Nutrition Facts for T1D


  • On average, children up to age 16 yrs., need 1000 calories per day.
    • A 5-year-old. will need 1500 calories each day
    • A 10-year-old will need 2000 calories each day.
  • Extra calories should be added for moderate to heavy exercise.


Food is made up of carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins and minerals which are necessary for health.

Carbohydrates (CHO) are found mainly in grains, with some CHO in fruits and a small amount in vegetables and milk. Carbohydrates cause blood sugar to rise immediately, while protein and fats affect blood sugar slowly over several hours. CHO counting is not a diet. It is a way of planning your CHO intake to manage your blood sugar level, avoiding high blood sugar. Eating the same amount of CHO for your meals and snacks every day.

You may choose different foods in each category from the list below to give yourself variety and flexibility as long as you do not exceed your total carbohydrate count per meal. The common carbohydrates present in an Indian diet are shown in these pictures.

All grains, lentils, rice, channa and products made out of Maida or besan are carbohydrates.

Lesser amounts of carbohydrates are also found in fruits, vegetables and milk. These foods are important for the calories they provide as well as micronutrients essential for growth.


Although carbohydrates raise blood glucose that does not mean that as a diabetic you should avoid them completely. Be aware however that some carbohydrates raise blood sugar faster than others. Both polished white rice and white flour raise blood sugar more rapidly than whole wheat flour and brown rice.


Diabetics are encouraged to eat some fruit daily. However, fruit juices raise blood sugar faster than whole fruit.


Children are also allowed three snacks per day’. For an 11:00 a.m. snack at school and a 5:00 p.m. tea time snack, the choices can be:

  • One fruit
  • Curd (yogurt) 1C
  • Lassi (buttermilk) 200ml
  • Vegetable soup 200ml
  • Plain popcorn 1C
  • Nimbu Pani (homemade lemonade with sweetener) 200 ml, is a good snack for children when they feel hungry in between meals. This has no calories. It helps to fill the stomach without adding calories or sugar. But if they are exercising, it is not good because it has no calories, and they need carbohydrates
  • 2 Tablespoons of almonds, peanuts or other nuts
  • 2 Tablespoonful of namkeen with no added sugar can also be eaten for snack
  • Bedtime snack: A glass of milk at night will protect against a night time low blood sugar reaction


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.