The diagnosis of your child’s diabetes is a real shock, a trauma that has turned your whole world upside down. That you feel that you are not controlling anything and that the situation escapes you is a normal feeling. Strong emotions are probably still very present such as anger and sadness, a lot of worry and a deep feeling of injustice or even guilt. A lot of information has been communicated to you, so where do you start?
Your child has received support at the hospital for the first few days and now you are the person who will help and guide him in learning the diabetic routine, how to do it?
The good news? YES, as difficult as it may seem today, you’ll get there! It will take time to accept the disease and I will come back to it in more detail in another article. That said, some actions are to be implemented right now.
There is no single method because each parent, each child has its own story, personality and way of assimilating changes. As a parent, you are the person who knows your child best and who will be able to accompany him in the discovery and management of his diabetes. Your child also has questions to ask when you do not have all the answers yet. That’s why it’s important from the beginning to stay surrounded and not isolate yourself.
Here are two tips to help you organize.
Have your contact list at hand and when you can reach each person: the hospital or clinic where your child was followed, the diabetologist, the pediatrician or the attending physician, the dietician or nutritionist, the provider, the Diabetes Help Association to which you may already be registered.
I encourage you to write down all this useful information when you are calm, that you do not have to think about when you will need it.
NOTES will be a recommendation that I will do often, it relieves your mind sometimes drowned in the flow of information. If you do not like writing by hand, you can open a note on your phone, dictate if your phone allows it or for those who are more comfortable with a computer, you can also type this information. Whatever method you choose, the key thing to remember here is that it must remain as simple as possible and the most convenient for you.
You must have also received a diet or information and recommendations for meals to follow, given by the dietician or the nutritionist of the hospital. Know that nothing is defined by that, the advice that you have been given is the starting point so that you have a good base to start preparing balanced meals for your child. As you go, you will be able to adjust the preparation of your meals with the doctor and your child. There are also a lot of books or sites about it.
Anticipate as best as possible the preparation of meals to reduce the stress of the first days! Plan meals for the day at least the day before you know in the morning how your child will start the day. The ideal is to plan for several days, especially if you have other children, it avoids you to go shopping every day.
The menus do not necessarily need to be respected to the letter, from the moment when in each meal we find the dose of carbohydrates, vegetables and proteins, nothing prevents you from substituting a starchy food by another depending of your desires and those of your child. I will also come back in more detail on this point in a future article.
I encourage you to list the basic foods that you always need to have at home to prepare a balanced meal, to check every time you can go shopping. The basics that keep as exemplified below, but also you will have to think about regularly renewing fruits and other fresh products.
- Example for bread: preferably whole meal bread, bran bread, corn bread (avoid white bread as much as possible because the glycemic index is high)
- Example of carbohydrates: quinoa (very good for diabetics), potato (or homemade mashed potato), pasta (preferably gluten-free), semolina or rice (preferably whole-grain)
- Example of legumes: lentils (oranges, green, black), beans (white, red, black, beans), peas (broken, chick) …
- Example of vegetables: green beans, peas, spinach, carrots
- Example of protein: egg, chicken, beef etc.
- For fruits: prefer fruit and fresh fruit juice without added sugar
The family’s eating habits can be respected except that if the foods you consume are very rich, especially carbohydrates, start reducing the quantities little by little.
For example, if you are planning more starchy foods for a meal, reduce the bread and if you are expecting a lot of starchy foods, completely remove the bread for that meal.
I recommend you provide a single meal for the whole family, with the priority elements of your child’s meal to be sure it is complete, which you can then complete if necessary. Everyone eating the same thing is easier to manage and eating well will be good for the whole family!
That being said, changing your eating habits does not always happen overnight so do not put pressure on yourself! Establish your new routine little by little that you can revisit every day, until you get the one that suits you best.
Here’s another example: if you’ve always had the habit of eating white bread, having a baguette at home every day, and you’re tired of cutting it off, start by buying another type of bread in addition to the baguette as whole meal bread, so you’ll have two classes of bread at home. Always offer first, the best bread to your child (not white) because you will see that it adapts very easily and often much faster than us!
Feel free to comment on this article, it’s always a pleasure to read you.
See you soon,