The glycaemic index categorises food into groups according to how quickly that food is likely to raise your blood levels. The faster the carbs are broken down and the higher the glucose level is raised, the higher the glycaemic index of that food. Eating foods with a lower GI will assist in stabilising blood sugar levels and prevent the peaking and dipping.
However, it’s your child’s diet that is important and not the individual foods. Sally Tarlton supports the fact that lower GI foods should play a part in your child’s diet, but remember that just because it is low GI does not mean it’s necessarily nutritious! A dietician will be able to guide you in balancing carbs and protein, choosing lower GI in some instances and in looking at your child as an individual with specific requirements.
Who controls your family?
When she started in this line of work. Sally Tarlton says she never saw blood sugar problems in children. It has definitely become an epidemic. She explains further that children can be moulded and they will learn to like what we as parents teach them to like.
Unfortunately, too many children control the home and make demands that parents feel obliged to give in to. Changing the parents’ attitude to food is what is of utmost importance, but if that can be accomplished then halt the battle is won.
Making better choices
1. Take a few moments to check Sally’s list of wise food choices and ask yourself how often and how much your child eats of the foods below:
· Meat (not process., fish, chicken, eggs, cheese, nuts, tofu, natural plain yoghurt
· Legumes – lentils, chickpeas, soybeans, kidney beans
· Vegetables, salads and sprouts
· Wholegrains – rice, rye, wheat, oats & maize
· Fruits (whole) – some have a higher GI than others
2. Compare the above to your child’s intake of:
· Refined foods
· Sugar and sweetened foods
· Processed meats
· Fruit juices, fresh or tinned, sports and energy drinks
· Carbonated drinks
· High carb meals
Ask when, what and how much?
Finally, make a note of when your child eats, what they are eating (from above) and the portion size. If you feel you have cause of concern, seek the advice of an experienced childrens’s dietician.