As a parent, it can be stressful and disheartening if your child is diagnosed with type 1 diabetes or juvenile diabetes. This condition, as you might already know, is caused by a lack of insulin in your kid’s body, wherein the pancreas gland is unable to produce insulin. Insulin is a hormone that is required by the body to process sugar or glucose that is obtained from carbohydrates, for energy. So, if your toddler’s body lacks insulin, his blood glucose level will rise, leading to this diabetic state. However, this article will help you understand this condition better and implement a healthy diet plan for your child.
Symptoms of type 1 diabetes in children
- Children affected by type 1 diabetes feel thirstier and drink and urinate more frequently. This is mainly due to the excess sugar build-up in the bloodstream. In extreme conditions, the child might also suffer from bedwetting.
- Since there isn’t enough sugar in the body’s cells, your child might feel extremely tired or hungry.
- A child suffering from juvenile diabetes might lose weight rapidly. The lack of energy can also result in lowering of the stored fat in the body.
- Children suffering from type 1 diabetes might exhibit many behavioural changes like frequent mood swings or deteriorating performance in school.
- Their breath might have a fruit-like odour due to their body burning the fat, instead of sugar.
- Juvenile diabetes can also cause the problem of blurred vision, as high blood sugar level might pull fluids from the lenses of the eyes. Your child might find it tough to focus on an object.
- In girls who are suffering from type 1 diabetes, genital yeast infections are common.
Diet tips for kids who have juvenile diabetes
First, consult a paediatrician who can recommend a meal plan for a child with type 1 diabetes. Also, some of the general dietary guidelines you can follow to manage juvenile diabetes are:
- Children suffering from type 1 diabetes should eat a balanced diet and follow a proper meal plan. They should take small meals at regular intervals.
- The recommended meal plan must limit extra fat and calories, as these can result in excess weight gain, or increase the risk of health problems like heart disease.
- You should also reduce their intake of food items that can increase the risk of hypertension and macrovascular diseases. So, keep junk foods that are high in salt or sugar at bay.
- Children above 2 years of age should be given a high-fibre diet as it can cause a slow release of sugar in the blood.
As far as protein intake is concerned, children suffering from juvenile diabetes should consume only recommended amounts. The protein should only be 12-20% of the total caloric requirement.
- Children suffering from diabetes are usually low in energy, and therefore, they should be given more carbohydrates, along with fibres, vitamins, and minerals.
- Fibre intake should be increased in children with diabetes. They should be given whole unpeeled fruits as well as seeds, vegetables, legumes, oats, beans, and whole-grain cereals. Soluble fibres can improve cholesterol level and slow down carbohydrate absorption. This can ultimately reduce the blood glucose level and insulin requirements. A high fibre diet should be given only after the age of 3 years though.
Last but not the least; a diabetic child should be given some bedtime snacks which have low glycaemic index and contain protein and fat. This can prevent delayed post-exercise or post-playtime hypoglycaemia. With a bit of caution and plenty of healthy and balanced meals, your toddler should be living life like every other kid.