Balanced Diets

In a balanced diet, 50%-60% of your calories come from carbohydrates, 25% from proteins and 15-25 % from fats. In addition, you need four helpings of vegetables a day and at least two fruits. For a diabetic it is best to choose foods that are low in carbohydrate and not very high in calories.

What is a good diet for a child with diabetes?

A diet for children with diabetes must provide:

  • Enough calories to promote growth
  • A balance of carbohydrates, protein, fats, fruits and vegetables
  • Foods that maintain blood sugar at or near normal
  • Foods that maintain optimal blood lipid levels


Many foods in Western countries carry nutritional labels listing their carbohydrate and calorie counts. For fresh produce, meats and a complete list of the carbohydrate content of Western foods and more, please visit It is also sold as a paperback book in many countries.

Balanced Indian Vegetarian diet

It is important that you eat three balanced meals a day. This is a picture of the different components of a balanced vegetarian meal. It shows vegetables filling half of the plate, carbohydrate one fourth and the last quarter taken by dairy and a fruit. Carbohydrate provides nearly half of the daily calories in an Indian vegetarian diet.

  • If you cannot afford protein and carbohydrate is your sole source of calories, then there are no restrictions on your carbohydrate intake.
  • Milk, yogurt and homemade paneer are good sources of protein for a vegetarian diet.
  • Lentils are an important part of a vegetarian diet. They are 60% carbohydrate, 10% fiber and 20% protein when eaten with skin.
  • For a non-vegetarian chicken is a better source of protein than red meat.


Free foods

Free Foods: You may eat these any time and in any amount.

  • Carrots
  • Cucumbers
  • Radishes
  • Tomatoes
  • Pickles (not sweet)



Can children with diabetes eat sweets?

Yes! You can eat sugar if you give the correct amount of insulin. If you chose, you can also eat sugar-free ice cream, sugar-free soft drinks and sweets made with sugar substitutes, but they often have long term health side effects. Parents may use sugar substitutes for children in moderation.

Children may eat 15-30 grams of regular sweets and cover the sweets with extra insulin on special occasions such as birthdays and festivals.


What do I need to get started with Carbohydrate counting of my diet?

All you need is a weighing scale and a measuring cup. It is best to weigh and measure everything initially until you develop a visual impression of the quantity.



Information and images from are from or inspired by Living the Sweet Life with Diabetes: The Art of balancing insulin, diet, and exercise by Dr. Santosh Gupta, MD, MRCP (UK), CDE.  You can access the book here:

The Penpals United website does not contain medical advice.  Any contents of this website, such as text, graphics, images, and other material, are intended for informational and educational purposes only and not for the purpose of rendering medical advice.  Such contents are not intended to substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, or treatment.