Living with a Type 1 diabetic child has been an experience of note. Amongst other things, our diet has changed quite drastically. I am somewhat obsessed with what I feed my body – that’s why I have favourite ice cream flavours and stuff like that. But really now, many of my eating habits and dietary beliefs have been questioned and here is what I have learned so far:
Full cream is not the devil
For the majority of my adult life, I’ve lived with fat-free dairy products. It was only after the kid’s diet became a thing in our household that I realised what I have been missing out on. Full cream – double even – tastes way more delicious than the watered-down fat-free ones I was used to! Comparing them now makes me realise that reduced fat does not necessarily mean increased health. The kid needs the fat and calcium from yoghurt since he is not allowed that much milk anymore, so I am now all-pro full fat any dairy. Some studies back the fat. “Lower-fat foods and beverages like skimmed milk might result in a higher blood sugar level due to faster absorption” states Medical News Today. You can also read more about full-cream dairy benefits in this article by the Independent UK.
It’s not just about kilojoules
I am a kilojoule counter. I can very closely tell you how much energy you are about to consume by just looking at your plate. (Sad, I know 😉 ) But we’re not all about the joules anymore. All of a sudden I have to change my mindset and consider carbohydrates too. Especially since the tiny human needs a certain amount of carbs with every single meal and snack. I am still struggling to count them simultaneously, but we’ll get there eventually… (While GI counts are also thrown around somewheres in between!)
Every gram of carbs counts
As I said, we are now counting carbs. And when you need to stuff a tiny body with 20g of carbs, you get creative. You also realise how much you take in yourself and that in itself is quite scary. All of a sudden you count the carbohydrates in peanut butter (a mere 2g!) to fill up your blocks. Blocks are what the dietician suggested we use to simplify things when it comes to meals. A single block is 15g carbs and that’s how you plan your menu: building blocks. So yes, when it comes to carbs, every gram counts!
You don’t really need that much salt (or sugar)
Replacing sugar is fairly easy with all the products available now. I don’t use sugar as a rule, but some cooked meals call for sugar and this is easily replaceable by using xylitol or something similar. Salt on the other hand… I eat popcorn with my salt, not the other way around. And I (used to) cook with a generous portion of salt or Worcester sauce as a replacement or even an enhancer. Is there an alternative? I know you get lite salt, but I am not sure exactly how it works or what it tastes like. So I just add a pinch of normal salt for peace of mind. I use a lot of onions and tomato and fresh herbs to give meals some flavour. It has taken us a while to get used to it, but as soon as you are over the extra dash of salt you actually become more aware of the rest of the spices.
Menu planning is crucial
Yeah…planning. It has never been my forte. Even more so when it comes to food. I used to eat and cook whatever I felt like (or had in the freezer), but now it is not that easy anymore. The kid’s meals are planned at least a day in advance. I know exactly what is coming and what my duties are and I strictly stick to that. It makes grocery shopping easier too. The best about knowing what’s for supper the next two nights is that you know how much you can binge on in between meals 😉
I know there are many lessons to be learned when it comes to diabetes and diets, and I am sure I am not going to love them all. But for now, these five things have made a huge impact on how I perceive food in general.
Yours in flavour,