Purpose Hyperinsulinemia is related to the development of several chronic diseases, particularly obesity. Therefore, this study aimed to examine the association between the insulinemic potential of both total diet and meals, measured by the glycemic index (GI), glycemic load (GL), insulin index (II), and insulin load (IL), and overweight risk among children and adolescents. Methods This cross-sectional study was conducted on 205 overweight and 146 normal-weight participants aged 6-18 years. Overweight was defined as body mass index >= 85th percentile of Turkish growth-reference data. Through the use of standard methodology, dietary and meal GI, GL, II, and IL were derived from dietary data collected via a 3-day dietary record. Associations were investigated using multivariable-adjusted regression analysis. Results When controlling for potential covariates, a greater dietary II (OR 2.69, 95% CI 1.28, 5.68) and IL (OR 5.22, 95% CI 2.39, 11.38), as well as GL (OR 3.89, 95% CI 1.77, 8.56), was strongly associated with higher odds of overweight (both P-for trend < 0.001). Furthermore, breakfast GL (OR 4.87, 95% CI 2.15, 11.01), II (OR 3.88, 95% CI 1.79, 8.39), IL (OR 4.93, 95% CI 2.20, 11.05) and dinner GL (OR 2.39, 95% CI 1.10, 5.20), II (OR 3.81, 95% CI 1.73, 8.41), IL (OR 3.63, 95% CI 1.67, 7.91) were found to be a significant independent predictor of overweight (all P-for trend < 0.001) in pediatric population. Conclusion Our results suggest that dietary insulin demand, particularly for breakfast and dinner, was independently associated with overweight in children and adolescents. These findings may shed light on the relevance of considering meal insulin demand while developing dietary strategies in this population.