated with the diet for children with diabetes?

Answer:

The most important factors are that the child receives good nutrition to promote normal growth and development while maintaining blood sugars in the target range. It is important for all people to have a healthy diet which includes all the foods in the Food Guide Pyramid. This means that sweets and fats are in the smallest triangle. It does not mean that children with diabetes cannot have certain foods, but they must calculate how they fit them into their meal plans and make sure they are not getting an overabundance of them.

Growth is a very good indicator of how well a management plan is working. A good balance between food, insulin and exercise is imperative and requires frequent monitoring. I encourage young children to “make friends” with as many fruits and veggies as they can — often a lot easier said than done, but a terrifically good habit to form.

JM