There are so many things to learn when a child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes and understanding how food affects blood sugar numbers is just one of them. A few nutrition tips and guidelines to follow…
According to the Education Team at the Diabetes Research Institute, kids with T1D shouldn’t feel deprived or made to feel that they can’t eat certain foods, which could lead to an unhealthy relationship with food later in life. Flexibility, not restriction, is the key ingredient.
The insulin to carb ratio is used to allow patients to have a better understanding of how to cover for the food they eat – whether it’s a dessert or a piece of fruit. And remember, there are no good or bad numbers. Rather than allowing the numbers to become the focus, use them more like a story teller to provide information for a future strategy. It’s about trying to make sense of the numbers and how to best control them with insulin.
Since carbohydrates are broken down into glucose, eating too much can cause blood sugar levels to rise. That’s why, it’s helpful to learn about carb counting. It might take some practice, but this guide on “Carbohydrate Counting” can help.
A Family Approach
Having a family approach to healthy eating with consistency between siblings (and parents) often leads to success. Healthy eating habits are a key component to optimal health and wellness whether you have diabetes or not. Adopt smart habits that ensure adequate amounts of essential vitamins and minerals. Consult with a registered dietician with experience in pediatric nutrition and diabetes to help with meal planning and to accommodate food preferences, appetites, cultural influences, physical activity patterns and schedules.
Most importantly, avoid perfectionism and try to find a balance that allows for better blood sugar control – and happy, healthy kids.
Special thanks to Robyn Webb, award-winning cookbook author and nutritionist, and her two young chef assistants, Annika and Chiara, who both have type 1 diabetes, for creating this helpful video featuring smart substitutions. In case you missed it, check out the Cooking Crew’s first video on “How to Make Peanut Butter Balls.”
Stay tuned for more useful tips from the PEP Squad!