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December 27, 2004

Meal Planning, Food and Diet, School and Daycare

Question from Passaic, New Jersey, USA:

My daughter's school has been very cooperative with the management of her diabetes, supplies, etc. However, they refuse to let her eat school lunches because they say the menu changes daily and it is impossible for them to create one lunch specific to her carbohydrate needs at the time that she should be having lunch. This creates a problem because I am forced to send her to school every day with every snack and lunch. It gets pretty difficult coming up with varieties so that she doesn't feel like she's eating THE SAME THING EVERYDAY, not to mention the fact that its always a cold lunch because the school has no place where she can heat up some of last night's dinner, for instance. I wish she could have hot meals instead of always a cold sandwich or dry crackers with tuna. On the other hand, if, on any given day, she still feels hungry, even after eating what I sent, then she'll sneak into the cafeteria to eat more. She's only 11 years old. She just got suspended for getting caught in the cafeteria eating "out-of-control" macaroni and cheese and chocolate milk. In September 2005, she will be in a different school and I want to know how to handle this in the future and what I might be able to do the remaining six months of this school year.

Answer:

It sounds as if you and your daughter may benefit from a meeting with the principal of the school to discuss some of the nutritional needs of your daughter. Hopefully, at the age of 11, your daughter has been introduced to carbohydrate counting and occasionally can choose foods from the hot lunch line and give insulin accordingly. Any food can be worked into a meal plan for a child with diabetes as long as the carbohydrate content is known and insulin given according to an insulin to carbohydrate ratio. Hopefully, things will get better at school once school staff understands what needs to happen to accommodate your daughter.

JMS

[Editor’s comment: You may wish to review our Diabetes At School web page, especially the information on 504 plans.

BH]