Friday, February 24, 2012

Battling the Morning Lows ~Type 1 Diabetes War~

My oldest daughter Macy is 16 years old and she is a Type 1 Diabetic. We have many battles in our War with Type 1 Diabetes, but morning lows is our toughest battle by far. One of our challenges is our daughter is a teenager, so she likes to stay up late and sleep in late.

There is nothing as scary as trying to wake up your child and getting no response. Our wonderful Endocrinologist helps us fight our battle and tells us it is a very common battle. Sigh, well that just sucks if you ask me. (which technically by clicking and reading here, you did).

One of the ways we battle morning lows is a good snack at bedtime. Our doctor explained it in a way that made a lot of sense to us. How accurate it is I could care less. It made sense and helps us manage these lows so don't bother telling me whether he was wrong or not. What he said was that our bodies go into a recovery mode around 3am whether we are awake or not. Its a lot easier on your body to be asleep during this recovery mode. Basically its when your body does its massive cell regeneration and fixing (for lack of a better word). Even though you are asleep this mode actually uses energy. If you are awake because you are a teenager who is playing on your computer or watching movies or whatever...then you are burning even more energy because you are awake and in recovery mode. If you didn't have a good snack that provides the carbohydrates and such needed while your body is burning this energy then as a Type 1 Diabetic the result is a low blood sugar. (If you aren't then your body changes how much insulin is going through your system and basically adjusts things. With an insulin pump or long acting insulin in your system there is no way to adjust for it).

This is why a good bedtime snack is so very important! I was recently asked for some examples of a  high protein, fiber, fat, and carbohydrate snack that our daughter uses at bedtime. Why protein, fiber, fat, and carbohydrate you may be asking...well the slower burning the snack the longer the energy lasts, more or less. It takes longer to process so it creates a steady amount of energy for your body for a longer period of time. Think of those times you drank or ate something high in sugar and then you had the 'sugar crash'. Your body got energy from what you ate but it burned up so quickly that you crashed down to no energy afterwards. Regardless of whether you have Type 1 Diabetes or not, balancing your food and snacks helps maintain your energy levels and keeps you from being over hungry later (which just results in over eating).

Now I must remind you that I am NOT a doctor. I am NOT a health care professional. I am only sharing with you what works for us and the education we have received from our doctors and health care team. Never take anything you read on the Internet as law or fact for your situation, no matter how similar it may seem. Always ask your doctor prior to changing or using any new techniques! If your doctor has recommended balanced snacks and meals for your Type 1 Diabetic child, then the following list of our snacks may help you build your own and may even give you some new ideas.

So back to the examples. When I was asked I realized my daughter is now almost 17 years old and she is control of what food she eats and doesn't eat. So I had to look for our lists and I updated them based on what she normally eats for her snacks. The main goal is to get a child who is a Type 1 Diabetic to eat a good snack, while dealing with the normal childhood pickyness. Remember these are our numbers based on the products we use. Always notate your own exact information from the products you are using...they can vary and I don't want your child to have a high or low because of our numbers.

Some of the snacks we use for bedtime:

100% Whole grain whole wheat bread (1 piece) with peanut butter (about 1 tablespoon)
10g fat
5g fiber
9g protein
23g carbs

Quesedilla (one 10" flour tortilla) with cheddar cheese (about 1/2 a cup)
23g fat
3g fiber
20g protein
37g carbs

Special K red berries cereal (about 1 cup) with 2 % milk (about 1/2 cup)
2.5g fat
3g fiber
6g protein
33g carbs

Baked beans (about 1/2 cup) with a cut up chicken hot dog
10g fat
5g fiber
12g protein
32g carbs

1/2 bag of microwave popcorn, 1 medium size apple (with skin), and 1 piece of string cheese
12g fat
4g fiber
9.5g protein
23g carbs

substitute a med size pear instead of above apple
12g fat
6.5g fiber
9.5g protein
35g carbs

Tostitos scoops tortilla chips (24 chips) with salsa (about 4 tablespoons) and queso (about 1 tablespoon)
15g fat
5.5g fiber
4.5g protein
45g carbs
We add string cheese to many snacks simply because my daughter likes cheese, its easy since its individually wrapped, and really provides the needed protein and fat combo to almost any carbohydrate snack. Did you know a single piece of:
Sargento regular string cheese
 6g fat
0g fiber
8g protein
1g carb

Another great snack (if you can get your child to eat it) is Chobani Greek yogurt. Although there is no fiber in these yogurts they really pack a punch with the other components. There are two kinds, a child's style and the regular style. Our three year old loves the child's yogurt in very berry.

Chobani Champions Very Berry Yogurt (the child's style)
1.5g fat
0g fiber
8g protein
13g carbs
Chobani Blueberry Greek Yogurt (standard style)
0g fat
0g fiber
14g protein
20g carbs

Another item we keep on hand for our daughter is the Snickers fun size candy bars. Our Endocrinologist recommended them. No seriously, they work great for a snack or in a pinch a slight low while your out and about (like at school in class).  We don't use this as a bedtime snack, I just thought I would share it with you.
Snickers fun size candy bar
4g fat
.5g fiber
1.5g protein
10.5g carbs

I would love to have some feedback. What is your child's favorite bedtime snack or snacks? Do you battle with morning lows? If we all share then think of all the information we would have available!!!

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