Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Ask the Diabetes Team

From Woodbridge, Virginia, USA:

I have a really hard time teaching my four and a half year old son (diagnosed with type 1 diabetes three years ago) the importance of eating all the food I serve him. We have to fight about it on a daily basis, and we are both getting very frustrated. He often gets low, but that still doesn't change his eating habits!


Dealing with managing the meal plan in a very young child with diabetes is a true struggle. I usually suggest that my very young patients with diabetes be given long-acting insulin (Lantus [insulin glargine] once a day or Ultralente twice a day) along with reasonable amounts of Humalog given for carbohydrate intake only after after the child as eaten with an adjustment as needed for high blood sugars over 200 mg/dl [11.1 mmol/L]. If you try to give the Humalog before the meal (as is usually suggested for older children, teens and adults with diabetes) and the child then refuses to eat, you're stuck with a child who will have a low blood sugar or even a severe low blood sugar that could lead to a low blood sugar seizure.

Adopting the above strategy should help to end the fights about eating all of the foods served to him. I would not encourage you to have a "clean your plate" strategy at mealtime, but rather use a calculated dose of Humalog for the carbohydrates your child does eat with a correction for the occasional high blood sugar. Until your child grows some and you can reasonably predict what he will eat at a meal, you may wish to discuss the above strategy with your child's diabetes physician.


[Editor's comment: I completely agree with Dr. Brown's philosophy. Forcing young children to eat can lead to severe psychological problems including possible eating disorders later on. An excellent discussion of these issues can be found in Sweet Kids: How to Balance Diabetes Control & Good Nutrition with Family Peace by Betty Brackenridge & Richard Rubin. SS]

Original posting 16 Oct 2001
Posted to Meal Planning, Food and Diet


  Back to Ask the Diabetes Team Return to the Top of This Page

Last Updated: Tuesday April 06, 2010 15:09:26
This Internet site provides information of a general nature and is designed for educational purposes only. If you have any concerns about your own health or the health of your child, you should always consult with a physician or other health care professional.

This site is published by T-1 Today, Inc. (d/b/a Children with Diabetes), a 501c3 not-for-profit organization, which is responsible for its contents. Our mission is to provide education and support to families living with type 1 diabetes.
By using this site, you agree to our Terms of Use, Legal Notice, and Privacy Policy.
© Children with Diabetes, Inc. 1995-2018. Comments and Feedback.