Has Diabetes changed the way you think about how we feed our kids?

Probably would have never bothered me, in a million years, until I got Diabetes (sadly)… But recently, I saw a picture of an older, indulging aunt giving her niece’s baby (couldn’t have been more than 9 months), his first taste of Coke.

Are we setting up kids for bad things, when we do things like that? Teach them foods that are not the best... even before they've readily developed a taste for more proper food? How does it play into our entire culture of overindulgence, and struggling with healthier eating habits as adults?

When is it okay to introduce kids to these foods (as children), if ever? What do you guys think?

While I am not by any means wanting to be militant with kids about food/snacks/candy... I have to admit... I was pretty disturbed by the picture, and the casual attitude we sometimes take toward food and children... What are your thoughts?

I have watched it happen in my family so yes, we are setting our kids up to struggle as an adult. One of my cousins that was a couple years older than me grew up eating nothing but french fries & chocolate milk. He ended up becoming diabetic and never changed his eating habits, even after having a heart attack. You can guess what his first meal home from the hospital after bypass surgery was. He is now dead because of heart disease. When his mother had dinner for everyone, her idea of a vegetable was creamed corn and you usually had 3 desserts to choose from. I also watched another cousin feed her daughter pretty much nothing but McDonalds. She is off at college but I doubt that she will ever eat healthy because she grew up eating nothing but junk.

I was fortunate growing up that we only had soda and junk food on special occasions. We had a salad every day with dinner and there was always fruit in the house for snacks.

I agree with you that you don’t need to be militant about it, but I think there is a huge difference between having it on a special occasion and having it every day.

Do you think it’s especially bad, even on ‘special occasions’, to feed this to a baby who can’t speak yet, can’t understand what you say when you say something is only for ‘special occasions,’ and basically is still in learning mode as far as what his food likes and dislikes are?

Yes, I think it is especially bad to feed a baby soda or other junk - they are still learning what they like and it is too easy to get hooked on that stuff.

I’ve switched from not being very particular about the carb ratio to really pushing protein. IMO most kids’ diets are too high in carbs.

My kids eat rather healthy foods, I’m not into processed stuff, I cook from scratch 99% of the time, and I don’t buy soda and such.

I will not forbid any foods in my house, since I know if I do that to myself, I will seek them out and binge. But I talk about serving sizes with my kids, I don’t let them just grab the box of Cheez its and eat. I tell them to read the label, get a small bowl and measure it out. I also make sure they understand those serving sizes are for adults, so they get less. I also make sure they know the difference between snacks and meals. Sometimes that is a blurry line. Also, after they have a snack and tell me they’re still hungry, I let them know they need to wait about 20 minutes before eating anything else. I also have my own garden, the kids help plant veggies. They also help me cook. I’ve found if they have a say in what we’re having for dinner, and help prepare it, they’re more likely to eat more varied foods.

My mom, on the other hand, indulges them like crazy. I have had conversations with her about this, considering her daughter is a type 1, her grandchildren have a chance, although not a huge one, but a chance all the same. She has issues boundaries, and it has taken many years for her to finally listen and not let the kids just eat whatever. But we’re only over there one day a week, so in the big scheme of things, it won’t end my world.

But some people send their kids to school with those nasty Lunchables and such. I guess I’m more of a nut than I realize, my kids go to school with good things to eat.

Well…if you’re a nut, so am I. I kind of do the same things as you.

When my children were babies, they ate foods for babies. They were happy with what they had and their treats were fruits and the treat treat was animal crackers. As they got older, if they weren’t asking, I wasn’t giving. But as they were exposed to other children and their treats, I gradually made what I thought to be wiser choices for treats, like fruit roll ups instead of candies, granola bars with chocolate chips instead of cookies, ect. I buy the baked chips, cook with olive oils, don’t really fry our foods or eat much processed sides. I grew up with home cooking and cooking from scratch; and we had well rounded meals. We do indulge on occasion. We do have some things in our house like ice cream (I buy the lower fat ones…half the time) but we always stress balance and frequency. They don’t get to just junk out all day. I don’t let them snack on chips, but I will let them have chips with their lunch and we dish some out on our plates and that’s it. That chip bag is an evil thing and you can keep saying, “Just one more.”

When they have had a snack and say they are still hungry, I let them have a choice of fruit or vegetables. Sometimes I get moans and groans, but many times they are just fine with the idea of having their favorite fruit.

I have had conversations with my older daughter about healthy choices and we have discussed why I we don’t eat certain things or just have it whenever we want. She has always been cruious about my diabetes, and as she gets older, asks more questions. So by now (9yrs) she knows the correlation of the foods I eat and the meds I take and why I must balance everything not to mention is aware of the consequences of what unhealthy foods can do. What amazes me, is that the kids in her class have been talking about all of this stuff. I do think that there has been some good education going on that is making a difference in kids…maybe not all, but more than I think we are aware of.

I got my science degree 25 years (just when my mother got T2).
since then i have always eaten properly, low fat, high fibre, fruit and veg etc.

now my brother in law is wanting to learn to eat properly, and I am teaching him all about it …wholegrain, low GI, processed foods, reading labels, low salt, low added sugar, starches, saturated fat, trans fat etc.

best thing, is that he is now teaching his children how to eat properly!!..to the top of the class I say.

3 things made me learn to eat properly from 25 years ago:

  1. I was an athlete (squash player, swimmer etc) so always watched my diet
  2. my mothers T2 diagnosis
  3. 25 years ago there were rumours that animal fats stuck in the large bowel (i.e when there is not enough fibre intake, to literally 'wash away the animal fat) causes bowel cancer!!

yes, if kids learn early to eat properly (like in my brother in laws case, they have a massive head start!

Even more so than just teaching kids good eating habits… I just wonder what feeding a poor baby soda, just even “once in a while,” or giving them sweets/candy whatever… sets them up for not being able to cope/realize as older children or even adults… that these foods are not for daily consumption… You know? I really had to cringe at that photo…

Liz, have you ever heard of the ‘20th century disease’?
it relates to the allergens and toxic chemicals that we are now exposed to in the 20th century (or 21st century now!!) which can cause all sorts of syndromes, including allergies, liver and other toxicities, tiredness (chronic fatigue) syndromes, etc.

i think you can now put exposure to alot of foods, eg soda pop to an infant, as part of the 20th century disease/exposure.

I can’t imagine giving a baby soda. Just pour fructose into a tiny body–eeek.

My mother fed us well. We didn’t have soda, potato chips, candy or junk in the house. She didn’t make a big deal out it, but we didn’t eat what my mom called “empty calories.” Vegetables & fruit were fresh. We didn’t eat frozen, canned or prepared food. I remember my first Coke. I thought it looked & tasted bad. I still do. Having dessert was a once in a while thing. Maybe because I didn’t eat many sweets as a kid, I’ve never developed a sweet tooth.

If I had kids, I’d do what my mother did. No food was forbidden. She simply didn’t buy junk food. We ate lots of vegetables & I loved veggies as a kid. My mom was a good cook & encouraged us to try new things.

My nieces & nephews refuse new foods & live on chicken nuggets, hamburgers, fries & pizza. Makes me cringe that they eat like they’re 5 years old as teenagers & young adults. They’ve grown up on more fast food than was available when I was a kid, but their parents let them this crap. A trend on college campuses is replacing some of the cafeterias with what looks like a mall food court with franchised fast food. Not that college cafeteria food is healthy, but it’s better than Burger King for dinner.

All we have to do is look at TV ads. Family dinner is KFC or pizza. It’s a seal of approval. Food ads, unhealthy ones, are everywhere we turn.

I had the freedom to drink soda at the age of 15 onwards…just after high school. A strict convent school and a dietitian mother made this possible. Regrets? Hell no…In fact, I hardly had any even when I have all the opportunity to drink it. It is a similar situation with unhealthy junk foods. A habit I carried even now. I wish I can say the same for my spouse…but when I was still diagnosed diabetic 3 years ago…he opted to change his eating habits (scared him maybe…LOL) My Mother loves to cook and bake…something I also developed interest at an early age. Oh yes we bake…cakes, pies and cookies! We consider it as a treat! And we do indulge, moderately.
When I will have children…I will continue the training I had with my Mom. I know…I know…Children are so different nowadays. Peer pressure, media advertisement, and temptations all over are far much more influential, but I still believe that somehow if the foundation of training and habits are good and strong…better habits will prevail.

I even made my own baby food for the kids. I couldn’t believe how easy it was.

I was so tired that I caved, but not the graduate stuff. I wish I did though. It’s an easier transition.

I’m actually going to be pretty strict with our kids. My husband and I both eat pretty organic- if not organic, then at least mostly natural. Nothing processed, not much candy for him either, and soy milk, meats, lots of veggies, etc. Nothing “white” like breads, flours, pastas, etc. If the kid needs ice cream, it’s ok to have some soft serve or maybe an ice cream treat once in a while. But I am planning on staying away from carnival foods and such until they’re 16 and can make better choices on their own. It makes me sick to my stomach watching people shove foods that adults shouldn’t even be eating into the faces of little kids who don’t know any better. It makes me a little crazy, actually. But, I won’t judge. Just don’t do it to my kids. I’ve alraedy had the talk with husband’s parents and my parents. My kids aren’t to get loads of cookies and cakes when they go to grandma’s house. They are to eat there as they eat at home, with the exception of "once in a while"s. I’m not going to be a food NUT, but I’m going to be pretty strict.

Me too! I LOVE LOVE LOVE baking. And I will leave the desserts on the table for anyone in the extended family to indulge in. But, it is a once in a while thing and since one dish is spread out amongst so many people, there isn’t that much damage being done. :slight_smile:

Our kids had no sweets of any kind other than fruit until somewhere between 2 & 3. I don’t want to take them to the dentist to have baby teeth pulled. Ice cream and candy is ok now, but in small quantities and as a treat. Soda is something my husband grew up drinking – but it wasn’t introduced to him till he was a school kid. Our kids don’t like anything fizzy to drink, so it’s just water, juice, milk. I never had soda in the house growing up.

I think that junk food is something that people eat because it’s cheap, and it doesn’t have to be prepared. And something sweet or greasy somehow is comforting when your life is tough. The larger issue is who is eating this stuff. If you notice, most people who are into organic food can afford it - it ain’t cheap. So basically what I’m saying is that eating badly is often part of a larger issue that can’t easily be solved by changing your diet.

As far as diabetes is concerned, again – whether you take care of yourself diet-wise can be a indicator of how you take care of yourself in general, and whether you have the means. It’s more complicated than meets the eye, is my thought…

i dont know if its made me think about it so much… but it makes me feed my son better cause ive really only got healthy stuff around so indirectly its alot better for him in general…

That’s a good strategy – arm with facts and let them choose when they’re able. But I think that if one’s child eats healthy before they know how to choose, it’s very likely he/she will always eat healthy. Well anyway that’s the way it was with my brother and I. Or they may have a period where cheap and fast is the way to go (college years, stressful work years), but eating healthy will probably stick as a foundation to go back to.

On the other hand, if you start out eating badly, it may take something really unpleasant to change habits, something only related to you – just like everything else in life, if you don’t do it willingly, the universe might just step in and force you to…

Shocked that anyone would give a baby Coca cola (it will literally dissolve a tooth if left in coke for a few hours) and agree that in this country we have very poor eating habits. That said, as a caretaker of a Type 1 child, we do not OVERLY restrict what she eats (contrary to advice from nutritionist/endo at dx, we do restrict somewhat). We were told she can eat what other kids eat, and cover it with insulin. That did not work out too well. Generally, we have a healthy diet at home, still allowing for some snacks that are not so healthy. If she is with other children she eats what they eat. We have no problem covering most foods with insulin (it was hard to figure out at frst, but we really can cover most foods. No carb restrictions other than we do not go over 80 grams per meal very often, and usually meals are 40 to 60 grams. Because we don’t forbid icecream, potato chips, etc., she does not crave them and almost never asks for them now, refusing even if offered. She will instead choose fruit. P.S. Ice cream does not raise her blood sugar over 140 (although not healthy because high in fat); potato chips same. Fruit raisers her blood sugar quickly.