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From Vashon, Washington, USA:

My four year old son has had diabetes for over two years. Up until now, he has been very cautious about eating sugary things. If an unknowing person offers him a snack, he'll always ask me if it is okay to eat. Lately, however, when he is with other adults (who should know better), his curiosity or peer pressure get the best of him, and he ends up eating things which make his blood sugar skyrocket. As he grows older, he will be making more and more of his own food decisions. What is the best way to teach him to make wise choices? So far I've been teaching him some basic food group skills, and having him pay attention to how his body feels when he eats certain foods. Does it make sense to let a young child with diabetes experiment with eating a lot of sweets once so they can see how yucky they will feel? It is very hard for him to understand why all the other kids at preschool can have granola bars for snack while he gets string cheese and whole wheat saltines!


I know that these years are difficult for families. Sometimes, it can be a real challenge. It may be appropriate for you to allow him to have a granola bar when you know that he will be extra active and perhaps require extra snack. So, instead of denying him sugar all of the time, pick your times. Let him select something that he is really wanting and schedule a time to have it. It is my experience that the more things are denied the more desirable they become, so having a sugar treat on a family outing and knowing that it may make his blood sugar a little high may be an approach that will foster honesty in the future. Many times when children are not allowed to eat any sweets they sneak them and this becomes a huge problem. A high blood sugar for a short period of time will not harm him, and, as he grows older, his sensitivity to sugar may become less drastic. I applaud you for wanting your child to have healthy snacks and for your concern.


[Editor's comment: You will find Sweet Kids: How to Balance Diabetes Control & Good Nutrition with Family Peace by Betty Brackenridge & Richard Rubin very helpful in the care of your four year old. SS]

Original posting 24 Feb 2001
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet


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Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:18
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