Their Carb Intake is None of my Business


We celebrated my son Guy’s 10th birthday today with his entire class.  Because we can’t hold a party for 25 kids in our apartment, we held the event at a local museum.  A guide gave the kids a tour of the archeology wing, then they saw a short movie in the planetarium.  After the movie, they made aliens out of clay.  As far as I could tell, it was a huge success. 

While the kids created aliens, I ordered pizza.  I calculated 2-3 slices per kid and expected to have more than enough.  Unlike other birthday parties we’ve thrown, I decided to keep the food, especially the junk food, to a minimum.  We’d have pizza and cake, but not any other sweets – no cookies and candy on the side.  I had a small amount of salty snacks – potato chips and pretzels, just in case there were kids who didn’t like pizza.

Turns out, there was not enough food.  I felt both sorry and angry.  On one hand, I truly felt bad telling the kids that there was no more pizza, and that there was only enough cake for each kid to have one piece.  On the other hand, it upset me to see little kids eating three or four slices of pizza and coming back for more.  I explained that there would be cake afterwards and that they should save room. That didn’t stop them from wanting to eat more pizza.  And after they’d each received a generous slice of cake, many wanted seconds.  I recognize that it’s not my place to judge whether or not a kid is eating too much carb, but I judged anyway.  Although none of the kids was diabetic, all I could think about as they grabbed a third slice of pizza was that they were easily at 75 grams of carb before the cake! 

100+ grams of carbohydrate for lunch.

I know the stress that much carb puts on a pancreas, and I feel guilty for serving food that causes that kind of stress.  But I’m also stuck in an impossible position: pizza and cake are expected, much more of it than I provided.  No doubt there will be kids who tell their parents that Guy’s mother didn’t give them seconds.  And those parents will probably think I’m stingy and mean.  Mostly, I’m concerned.  In my professional life I spend a great deal of time thinking about the prevention type 2 diabetes.  It’s a bit disconcerting to feel like I’m promoting it.


Notify of
oldest most voted
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
9 years ago

I agree with no pizza. Serve them a low carb lunch and save the sweets for dessert. There are many choices out there for healthy lunches. Wraps with low carb/high fiber tortillas are great for kids.  No one even need know you went healthy. 

4 years ago
Reply to  Susan

Very few kids have type1 diabetes and they can eat what ever they want.

9 years ago

i have a child with diabetes and it seems to me you should not put your diabetes management rules onto kids. If you’re going to serve all junk food at a birthday party and it’s occassional then just go with it. You could also serve things like salad and carrot sticks thus giving them choices either during the meal or when the carb foods run out. For our child’s birthday I try to have a no carb meal which allows for a carb dessert like cake. 

Nathan Shackelford
9 years ago

No way! Don’t feel guilty. I think setting a sensible precedent for food intake is totally our job! All you can eat buffet is a new idea, and it shouldn’t apply to what we feed kids. Seconds are lucky, thirds are excessive. With what we know about carb consumption, it’s reasonable to think of limits. I don’t really think parents will care too much about the fourth slice of pizza their kid didn’t get.

Copyright © 2009-2021 Diabetes Media Foundation, All Rights Reserved.
ASweetLife™ is a trademark of the Diabetes Media Foundation, All Rights Reserved.
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x