Diabetis in kids

Diet Tips For Kids With Diabetes

To manage the sugar and energy level both, kids with Type 1 or Type II diabetes need to stay on healthy diet. When we say healthy diet it means balanced diet.

The 3 essential nutrients – fats, proteins, and carbohydrates affect blood glucose level in different ways.

Fats: Fat typically does not breakdown to sugar and if it is, it will be a small amount.  However, fat does slow down digestion, and this can cause blood glucose to rise slower than it normally would. After a high-fat meal, your child’s blood glucose may be elevated up to 12 hours after the meal.

Proteins: Unless you eat more than what you need, protein does not affect blood glucose. Kids body need about 6 ounces or less protein at each meal.

Carbohydrates:  For people with diabetes, knowing the amount of carbohydrates in the food you eat is essential. All of the carbohydrates in food turn into sugar in the blood, and they get into the blood at a much quicker rate than fats and proteins. Carbohydrates enter the blood stream an hour after consumption and are usually out of the blood stream in 2 hours. This is the reason to check the blood sugar level before and after he or she eats. The ideal measurement after the meal should be within 30-50 points of the pre-meal levels. If it is not, you will need to adjust the carb content of the meal or adjust your child’s insulin dosage.

For a healthy growth, child need to follow the proper meal plan and it is parents responsibility to look into the meal planning.

Here are food groups and varieties of food recommended for kids with diabetes. When you shop for these foods, look for low -fat” or “no-fat”.  Low fat items are good. However, care should be taken as low fat does not mean no calories or low in calories. They may contain sugar for taste which adds calories for the food.

From the bread group:

  • Air popped popcorn, baked chips, breadsticks, graham crackers
  • low and no fat rolls, low-fat crackers
  • pretzels, baked chips, trail mix, vanilla wafers
  • rice cakes with fruit spread or all natural peanut butter

From the dairy foods group:

  • frozen, low-fat, no sugar added yogurt or ice cream
  • smoothies (made with non-fat yogurt, fruit, skim milk, and ice cubes)
  • Low fat: cheese, ricotta, milk, yogurt and string cheese.

From the fruits and vegetables group:

  • banana slices, melon balls, oranges and tangerine sections, apple wedges, peach or pear slices, raisins or yogurt covered raisins, strawberry slices, papaya, unsweetened fruit juices.
  • baby carrots or carrot sticks, celery sticks stuffed with low-fat cream cheese or natural peanut butter, cherry tomatoes, cucumber slices, tomato and vegetables juices

Snack planning for children with diabetes:

1. Let children snack mid morning and mid afternoon. The proper time for snacking is not before the meal.

2. Introduce variety of snacks for children – they should feel happy about the varieties of snacks.

3. Make a special lunch box for younger children who go to school. Be creative about food, learn newer recipes and let lunch be interesting.

4. Use peanut butter, low-fat sour cream, and low-fat cream cheese as dips for fruits and cut vegetables. etc.

5. Do not give old and stale foods to children. For children under three do not give nuts, raisins, popcorns, vegetables and whole fruits. They may choke on these foods.

6. Give choices of comparable snacks when you suggest food: ice cream or yogurt, papaya or apple, strawberry or apple rather than breadstick or tomato.

7. Learn about serving size for diabetic children and give children proper amount of food.

8. If you come across new recipe for diabetic kid, confirm the nutrition value. If it is suitable for your child, try the new item. Do not give up if the child does not eat. Introduce again in small amount and slowly increase the quantity.

9. Adults should snack on healthy snacks too. When children with juvenile diabetes watch this, they will learn to eat healthy foods.

10. Children need fat and cholesterol for their growth. Instead of restricting and cutting down totally on fat and cholesterol go for low fat dairy products.

11. Understand the appropriate and age related food groups. Children’s need for food will change with their age in terms of quantity and food groups as well.


  • http://kidshealth.org/
  • http://www.childrenwithdiabetes.com/
  • https://medlineplus.gov
  • https://www.endocrineweb.com

Image credit: Photo by Kelly Sikkema on Unsplash (Free for commercial use)

Author: Sumana Rao | Posted on: August 2, 2022

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