Birthday Day and Other Heavy Eating Occasions
My daughter's friend had a birthday last week. It was on the same day as mine. The kids have found a way to skirt the school nutrition policy of 'no outside food for celebrations' by bringing in treats to share at lunch. So lunch that day included oreos, hershey kisses, doritos and munchkins. To her credit, she ate the sandwich and grapes I packed first, but she sampled the rest as well.
For dinner we went to a Thai restaurant and she had an uncountable portion of pineapple fried rice. We came home and had mini cupcakes and cannolis for dessert.
Our household diabetes philosophy (yours may vary) allows sweets, and even junk food. Birthdays include cake. S'mores over the fire pit or a trip for italian ice are part of summer fun. A little bag of chips for the walk home is o.k. Most days include cookies or a non-dairy frozen treat before bed. Taken one at a time, or even two in one day, we're o.k. with both the questionable nutrition of it and with the diabetes challenges.
'Everything in moderation' is the general idea. But on days when moderation goes out the window, I'm left feeling torn. Should we ever let her eat this way?
"Yes! You can eat anything except poison...or cookies made with poison..." is one side of the coin. But she really can't eat anything and maintain the same kind of blood sugar numbers she does when she eats healthy, countable things. Twenty carbs of oreos and doritos is not the same as twenty grapes. Half a restaurant portion of pineapple fried rice and a bakery cupcake simply can't be counted and dosed for as accurately as portions prepared, weighed and measured at home. Add the 'one more dorito because everyone else is still eating,' or the picking all the pineapple out of the fried rice despite bringing home 'half,' and the challenge increases.
Still, I lean towards letting her learn from her mistakes over outright forbidding her from eating like this. She'll encounter days with heavy eating potential for the rest of her life, so perhaps helping her develop a healthy sense of how to handle them is the answer. Last week's birthday day was an example of how not to handle it. And she knew it. She was upset that her blood sugar was high for hours. Between that lengthy high and the general junk food overload, she had some lingering indigestion into the next day.
Sometimes she makes better choices. Last weekend, she said no to lunch out with a friend before an evening birthday party because it would consist of too much uncountable food in one day. She's come home from parties and told us she was the only one who ate the proffered grapes or salad to balance out the junk. She will report with alarm how many cookies or cupcakes some kids consume in one sitting.
I guess it's like all things diabetes, really. We do our best. We try to fit the diabetes stuff into what we consider a normal, healthy lifestyle. We try not to let it ruin our fun. We learn from our mistakes. And we're never quite sure we're doing it right.