Having a child with type 1 diabetes in the family should make everyone in the house more health conscious, right? Well, it certainly makes us more aware of food choices, but let me tell you something: Great nutrition is easy to talk about, but really difficult to make a top priority. Sometimes we become so focused on how certain foods will affect blood sugar numbers that we forget the overall effect that those foods will have on Kaitlyn’s health, as well as the health of the rest of the family.

As a family, we are pretty practical. We tend to have a lot of “no-carb” foods in the house, like meats, cheese, and eggs, so that we don’t have to dose Kaitlyn for every single thing she puts in her mouth. (Eggs in the morning are great — she doesn’t get those mid-morning sugar spikes that follow a bowl of cold cereal.)

Here are some of the issues I’ve noticed:

  1. While carb-free foods are great for blood sugar numbers, the saturated fat and cholesterol that are in some of these foods can
    be unhealthy.
  2. Another consideration is sugar substitutes. When she first got sick, we stocked up on lots of sugar-free foods like a flavored drink mix, sugar-free gelatin desserts and Popsicles®. We were desperate for anything we could give her as a treat that wouldn’t require us to give her another shot.
  3. Another issue I see in the food choices we make is the amount of food I give to Kaitlyn to eat. To realize you’re full and stop eating is a skill that even most adults struggle with, but when you have a mom or dad saying, “Finish all your food or you’ll go low,” it makes it almost impossible. It’s important to understand how much food Kaitlyn needs to keep growing and work with her to know how hungry she feels.

One of the best solutions is to make a commitment to be more deliberate about planning Kaitlyn’s meals, and make adjustments during the meal if needed. It’s all about being a little more flexible. Planning ahead will also help in finding the right balance of providing foods that are both good for blood sugar numbers as well as healthy for the whole family!


Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the “typical” experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.

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