I have a child, but he is not diabetic. (But I am scared constantly it will happen, but I digress…)
I understand the grazing thing, I used to work in a kitchen where food was available all the time, and just… dissapeared into my mouth. That being said, it is hard to answer your question without knowing what your child is eating. How much carbs is she eating per meal as a percentage?
Your child is growing, and whoever says that a 3 hour window is the way to go is only covering their butts. (In order to allow the tail end of the insulin to taper off.) When I was first diagnosed, I was given an amount of insulin to take at breakfast, lunch, dinner, etc. An arbitrary number, where I was required to eat X amounts of carbs to “cover” that insulin I took. In effect, the exact same thing you are proposing.
One thing I discovered is that there is too much swing from all those covering carbs. Your daughter is complaining about being hungry because she has burned through those carbs like kindling. My advice? I am not an endo, or a dietician, but here goes:
You need to introduce more fat to your daughter’s diet, and reduce any carbs that are grain based. The reason for this is that they burn quite quickly. (As evidenced by the glycemic load, or GI if you will.) That includes rice, breads, etc.
Now, people may squack and say, “you need carbohydrates to live!” They are right, but no one says it has to be from grains!
I would go with vegetables, fruit, meat/eggs/nuts, and good fats. (Like lard, olive oil, matzo, bacon fat)
The main meals should be the baseline - where you are bolusing. So, it looks like this:
1/2 plate vegetables, 1/4 plate meat or eggs, 1/4 “carb” of legumes, pulses, potato, or other “vegetable” source (not grain.)
This meal should cover that 3 hour window without that gnawing hunger that occurs after 1 hour of eating. (Think of the Chinese Buffet effect - where you are hungry an hour after eating because of the rice, sugar-laden foods you eat.)
If a snack comes up, then make it something that is “free” or low-GI, that will carry her over to the next meal. That could be a handful of almonds with some dark (99%) chocolate, or a hard boiled egg with salt, or a celery stick with peanut butter and a couple of dark chocolate chips.
I realize that it might be hard with a 4 year old to follow this regime - but talking from experience (my mother when I was young, and with my boy - also 4 years old) that they will eat what you eat, as long as you involve them in the decidion process, and make it fun. In the example of the celery stick with the peanut butter plus dark chocolate chips - your daughter will be all over it if she gets to help make them, and put the two or three chocolate chips on the “log”.
You shouldn’t need to bolus for the snacks, as by the time you are eating the next meal, they are just starting to break down for the next meal. If there is any concern with BG, as yopu are testing for the next meal - you can add a correction bolus for your daughter.
In my case, I went on a sliding scale with my insulin, then I “graduated” to covering the carbs I eat. I went from taking 20 units of levemir and 22 units of novo rapid per day to 22 units of levemir and 6 to 8 units of novo rapid per day. My BG sometimes climbs high if I am stupid (like eating PIzza and not covering it correctly,) but I normally keep within 7 at times, and my A1C is around 6%.)
I hope that helps, if there is anything I can help with, message me and I will try to help you!