When to Enforce Eating Guidelines for Children with Type 1 Diabetes


Here’s a challenge that we all face, whether it’s for ourselves, because we have type 1 diabetes, or for our kids, when they have the condition: when to enforce eating guidelines, and when to let things slide?

Last night, circa 8:00 pm, I returned home from the supermarket. The kids were ready to go to sleep, but I stupidly began unpacking groceries, including a box of extra-healthy, but oh-so-carb-dense, Flax-4-Life muffins.

The kids had just had their night time snack (fruit and a cookie), but as soon as my son saw the muffins, he decided to take an uncompromising stand: “I want one of those muffins! I’m hungry!” I argued for a low-carb snack, but he responded with anger. He REALLY wanted one of those muffins. Oy. 

My wife and I vaguely remembered that something about Flax-4-Life muffins concerned us, but since they were so obviously healthy, we weren’t sure what to do. Clearly, a muffin before bed time was not a good idea; it would likely wreak havoc with the night time blood sugars. But Sacha had already begun to throw a tantrum – including running upstairs and slamming the bedroom door – and as my wife said, “perhaps he’s going through a growth spurt.” So we decided just to bolus him for the muffin, and hope for the best.  

In general, although we try to eat healthily and think a lot about carbs/fats/proteins, we also strive not to turn food and its diabetes-related implications into the centre of a family power struggle. We often fail, but at least we try. 

The muffin had 46 carbs, but 10 of those were fiber (wow). We also gave him a cup of milk (12 carbs), and thus bolused him for 48 carbs, total. 

That was at 8:30 pm; my wife said, resignedly, “we’re probably in for a long night.” She was right.

At 11 pm, Sacha was a whopping 540. (?!)I had fallen asleep by then, but my wife corrected, and went back to sleep. I awoke at 2 am, to discover that he’d dropped to 350. Another blood glucose correction, and by 4:30 am, he was down to 250 – still way too high – and stayed there, more or less, until breakfast. When he woke up, what was the first thing he wanted? Another muffin…..

The best thing would have been to avoid the whole problem by not buying the muffins in the first place, healthy though they were. Or, not unpacking the groceries just as the kids were going to bed. Those were my mistakes, no question about it. The rest, perhaps, was no-one’s fault? 

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8 years ago

We have never deducted for fiber (as the nutritionist at our clinic recommended we do many years ago) and although our 5 year old, diagnosed at 17 months, has a slice of rye bread almost every day we don’t see lows that would result from a miscalculation.

9 years ago

ll my children all of good health and weight range.. i say children but they are 35 to 15 in age and i have never stopped them from eating anything.. they go crazy over my cooking.. my soups and homemade healthy recipes and all.. anyway..myabe the muffin had more carbs butif he is going that high after a simple muffin and milk i would raise basal.. at any rate i woud never restrict a chillds diet.. it will lead to eating disorders.. type 1 or no. provide ample healthy food and allow treats and never restrict.. i have 3 grown… Read more »

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