University College Hospital. Food and diabetes: healthy eating for over five s

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1 University College Hospital Food and diabetes: healthy eating for over five s Children and Young People s Diabetes Service There is no special diet recommended for people with diabetes. Healthy eating recommendations for children and young people with diabetes are no different from anyone else of the same age. It should be the same healthy diet that the whole family can enjoy. There are no foods that need to be completely avoided, just try to make healthy choices most of the time. It is important to know which foods contain carbohydrate and match insulin with these foods. See our Introduction to Carbohydrate Counting Guide. This factsheet is for children and young people over five years of age. Speak to your Dietitian for healthy eating advice if your child is less than five years of age. What is healthy eating? All of the foods we eat can be divided into five food groups. The key is to consume a variety of foods from across the groups. The Eatwell Plate shows how to get a good balance of these food groups for all children over five years of age. Try to have plenty of carbohydrates (yellow), fruits and vegetables (green), some milk and dairy (blue) and protein (pink) and not have too many fats and sugars (purple).

2 Breads, rice, potatoes, pasta and other starchy foods Bread, rolls, crackers and chappatis Breakfast cereals and oats Pasta, noodles, rice and cous cous Potatoes, yam and plantain Products made with flour or other grains such as maize, millet or cornmeal These foods provide carbohydrate (energy), fibre, B vitamins and some minerals, such as calcium and iron. Aim to base all of your meals and most of your snacks on these foods Choose high fibre versions such as wholegrain or wholemeal options as much as possible. These foods contain more fibre and nutrients and keep you feeling fuller for longer. Refined carbohydrates (white bread, cornflakes, rice krispies, cakes, biscuits) have had the fibre removed, are digested very quickly and can cause you blood glucose levels to rise and fall more quickly. Avoid too many carbohydrate foods with added fats and sugars, such as sugary cereals, fried rice and chips. Go for plain cereals, boiled pasta and rice or baked potatoes most of the time. Fruits and vegetables Fresh fruits and vegetables Frozen fruits and vegetables Tinned fruits and vegetables Salad vegetables Pure Fruit juice Dried fruits This group provides a variety of vitamins and minerals and fibre. Vitamins and minerals are essential to keep your body healthy and fibre looks after your digestive system. Fruits and some vegetables contain carbohydrate. Aim to have at least five portions of fruits and vegetables each day; one portion is about one handful (for each individual). Try to include a wide variety of different coloured fruits and vegetables as different colours provide different vitamins and minerals. It is best to only have a small amount of fruit juice with a meal, rather than drinking lots in between meals as the natural sugars can increase your blood glucose levels quickly. Fruit juices only count as one portion of your fruits and vegetables each day, however much you drink. It is best to eat whole fruits, which also contain fibre. 2

3 When choosing tinned fruits and vegetables, go for those tinned in natural juice or water, rather than brine or syrup to help limit the salt and sugar in your diet. Milk and dairy foods Milk Cheese Yoghurt These foods provide protein, calcium and vitamins. Calcium helps keep your bones and teeth healthy, which is particularly important when you are growing. Milk and yoghurt contain carbohydrate. Aim for about three portions of dairy foods each day. One portion is one pot of yoghurt, a glass of milk, milk on your cereal or a matchbox sized piece of cheese. Dairy foods can be high in saturated fats, which isn t good for your heart, so choose low fat diary foods such as semi-skimmed or skimmed milk, low fat yoghurts and low fat cheeses. Meat, fish, eggs, beans and other non-dairy protein foods Meat (beef, pork, lamb) Meat products (sausages, burgers, meatballs) Poultry (chicken, turkey) Offal (liver, kidney) Fish and shellfish (fresh, frozen, tinned) Eggs Beans and pulses (baked beans, chickpeas, lentils) Nuts Vegetarian meat alternatives These foods provide protein, iron and other vitamins and minerals. They are important for growth. Aim to have these foods with two-three meals each day. Some of these foods can be high in saturated fats, therefore limit high fat and salty processed meats, such as salami, sausage and beef burgers and fried fish and meats. Remove the fat and skin from meat and go for more lean meats and fish. Try to replace some meat with beans and pulses. 3

4 It is recommended to have fish once or twice each week. Try to have oily fish such as salmon, mackerel or sardines once each week. Oily fish contain omega 3 fatty acids, which are good for your heart. Foods and drinks high in fat and/or sugar Butter, margarine, spreads, cooking oils Mayonnaise and salad dressings Biscuits and cakes Puddings and ice-creams Chocolate and sweets Crisps Sugary drinks Sweet and savoury pastries These foods are not essential to good health, but we all enjoy them. Eating too many can lead to you becoming overweight and cause tooth decay, therefore include these foods occasionally in small amounts Salt Too much salt in the diet is not healthy and can cause high blood pressure. Try not to add salt at the table, and flavour with herbs and spices when cooking instead. Limit salty processed foods such as ready meals, pizzas, baked beans, soups and processed meats. Check the labels of products and choose the ones lower in salt Drinks Sugary drinks damage your teeth, can cause you to become overweight and cause your blood glucose levels to rise quickly. Avoid sugary drinks, such as fizzy drinks, sports drinks, fruit juice and squash, unless you need them to treat a hypo Go for water or semi-skimmed milk most of the time, but remember milk contains carbohydrate. Try not to have more than one pint of milk each day. Limit fruit juice to a small amount with a meal up to once a day Sugar-free fruit squashes or diet fizzy drinks are OK to have sometimes, they do not affect your blood glucose levels, however they can damage your teeth 4

5 Diabetic Products Diabetic products are not recommended; they are often high in fat, expensive and contain sugar alcohols, which act as a laxative. If you would like a treat, go for a small amount of normal food occasionally and count the carbohydrates. It can be easier to manage your blood glucose levels if they are included as part of a meal, rather than between meals. Summary Have regular meals Include starchy carbohydrate with all meals; go for wholegrain, high fibre varieties more often. Have fruits or vegetables with all meals Have a low-fat protein food two-three times each day and try to have oily fish once each week Include three portions of low-fat dairy foods each daily Limit foods high in sugar, salt and fat to occasional treats Avoid sugary drinks, unless treating a hypo Avoid diabetic products Making changes to your diet If you feel you need to make changes to your diet, don t try to do too much in one go. Set your self small, achievable goals and once these have become habit, try another change. Speak to your Dietitian if you would like further advice and support. Contact numbers: Office Hours (8am 6pm): (Dietitian and Children s Diabetes Nurses) Out of Hours: and page Paediatric On-call Registrar Expert advice and information about children and young people's type 1 diabetes at If you need a large print, audio or translated copy of this document, please contact us on We will try our best to meet your needs. First published: 31/07/13 Date last reviewed: 31/07/13 Date next review due: 01/08/2015 Leaflet code: UCLH/S&C/PAED/CYPDS/FOOD/1 University College London Hospitals NHS Foundation Trust 5

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