Insulin dependent diabetics really do go though massive life changes to stay healthy. Prior to diagnosis, I was good with having snacks on the bottom shelves of the pantry to let the boys go grab something when they were hungry. I tried to stock plenty of fruit and fiber and protein snacks and some stuff that was just more neutral, not really good or bad for you, but just satisfied the hunger. They always let me know when they were getting a snack, but I seldom said no unless they weren’t eating at meals or it was too close to a meal time, etc.
On December 19th, when we returned home from the hospital, all that changed. Snacks had to be scheduled, and we could vary a little but we had to be conscious of the size of the snack and definitely the carb count. Snacks are 15 carbs (can vary from 14-17 carbs to be safe). When I got home, it was simply overwhelming to look at my pantry and see not only all the snacks that had to go or be “rationed” out, but all the things I cook with and meal planning. I am a crazy casserole cook. I love casseroles and they’re so easy to make. My dad calls me the casserole queen. But casseroles are the most complicated meals to carb count and we were so new in the process . . . I was so overwhelmed. Just stood at the pantry door and wept. (By the way, I have since discovered that Kraft Foods magazine includes nutrician facts with all their recipes and I get so many of my casserole ideas from those magazines.)
I remember Jason going to work the Monday after we got home on Saturday from the hospital. I cried lying in bed thinking I was left here alone with this diabetic child who needed shots and specific carbs or it could hurt him, and I was scared to death. My sister, who lives in Missouri, came down a few days after we got home from the hospital to help me clean my house, get laundry caught up and just simply be with me so I wouldn’t have to be alone. Life was so incredibly overwhelming those first few weeks.
One of my biggest obstacles was snack time. I had so much in my pantry that was okay for him to have in the right portions, but he would be hungry and watch the clock and just jump up and say, “It’s snack time! What can I have?” It would be such an emotional trip for me to stand and count out 13 Doritos or 7 hi ho crackers (Wal-Mart brand) or 10 animal crackers, etc. While my sister was here, I decided to clean out my pantry. And in doing so, it dawned on me that I needed to take snack size baggies and count out all those bags and boxes and put them in a large bin, so when it was time for a snack, I could just tell the boys to go to the snack bin and get a snack (I would tell all the boys because all three adopted Ryan’s diet).
Since I was so emotional, for two days, Missy stood at the kitchen counter and counted out bags and boxes of snacks and put them in baggies and filled the bin to its brim and overflowing! It’s a practice that I have adopted on a regular basis. So our bottom shelf of the pantry is a snack shelf. And it’s worked out perfectly. I just went to the store on Friday and restocked. It takes a little time but it’s cheaper to buy some large bags and count out rather than buy all the individual prepackaged snacks. I do buy some prepackaged, like the 100 calorie Nabisco variety boxes and the large bags of individually packaged chips (that include Doritos). But it was something that was totally worth doing for some sanity and organization in our new diabetic world.
- 10 choc animal crackers
- sugar-free pudding cups
- no sugar added fruit cups
- 15 Teddy Grahams
- 40 Whales/Goldfish
- 3 Graham Cracker Squares
- 4 pb crackers
- 25% less sugar granola bars
- 11 mini smores crackers
- no added sugar applesauce
Additional items to keep on hand for snacking:
- Hawaiian Punch individual flavored water packets (0 carbs) in small plastic container to the right of the bin
- Wal-mart version of sugar-free drink mixes in the round canisters behind the water packets
- Tupperware cereal containers on second shelf with the nutritional facts taped to the front
- Grapes are approx one carb per grape and we have some in the fridge and freeze some for frozen snacks
- 1/2 a nine in banana is 15 carbs
- fist size apples are 15 carbs, I buy the fuji apples
And some “Free” snacks that Ryan can have in the in-between times if he should get hungry (these snacks/foods are 5 carbs or less):
- Cheese sticks
- a piece of lunchmeat ham or turkey
- sugar-free jello cups (0 carbs)
- a tube of Sixlets candy (5 carbs)
- Dum Dum sucker (5 carbs each)
- Sugar free gum (1 carb each)