Let’s face it. Trying to get kids—especially teenagers—to eat healthy is a constant battle. Sure, you can steer their choices when they’re at home. But it’s when they go out that the real challenge begins.
Of course, giving up isn’t an option when your child has diabetes. But with a little planning, you can help your child escape the temptations of junk food and stay on track. Let’s take a look at some common problem areas and what you can do about them:
Step 1: Introduce them to the grocery store
Healthy eating starts at the market. Is your child too young to buy groceries? Now’s a great time to get them involved with meal planning. It’s a great life skill with or without diabetes.
Step 2: Master the art of school lunches
Packing a lunch is the easiest option. That way, you can figure out how much insulin your child might need for the food in their lunch box or bag. But if you choose lunch from the school cafeteria, you can look online or request menus in advance so you can add up carbohydrateCarbohydrateCarbohydrates are the main kinds of food that raise blood glucose levels. Your digestive system changes carbohydrates into glucose, and then uses this glucose as a source of energy for your cells.
There are 3 main types of carbohydrates in food: starches (complex carbohydrates), sugars (simple carbohydrates), and fiber. Fiber is the part of plant foods, including fruits, vegetables, and nuts, that you can’t digest. counts.
Step 3: Learn to eat out in style
Restaurants can be stressful for you and your child. But don’t feel like you have to be counting carbs 100% of the time. Relax and let them enjoy themselves on special occasions. But just in case, some restaurants have nutritional information available on request. Or you can check out their website before you go.
Step 4: Party smart
Having diabetes doesn’t mean your child can’t go to parties and enjoy themselves. But be sure to test their blood glucoseBlood glucoseThe main sugar found in the blood, and the body’s main source of energy. levels before and right after the party, at bedtime, and when they wake up the next morning. You may need to adjust their insulinInsulinA hormone made by the beta cells in the pancreas that helps glucose move from the blood into the cells. Insulin is also an injectable medicine that is used to treat diabetes by controlling the level of glucose in the blood. dose to help keep the balance.
Step 5: Sleepover time
When your child sleeps over at a friend’s house, you’ll need to plan ahead. Make sure they have everything they need to manage their diabetes, like prepared meals. You should also tell the parents they are staying with about their diabetes and how to manage low blood glucose if it happens.
Want to learn more about healthy eating with diabetes?
Check out the Diabetes Food Hub from the American Diabetes Association. It’s a great source for recipes, meal planning, and shopping tips.