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  • Q&A with Australian Health Practitioners

    What is a healthy diet for children who have type 2 diabetes?

  • Find a professional to answer your question

  • Samantha Ling

    Dietitian, Nutritionist

    Samantha is an Accredited Practicing Dietitian (APD), consultant and food and nutrition enthusiast. Samantha works in a private practice on the Central Coast, NSW, Rostant … View Profile

    The type of diet recommended for a diabetic is no different than what is recommended for the rest of the population.

    As diabetes increases your risk of heart disease (as well as many other health complications) there is a greater focus on lowering your risk via lifestyle modifications, such as preventing excess weight gain, enjoying physical activity/exercise for at least 30 minutes everyday and eating a balanced, low fat, diet. However, these lifestyle modifications are what we all should be doing in order to prevent health complications ourselves.

    Generally, a diet packed full of vegetables, wholegrain breads/cereals, fruit, dairy/dairy alternatives and meat/meat alternatives will help your child meet their nutritional recommendations. Including low GI options will assist in managing how quickly food raises your child's blood sugar levels (High GI foods will cause greater increases in blood sugar levels than low GI foods). An Accredited Practicing Dietitian can help explain the benefits of consuming a lower GI diet and provide an outline of low GI foods/products available.

    For information on nutritional guidelines for kids, including serves from each food group, visit:

    For more information on the GI content of food visit:

    Good luck!

    Samantha Ling
    Rostant Nutrition
    (Find us on Facebook at

  • Kate Freeman


    I’m extremely passionate about providing honest, simple nutrition advice and doing it in such a way that inspires and motivates you to make positive lifestyle … View Profile

    Children need to follow the same health recommendations that adults need. So, the best way to manage Type II diabetes is with healthy eating and exercise. Keeping children as active as possible is really important in managing their blood sugar levels, just as much as it is in adults. The main thing with children is to make sure that they're still getting plenty of energy to grow. So, essentially they want to be eating regularly to keep their blood sugar levels nice and stable.

    They probably shouldn't go any longer than three to four hours without food, meaning they need to have breakfast, mid-morning snacks, lunch, afternoon tea, and dinner and maybe a snack again afterwards. They need to be eating quite regularly and following just the general Australian dietary guidelines which say that choosing low GI carbohydrates that are made from whole grains, and that are not highly processed.

    Wholemeal breads, wholemeal pastas, brown rice, and then other whole grains like oats, barley, etc., generally should be a really regular part of their diet. They also need to have protein, so making sure they have some kind of lean protein at each of their meals. Dairy foods, low-fat dairy foods, lean meats, nuts, if they don't have a nut allergy obviously, and eggs. Plenty of fresh vegetables and two servings of fruit are essential.

    Obviously children with diabetes need to reduce their intake of processed foods that are high in sugar and saturated fats, so making sure that most of their food comes from whole grain, whole food rather than highly processed and packaged foods.

  • Lisa Renn


    Lisa is an APD with 12 years experience, specialising in helping people identify and change habits that impact negatively on their health. Inspiring change, Lisa … View Profile

    Hi there,
    the important thing for all kids is to have healthy role models, It's no good making a child eat healthy if everyone else in the family is not!

    This is particularly important for a child with type 2 diabetes. If they are singled out because of their “disease” they will quickly learn to rebel against everything healthy.

    So the best approach is one the whole family is involved in- that is, you exercise together and you eat healthy meals together most of the time. Having the extra's food on occasion is also important as never letting a child have any “junk” food is not the answer either.

    It's a balance and an Accredited Practising Dietitian can be a really important part of creating this balance for a healthy sustainable lifestyle that accomodates the management of type 2 diabetes.
    Good Luck!

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