Maintaining the proper balance of food and insulin is essential to achieving good blood glucose control. When the doctor and parents decide on an insulin dose for the child, they are assuming
the food intake will be kept relatively constant. Blood glucose testing may be required by individual students during the course of their school day. You do not need to know the details of the meal plan to help kids with diabetes.
You must simply understand that the diet for the child is based on the following principles:
- Eating the same amount of food (carbohydrate content) each day; and
- Eating meals and snacks at the same time each day.
These principles must be remembered, not only during the regular school day, but also when on field trips and during detentions and other activities. It is usually possible to co-ordinate meal and snack times with typical daily schedules. For example, the child’s snack can often be taken at recess or during the class snack time. Occasionally it will be necessary for the student to eat a snack during class and he or she should not be criticized or singled out for doing so. The use of “low noise” food such as cheese or dried fruit will minimize the disruption to the classroom.
Your children with diabetes may require extra supervision in the lunchroom and on field trips to ensure that they eat most of what has been provided for them. Overeating or eating sweets, will not give rise to immediate problems, but is cause for concern if continued. You should simply advise the parent of such behaviour. Missing a meal or snack or eating inadequately, however, is a much more serious problem and can easily give rise to a medical emergency, which requires immediate treatment. This situation, which is the result of very low blood glucose is called hypoglycemia. The appropriate action is immediate treatment with a readily absorbable form of sugar such as juice or regular pop. For more detailed information, please refer to the next section entitled “Hypoglycemia (Low Blood Glucose) - An Emergency!”.
With a bit of planning, children with diabetes are able to eat many of the foods that all children love. If parents are notified ahead of time of parties, “hot dog days”, or other special events involving food, the kids with diabetes should be able to enjoy them as much as everybody else.
If the child is on medication (the school needs to be aware of this) the Board’s Policy and Procedures needs to be followed, including the completion of all forms related to Policy #E-10 Administration of Medication.
The above documentation regarding medical concerns will assist the school in developing the Emergency Medical Alert form included at the end of this section.