The things we take for granted about day to day living can be pretty complex for children born with type 1 Diabetes. These children have to take extra care to manage their blood sugar levels. They have to avoid becoming hyperglycemic (high blood sugar) and hypoglycemic (low blood sugar); both can cause great harm to the child and result in extreme health consequences. Like most health conditions, one of the best ways to treat and manage them is through proper diet and exercise. The diet is particularly important in case of type 1 Diabetes as the food you eat is directly responsible for regulating blood sugar levels. There are 3 type of meal plans that are utilized for diabetics.
Exchange Meal Plan
This plan divides food into six groups: milk, starch, fruit, vegetable, meat, and fat. The plan gives a serving size to each group; each serving contains a similar amount of protein, fat, calories, and carb.
Constant Carbohydrate Meal Plan
This meal plan has the child eat a set amount of carbs for each meal and snack. They then manage their glucose levels by injecting insulin. It is an easy to follow plan if not a bit linear.
Carbohydrate Counting Meal Plan
This plan requires the diabetic person to estimate the number of carbs in the foods they’re eating for each snack and meal and match their insulin dosages to the carb amount.
Depending on how active your child is, they may need to supplement their meal times with snacks, regardless of the types of meal plan you’re adhering to. When making snacks remember to focus on them being low carb and low in fat – these two types of food can cause spikes in blood sugar levels. Try to serve whole natural foods like fresh fruit, vegetables, trail mix, or low fat cheeses.