My neighbor makes delicious, healthy and varied breakfasts every day. I envy her creativity and think her kids are lucky! While Luke and Ben seem content eating a wide variety of foods for breakfast, there is really only one food that James wants on any given morning: a bowl of his favorite cereal.
Maybe you’ve found that there are some foods that are just SO hard for you to figure out for your child that it feels like they’re almost not worth serving, as they’ll inevitably bring a huge crash or giant spike in blood sugar numbers. There are a few foods like that for us. Pizza is notoriously difficult. But James isn’t the hugest fan of it, so most of the time it’s easy for us to choose something else when we’re out and about. If we’re at a birthday party or out with friends, then we deal with it, but because it isn’t that big of a deal to James, it’s easy enough to avoid.
But breakfast cereal is another question. James loves it, and it’s particularly rough on his blood sugar. And it’s also consumed at one of the trickiest times of day!
Because I’m active in the diabetes online community, I know that we are not alone in our struggle to figure out how to properly administer insulin to “match” the powerful, spike-inducing effect of cereal. Unlike many “tough” foods, though, James holds on particularly tightly to his morning bowl of boring old cereal. He is not swayed by my efforts to steer him towards “easier” foods, whether they be lower-carb like omelets and turkey bacon or higher-carb but easier to dose for like fruit smoothies or whole-grain waffles. (He’d probably eat donuts every day, but that isn’t really the best solution in my book!) He feels deprived if he can’t have his breakfast cereal, so for most of the time since diagnosis, we’ve just dealt with the blood sugar ups and downs that seem to come with it.
But through consulting with our endocrinologist and certified diabetes educator and also by staying informed of different techniques other parents use, I found out about a new technique to help reduce the severity of the morning cereal spike. We tried it recently, and it worked! It’s a little too complicated to explain here, but it’s worth the effort (so ask your endo for help if you have the same issue). James is so happy to be able to hold on to his favorite meal of the day, and I’m happy that he is staying healthy while doing it.
If I’ve learned anything over the years about having a kid with diabetes, it’s that the hardest things FOR THEM are different from what you might THINK would be the hardest things. James doesn’t have a hard time with constant testing. He says his fingers don’t hurt at all, and that’s sometimes hard for me to imagine. He has a much harder time being told to avoid foods that he loves. In this era of multiple insulin and device options, this doesn’t happen often. But cereal became a sticking point -- a symbol of limitations caused by diabetes. Our tiny victory over the cereal bowl is a major win for him. And I’m happy that through just tweaking and trying new things, I’m able to make him feel just a little bit better about being a kid who happens to have diabetes.
About the author: My name is Jennifer, and I live in Southern California with my husband, Craig, and our three boys. Our oldest son James has been diagnosed with type 1 diabetes. I’m thankful for this opportunity -- along with my sister-in-law Kim and her daughter Kaitlyn, who also has type 1 diabetes -- to share our struggles and triumphs with our friends in the diabetes community.
Disclaimer: The experiences and suggestions recounted in these articles are not intended as medical advice, and they are not necessarily the "typical" experiences of families with a child who has type 1 diabetes. These situations are unique to the families depicted. Families should check with their healthcare professionals regarding the treatment of type 1 diabetes and the frequency of blood glucose monitoring. Jen and Kim are real moms of kids with type 1 diabetes and have been compensated for their contributions to this site.
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