A child with type 1 diabetes does not make enough of a hormone called insulin. Insulin helps sugar enter the body's cells and controls the level of sugar in the blood. When there is not enough insulin in the body, the amount of sugar in the blood reaches very high levels and can be very dangerous. The goal is to try to keep your child's blood sugar at a consistent level through the day. This is done by matching the amounts of insulin to the types and amounts of food eaten. Meal plans can be designed to fit your child's lifestyle.
A child with type 2 diabetes is unable to use the body's insulin efficiently. This causes the blood sugar to rise. Sometimes the blood sugar level can be controlled with just diet and exercise. Sometimes, your child will also need to take oral medicine, have insulin injections, or both.
In all cases, understanding how the food your child eats affects blood sugar is an important part of managing diabetes.
There are several common ways to manage meals. Your diabetes care provider will help you make a meal plan that works for you. Most plans are based on measuring carbohydrates (carbs) in food because carbs have the biggest affect on the blood sugar level.
Three common types of meal plans are:
It is important to meet with a dietitian to develop a meal plan that meets your family's lifestyle.
All meal plans are based on the following principles: