Thank you, Dr. Atkins. Yeah, I know most of you aren’t eating heaps of bacon anymore, but the popularity of the Atkins diet has changed the way the big food companies think about carbs. Knowing about carbohydrates is crucial for people with diabetes; it’s the food group that has the biggest impact on blood sugar. Simply put, we base our son’s insulin dose on how many carbohydrates he’s eaten. It’s much easier to figure that out now that every packaged food out there has a clear FDA approved label with the carb count right on it.
Yes, we try to eat lots of fruits, veggies and proteins (and thankfully my kids will) but if we want a packaged snack, like goldfish crackers or pretzels, at least we know what we’re getting. Our doctor also gave us a great book – The Calorie King Fat & Carbohydrate Counter – that lists just about every food you can think of, including restaurant food.
When we first got Benny’s diagnosis, we made what I imagine is a common mistake. We tried to feed him only low-carb foods. You see, every time he has more than 15 carbs, we have to give him a shot. Who wants to stick their kid more than they absolutely have to? So we switched from his normal waffle or cereal breakfast to eggs & sausage. We tried teeny portions of pasta and served big slabs of protein. My husband, Slade, spent two hours in Harris Teeter looking for low-carb snacks (olives? pork rind?).
Only one problem: Benny’s two. He’s not exactly into the whole low-carb thing. And we didn’t like the idea of turning our family’s diet upside down. My daughter, Lea, is 5 and both kids enjoy pretty good diets for their ages. Couscous is a favorite, they both love chicken, beef and fish, they’ll eat loads of Italian food (I’ll tell you about our restaurant, Rotelli, another time!). I’d love for my daughter to eat more veggies, but Benny will munch on broccoli, peas or even cauliflower. I won’t lie – they also love sweet-tarts, fruit roll ups (what is that? colored plastic?), and my daughter could eat pounds of chocolate. But we try.
Anyway, we decided to keep to our regular way of eating and just try to keep snacks to less than 15 carbs – that way he doesn’t need an extra shot. Sure, there are exceptions. On his birthday, he had a nice big piece of cake in the middle of the afternoon and sometimes he just wants to eat more than usual. The last thing I want is a hungry toddler; kids need calories and healthy fats to grow. (In fact, a new study shows diabetic toddlers may not be getting enough carbs & calories to keep up with their growth. More in the Journal of the American Dietetic Association)
Considering one of Benny’s first words was “fruit snack,” I think we’re doing okay.
Labels: Juvenile Diabetes