Guide to Healthy Carbohydrates for Children, Meal Planning, Dietary Recommendations, and Metabolic Health Tips

Author: Yean Toh | Published date: November 16, 2023 | Category: Nutrition

Importance of Carbohydrates for Children's Development

Children generally need more starchy carbohydrates than adults because they are physically active and also because their brains are in a stage of rapid development.

Meal Planning for Children

Children need to eat at least three meals a day, with snacks in between if the child is active and feels hungry. It is better to give children more frequent but smaller meals rather than fewer large meals. A good breakfast is particularly important for children and studies have shown that children who eat a proper breakfast tend to focus better during lessons in school.

To avoid swings in the blood glucose level, each meal must be balanced, combining fibre-rich carbohydrates with protein and fats.

Dietary Recommendations for Children with Weight and Behavioral Issues

Children with weight and behavioural problems must stop eating all high Gl or GL carbohydrates, such as white bread with jam. Instead, they should eat low Gl or GL carbohydrates like vegetables, fresh fruits, nuts and seeds.

Starchy root vegetables - such as potato, sweet potato, beetroot, yam and tapioca - should be avoided or minimised. Starchy fruits like banana and very sweet fruits like mango, durian, dried prunes and dried dates, should also generally be avoided. Observe their behaviour when you give them such foods, to see how well they tolerate them.

Mentally disturbed children should avoid the following: · 

  • Sugar and foods containing sugar, especially soda drinks;
  • All high GI/GL carbohydrates;
  • Processed foods containing artificial sweeteners and other chemical additives;
  • Wheat and wheat products (because of gluten allergy or sensitivity);
  • Dairy and milk products (because of casein allergy or sensitivity);
  • Foods identified to cause allergic or sensitivity reactions in the child.

Limiting Fruit Juice Consumption

In addition, mentally disturbed children should limit their consumption of fruit juices. Only freshly-squeezed juices may be taken and these are best diluted with water to reduce the sweetness and the impact on blood glucose.

To discover if you or your child suffers from any glucose-linked metabolic disorders, doctor to do the following tests: consult your.

  • Fasting blood glucose and insulin levels to identify insulin resistance;
  • Blood tests to identify metabolic syndrome.

Food Supplements for Managing Metabolic Disorders in Children

The following food supplements can be helpful in reducing your child's risk of metabolic disorders, as well as in relieving the symptoms if the child already suffer from such disorders: 

  • Vitamin B complex, vitamin C and minerals such as magnesium and chromium. These nutrients help support glucose metabolism in the cells and reduce the blood glucose load. However, you must first reduce your child's intake of starchy carbohydrates, especially from grains and starchy root vegetables. In addition, chromium enhances the action of insulin. 
  • Cinnamon is a helpful spice that will slow down the digestion and absorption of carbohydrates.

This content is adapted, with permission, from Book 1 of 2 : The Wonders of Nutrition by Dr Ang Poon Liat. MBBS, M.MED (PAED), MRCP (UK PAED), FAMS, MD.



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