Planning meals for children can be a daunting task. Add a special dietary requirement like diabetes, and it is understandable to feel overwhelmed. Diabetes affects every food choice that your child makes, and you must make sure you have safe options available for him. Understanding the basics of menu planning for diabetes is essential to creating a kid-friendly menu that will not send his blood sugar skyrocketing. Armed with the recommended carbohydrate grams that he should eat per meal from your child's nutritionist or physician, help him make the right selections.
Create a breakfast that is balanced with a serving of protein, vegetables and grains. Omelets with low-fat cheese stuffed with low-starch vegetables such as sauteed spinach, mushrooms and tomatoes are a good way to add a lot of content and vitamins to breakfast without needless carbohydrates. Choose a multi-grain toast for a high-quality carbohydrate. If you want to create a sweet breakfast, make kid-friendly French toast sticks with a multi-grain bread and sugar-free syrup or natural applesauce without added sugar for dipping. Serve it with a small amount of fresh fruit or berries for added health benefits.
Lunch options are as varied for children with diabetes as they are for children who are not diabetic. Make chicken fingers for your kids by cutting breasts in strips or purchasing pre-cut tenders. Cook them without the carbohydrate-laden breading and serve them with light dipping sauces or low-calorie dressing. Pizza is not off the menu, either. Use whole wheat English muffins as the crust and build homemade pizzas. Encourage your kids to add vegetables instead of high-fat meats, and use low-fat cheese. Serve lunch with low-fat milk, water or a sugar-free drink. Add a vegetable and fruit side for quality carbohydrates that are loaded with vitamins.
Create balanced dinners with half of your child's plate made up of non-starchy vegetables such as greens, squash and eggplant. Select a whole grain, complex carbohydrate like brown rice for a small carbohydrate serving. Finish the meal with lean proteins such as pork, fish and boneless, skinless chicken. Cut fish fillets into sticks and bake them with a light bread-crumb coating for fresh fish sticks. Provide low-fat dairy such as skim milk with dinner as well.
Encourage your child to have vegetable sticks such as carrots, celery and zucchini for light, healthy snacks. Add a side of light ranch dressing as a dip. Another ideal snack choice is whole grain crackers and low-fat cheese slices or cottage cheese. The protein in the cheese slows the carbohydrate digestion and blood glucose impact.