Managing diabetes in children
Making the correct food choices is often challenging, but it is of crucial importance for people living with diabetes – especially children.
Diabetes (Shutterstock)
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“Simple things, like going to a birthday party, playing sports, or staying overnight with friends, all need careful planning,” says non-profit organisation, Diabetes SA. “Every day, children with diabetes may need to take insulin or oral medication. They also need to check their blood glucose several times during the day. For school-age children, these tasks can make them feel 'different' from their classmates.”
 
According to the South African Journal of Child Health,type 1 diabetes is increasing in all age groups, with a disproportionately steep increase in preschool children. The South African Diabetes Research Group estimates type 1 diabetes is growing by 3% a year in children and adolescents and by 5% a year in preschool children.
 
It has also been noted that there is a disturbing increase in type 2 diabetes; which is usually associated with an unhealthy lifestyle in older, overweight adults.
 
Team effort

“Coping with diabetes means major lifestyle changes for children and their families,” says Canderel SA brand manager, Marcelle Pienaar. “The most effective way of managing the condition and staying healthy is for the entire family to make a team effort.”
 
Diabetes SA recommends creating a personal diabetes plan together with a health care provider in order to help the child follow a healthy diet, get regular exercise, check their blood glucose levels and take insulin or oral medication as prescribed. 
 
A child diagnosed with diabetes, also needs to follow a meal plan developed by a physician or a registered dietician that is designed to keep blood glucose levels in the target range. Portion size the right amount of calories for the child’s age and ideas for healthy food choices at meal and snack times should be discussed.
 
Healthy alternatives

Diabetes SA recommends the following general guidelines for choosing food for diabetic children:
 
• Limit fat intake
• Include a food from each of the food groups at each meal
• If overweight, prepare smaller portions and reduce intake of fat
• Cut back on salt
• Drink plenty of water
 
“When it comes to adapting to a diabetic-friendly diet, the key challenge is to keep meals exciting for kids while still adhering to the meal plan and retaining nutritional value,” says Pienaar, adding that the Canderel Kitchen has several exciting recipes that make healthy eating easier and more appealing to children.
 
“Cooking with Canderel and baking with Canderel Yellow instead of sugar will increase your range of dishes without risking your child’s health. You’ll get the same sweetness as sugar – with ten times less kilojoules,” says Pienaar.
 
The following recipes have been specially developed by Canderel are perfect for kids:

Tomato pasta sauce recipe

Homemade ice cream sundae recipe

For more delicious recipes and sugar-free cooking inspiration, visit the Canderel Kitchen.

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