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When I first caught my daughter sneaking food, I am not going to lie, I felt angry and betrayed that she had done this.
But then, I was thinking of why did she do this? Why did she have to resort to sneaking food from me?
Honestly, as a parent, I had to dig in deep into myself and see how I reacted at certain times when she was asking me for food.
Was I too harsh?
Was my tone a bit strong towards her when she asked for something to eat, all because she was hungry?
Did I just tell her a flat “no”?
Those were the questions that started hitting my mind.
I am with you here momma! If this ever happens, I want you to take a deep breath and calm down.
The thing here is that we are not alone in this. I am constantly seeing on various Facebook groups for parents of children with diabetes, where they complain about their kids sneaking food, and constantly asking how to prevent their son/daughter with diabetes from sneaking food.
Honestly, it really makes me so sad that our little warriors feel the need to sneak food. No kid should go hungry.
To make matters worse, these kids are made to feel guilty for sneaking the food just because they are hungry or just because they want the same food that everyone else gets to eat without consequences.
Here are some tips on how to prevent your child with diabetes from sneaking food
1. Talk about High and Low Blood Sugars
Talk to your child about how different levels of sugars feel on their bodies.
If your child is young, talk to him/her in a concrete way.
For example, tell him/her that if they go to the playground for recess and he/she is having high blood sugars they will feel tired, and will not be able to play on the monkey bars, or feel very tired when going up the stairs to the slide.
On the other hand, explain that for low blood sugars, he/she is not going to be able to play during recess while they are low because blood sugars need to be stable.
2. Talk about solutions
Talk to your child about not sneaking food. Tell your child that if he/she is hungry to tell you.
Make a pact with your child, that that is their responsibility to tell you if they feel hungry.
Start making your child take charge of their diabetes care management. Eventually, they are the ones that would be to managing it on a 24/7/365 basis. Start them young. We started doing this when Amanda was about 4 years old.
Tell your child that food equals insulin. Build that trust with your child.
Just make sure that your child has a well-balanced, or as close as you can, balanced snacks and meals.
3. Make your child Drink water
Have your child drink water.
I do this with my daughter every time she eats any type of food, especially junk food or sweets.
It also helps with hunger. Most of the time when a person is thirsty it can be confused with hunger.
Negotiate when it comes to sweets and junk food.
Your child needs to eat their entire healthy meal before their sweets or junk food.
No healthy meals or snacks, no deal on the sweets or junk food.
I for one do not want my daughter to eat junk food and sweets all the time. Even if she did not have diabetes, I still would not let her eat all the junk food in the world.
As the saying goes: “Moderation is key“.
Especially for our little ones with them having type 1 diabetes, this is key in order to prevent dangerously high blood sugars.
How do we manage sweets and glucose levels
Since Amanda is currently on her Tandem TSlim insulin pump, we feel freer into letting her eat more frequently, and what she wishes, taking into consideration moderation.
Our Diabetes Educator has always told us to let her eat her sweets and let her be a normal child. We just need to give her more insulin [if needed] and do a pre-bolus.
Pre-bolusing has been a game-changer for us, especially when Amanda eats high carbs and very sugary foods.
We have found that the sweet spot of pre-bolusing for our daughter is about 25-30 mins before eating the carby and/or sweet meal.
Try and see when the pre-bolusing for your child can be done.
The trick is to give insulin and start the clock. As soon as you see when the graph of the CGM starts trending down, take note of how long did it take to do this, after the insulin was given. Was it 20 mins? 30 mins? 45 mins? one (1) hour?
Depending on this, it is when you should start the pre-bolus for every food to keep your child’s glucose levels in the optimal range.
My motto has always been child first, diabetes second.
We do a 25-30mins pre-bolus and give Amanda some water after she is done with her sweets and/or junk food.
The main issue that I see with a child sneaking food, is that the child is not getting the insulin needed for that carb. If there is no insulin received, spikes in blood sugars will happen. No question about it.
I know that allowing these types of foods may feel scary and you may think your child will go on a binge craze of junk food or a sweets binge.
From our point of view, since we negotiate with our daughter, she has learned to recognize that eating too many sweets and/or junk food makes her feel weird. She has naturally learned to listen to her body and stop when she is full or has had enough.
The key is having your son/daughter know and recognize that all foods are ok in moderation and the key as a type 1 diabetes caregiver/parent is figuring out the carbs or the amount of insulin needed to keep their glucose levels stable.