Daughter Newly Diagnosed Type 1 Diabetes

By jhewett1 Latest Reply 2013-06-19 08:28:57 -0500
Started 2011-08-05 21:27:51 -0500

My daughter was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes just 3 days ago. We took her in to the doctor on the morning of August 2nd due to excessive thirst and hunger and by that afternoon, we were on our way to the hospital for a life changing metabolic disease in which we knew little about. She is 3 years old and doesn't really understand anything that is going on from why she can no longer eat the same way or have off schedule snacks, nonetheless have her fingers pricked 6 times a day and endure insulin shots 3 times a day. We know that with time things will get easier and that she will become more accustom to the way things are. As tough as it is on her, she is already making progress and starting to realize that she has to do these things as part of her routine, even though when the time comes she fights it.

I mention all this because I am looking for some advice from anyone willing to help. We met with a dietitian in the hospital that gave us a ton of good information on everyday meals and portion sizes in relation to carb counting and blood sugar levels, but I was wondering if there were some everyday food and drink products that were really good for the diabetic diet plan.

My daughter use to drink a lot of juices, milk and chocolate, but trying to stay within meal plan guidelines she can no longer really have much of these. When we were in the hospital they were giving her Lemon Lime Diet Shasta that was 0 in fat, sugar and carbs and used Splenda as a sugar substitute. When we got home today we went to the store to try to find drinks with the same criteria [including the Splenda as a substitute, because we would prefer not to have our daughter ingest anything that contains aspartame (i.e. NutraSweet, SweetNLow, etc.)] I found all of these attributes in DietRite Cola. However, we would still prefer not to have her drinking a lot of sodas. The dietitian suggested sugar-free Kool-Aid, but upon reading the labels, it too contained aspartame… as well as many snacks and things I have come across.

So for this reason, I am wondering if anyone else on this site may have struggled with the same type of things and I am wondering if anyone can make some suggestions on products in not only drink, but in snack as well that sort of meet this criteria. We just want to give our daughter the best we can and for her to have the best life she can. So if anyone can offer advice or suggestions, it would be greatly appreciated.

11 replies

GabbyPA 2013-06-19 08:28:57 -0500 Report

At the young age of 3 parents can still be in charge. It may be a bumpy road for a while as she has "sugar withdrawal" but it will get better and as long as they can stick with it, she will grow up healthier that most of her non-diabetic piers. Getting her off any kind of sweet is ideal. It's a craving cycle that is hard to break, even at her age, but once it's out of her system, it is so much easier to control her carb intake and help her make the better choices.

DCWright60 2013-06-17 17:30:29 -0500 Report

I have been put on a strict low carb diet as everyone is discussing, at this time my diet is no dairy, breads, grains, potatoes, rice and all the stuff we get so used to having with just about every meal. I was searching for a natural type of drink that is not loaded with a bunch of the aspartame, or other manufactured sweeteners. I found one really great "water enhancer" that so far is just what I was needing. It uses the natural sweetener Stevia and no artificial anything. You can check it out at; http://www.sturdrinks.com/. You can only get it on their site or Amazon with the price being the same on both. The site does let you get a free bottle to try just for paying the shipping. Maybe it would be a good choice for your daughter?

Melisa S
Melisa S 2011-08-09 13:10:22 -0500 Report

Hi jhewett1,

Meal planning will take a long time to get just right. The best advice I have is that you should make sure she eats protein and fiber with every meal.

Snacking is ok, as long as you use no carb options (cheese, nuts, meat).

You should go to a book store and buy "Calorie King: Calorie, Fat and Carb counter." It is a pocket sized book that lists most foods imaginable and the amount of carbs in each serving. Also going to the "calorieking.com" website will provide even more nutritional facts on other items.

The best think you can do is learning how to count carbohydrates accurately and start weighing out/measuring her food. The more accurate you are able to count the better her sugars will be.

Also, I am a BIG fan of insulin pumps for little children. They will make a world of difference and I would strongly recommend that you consider a pump. A lot of young children are also started on a continuous glucose sensor in combination with the insulin pump to help monitor sugars. This is more for the parent's ease of mind since it will alert you when she has a low sugar. Often parents will put a baby monitor in the child's room so if the continuous glucose sensor alerts while the child is sleeping the parents will hear it. Allowing you to not lose as much sleep! It also means many less needle pokes throughout the day. There is safety locks on pumps so children cannot push the buttons and accidentally give themselves insulin.

Feel free to message me if you have more questions. I am a type 1 on an insulin pump who also happens to be a physician assistant practicing medicine in Endocrinology!

Best of Luck!

Richard157 2011-08-07 16:48:15 -0500 Report

There is a brand of soda beverage in my supermarket called "Polar". It has many flavors and is sweetened with Splenda. My store also sells boxes of Splenda that can be used for baking and sweetening at home. I have heard that Crystal Lite is making some of their powdered drinks with splenda, instead of aspartame. I have used aspartame ever since it first appeared, and it has not caused me any problems. I do realize that some people do have side effects from using it.

I use Pepperidge Farm 7 grain bread with 8 carbs per slice. My sandwiches use that bread, and no top. I never eat cereal. All cereals cause me to have major spikes at all times of the day. I never eat more than a half cup of pasta or potatoes, and I avoid rice whenever possible. If I go to McDonalds I take two slices of my bread with me and ask them to prepare my Big Mac or Cheeseburger with it. I never eat fries. I think "Special orders do not upset us…" is part of their commercial. That makes a McDonalds meal rather low carb. Their buns are very high carb, and those carbs act very fast. I don't eat fast food more than 3 or 4 times per year, but I was thinking a young child might really like McDonalds. I can eat a couple of slices of thin crust pizza at Pizza Hut without much problem, especially if I exercise after the meal.

I hope you are using a bolus insulin for your daughter before every meal and snack. I suppose you know her insulin:carb ratio and are using carb counting to determine her dosages. The book "Calorie King" lists the carb content of most foods that we eat, and also lists many chain restaurants and the number of carbs in the items on their menus. I carry that booklet with me every time I eat away from home.

I was diagnosed in 1945, when I was 6, and am very healthy. With your love and good care, your daughter can have a long, healthy life!!!

Pam S
Pam S 2011-08-07 15:06:41 -0500 Report

i can't imagine what you must be going through with this being a child. The best snackage…veggies…all types out there and all types of flavors…the best you can do is read the labels on everything and keep a list of things that are good. Its time consuming but after a while you pretty much know what to buy. Lots of water…:) I wish you and your daughter the best :)

GabbyPA 2011-08-07 09:03:18 -0500 Report

One thing that is working in your favor is that she is young and you can change her diet gradually and she will soon forget what those other things tasted like. I agree with you, avoid the aspartame, as it could lead to worse carb cravings. http://dorway.com/ I use stevia and as she goes you can train her to drink a lot of things without any sweet. Sugar is an acquired taste and you can wean her off at a young age.

One of the most useful sites for juvenile diabetes is JDRF http://www.jdrf.org/

Here is a great place to start right here in our Health Center as well. http://www.diabeticconnect.com/health-center/documents/11298-type-1-diabetes-recently-diagnosed

There are others here who have children with diabetes and I am sure they will find you and help you along the way as well. Just love, love, love your little one and it will all pan out. I am not saying it will be all easy, but it will all be worth the efforts.

veggie1962 2011-08-06 09:10:38 -0500 Report

I feel for your situation. It must be so hard to see your child go through this. Soon, this will all be routine to all of you (I know even that may seem sad to you).

I think the main thing to consider is that you will need to plan her diet according to current recommended dietary guidelines for a child her age (assuming that's the info the dietitian gave you). You would certainly not be alone in giving your child more than the recommended amt of milk and juice. Now, it's a matter of bringing down her consumption to the recommended level.

You may want to consider switching her to Silk unsweetened almond milk. Lots of calcium and vit D and only 1 carb per cup vs 13 for milk. Nesquick Sugar free powder is sweetened with splenda and acesulfame potassium. You can purchase unsweetened Kool Aid and use your own preferred sweetener. If you can find True Lemon products, they are a good choice too. They come in "sticks" to add to a bottle of water and are less than 1 carb and no nutrasweet, etc…Comes in lemonade and raspberry lemonade. It also comes unsweetened in little sugar sized packets in orange, lemon, lime and grapefuit flavors. There is another product called Recharge and it's like a natural Gatorade. The 1 carb version comes in sticks (the one in the glass jar is full of sugars). May need to look in health food stores/natural food co-ops for this product. Comes in tropical, grape, orange and another flavor I believe. Oh, if you can find Virgil's Zero root beer, it is sweetened with stevia. I love stevia but I do have to admit this stuff has a bit of an aftertaste but I can deal with it as I don't do artificial sweeteners myself. Jones sugar free soda may be sweetened only with splenda. Trop50 products are about half the carbs of their regular counterparts. It comes in OJ, apple juice and several lemonade flavors. They use stevia for sweetness.

It is not strictly necessary to buy everything low carb. Your daughter can still eat a normal diet (a healthy one, that is!) within the guidelines of her carb allowances. As you will find out, there are wide ranging opinions on the amt of carbs a diabetic should have in their diet. If you are finding that she is not within the blood sugar goals with the diet given to you (and you are sticking to it), then adjustments may need to be made with her insulin. It does not automatically mean that she needs to eat less carbs. She should still be able to eat "normally". Perhaps you will find that a slight reduction in carbs is helpful but you'll find out these things as you go along.

My advice to you on dietary suggestion would be to seek out websites that give guidelines on healthy eating for preschoolers-you may just need to adjust the amt of carbs per meal. Also, I just wanted to point this out (you may not qualify based on your income), the WIC program may be of assistance. It is for children under 5 and they can offer you nutrition counselling and specific foods. They have recently updated their food packages to be in line with recommended dietary guidelines.

I know this is very early on but a thought. Many children are moving towards insulin pumps and this helps the whole family lead a more normal life. I know my life has felt much less "diabetic" since I got my OmniPod last Dec. It might seem scary now but I just wanted to throw it out there.

Best of luck to you.

eristar 2011-08-06 06:21:27 -0500 Report

Praying for you and your little girl - how hard it must be to be three and have to be poked with needles every day, and not get to have all the treats you have grown to love! Big hugs being sent your way fro Oshkosh…

Diaschm 2011-08-06 03:28:30 -0500 Report

So sorry to read about your daughter's diagnosis. The important thing is to watch carbohydrates,protein,and add fruits and vegtables into the mix. I think it is so hard with a child because of spurts of growth. But thank goodness for things like splenda so that you can make some sweets for her every once in awhile. Home made snacks are probably the best for her since there are alot of additives in store bought snacks. diet mist is zero also. I will say some prayers for her.

jayabee52 2011-08-06 00:10:24 -0500 Report

Sorry for your daughter's diagnosis. I pray for you and your daughters emotional and physical health,

You say that SF Koolaid has aspertame in it, but you can buy regular unsweetened Koolaid powder and mix it with whatever sweetener you wish.

In many ways a Dx of diabetes (either type 1 or type 2) brings us back to basics in the area of food. If we avoid the man-made processed foods, we can eat fairly well and with not a lot of extra cost.

Eggs are a good food to eat as a Person with Diabetes. I usually eat 2 hardboiled eggs for breakfast or sometimes will eat a panfried egg. I eat hamburgers, and grill a boneless -skinless chicken breast. All three items are low in carbs (especially if you don't eat bread with them) and high in protein. They won't cause a big rise in BG readings. I also have a little in the way of fruits, but in rediced portions because of the carbohydrates in them. I eat a lot of medium to low glycemic index vegetables and avoid those with high GI values like white potatoes, corn, peas, white rice,

If she doesn't eat higher carbohydrate values in breads, veggies, fruit, then she won't have to take ever increasing dosages of insulin.

Blessings on you and yours


lmkilday 2011-08-05 21:59:23 -0500 Report

I have been searching for low carb alternatives since May. Here are some of my results:

For drinks: sugar free Vitamin water, Propel Zero, Mio. Someone in the community suggested sugar free Kool Aid.

Breads: There are several low carb breads. There is an active discussion on this topic. Also Pepperidge Farm has several low carb breads (from 6 to 9 grams per slice). Make your own bread with low carb flour.

Desserts: check DC's recipe section. There are some very good recipes there.

Snacks: Nature valley granola thins. Peanut butter ones have 10 grams of carbs. Peanut butter on celery topped with raisins. Sugar free Jello. Small servings of fruit. Monitor what it each type of fruit does to her blood sugar. Fruit makes blood sugar spike for some people.

DC's recipe section has a low carb barbeque sauce. Glucerna makes a lot of products for diabetics, including a snack bar and cereals. There are a lot of cookbooks for diabetics. Here is a place you can find a lot of cookbooks: http://www.shopdiabetes.org/Categories/11-Dia...