RIDING THE FOOD MERRY-GO-ROUND WITH DIABETES

Varying appetite – varying insulin dose

A child’s appetite varies during this time, usually indicating the body’s need for food. Growth spurts or periods of lots of activity are times when they will usually eat more. To cater for these changes, insulin dosage may need to be adjusted. This does not mean their diabetes is worsening as is sometimes believed. It’s an inevitable part of the growing process.

Talk to your doctor or diabetes educator about these adjustments. Frequent reviews (at least once a year) of meal plans by a dietitian are essential to ensure normal growth.

As they get older, children may be able to stay up later on some nights (such as the weekend). At times like this, it may be appropriate to give them a second supper to prevent hypos. Check their blood glucose levels (BGLs) to help to decide if this is necessary.

With increasing appetite it’s important to offer extra healthy food choices (e.g. fruit, vegetables, dairy foods) and seek advice on changes to insulin dosage to maintain good blood glucose control. Talk to your child’s doctor or educator.

 

Sharing decisions about food choices

Along with their growing responsibilities for day-to-day tasks come the responsibilities of diabetes. A child at this stage is usually cooperative, willing to learn new tasks and responds to encouragement.

Learning about healthy food choices and understanding which foods (carbohydrates) affect BGL’s is appropriate and possible. Helping out with cooking and making food choices in the supermarket are practical and fun ways for your child to learn.

Teachers, other parents and carers need to be informed that your child has diabetes – so they can be prepared. However, making a fuss about your child’s food choices may cause them to feel different and singled out. This is certainly the case if one child is seen to get more attention than other children. So providing a few simple guidelines for other people is best.