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For those suffering from diabetes, Halloween isn’t an all-you-can-eat affair. Everyday people with diabetes closely watch their diet and manage their sugar intake. But, this doesn’t mean they have to sit out on all the fun! With this carb counter people with diabetes can still participate in the fun while managing their intake!
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When it comes to holidays, parties, or even trips to the grocery store, children tend to look for sweet treats. Although it can be difficult for families with diabetes, it is important that all children develop a healthy relationship with food…and that includes knowing how to fit candy and other treats into everyday life.
Everything in Moderation
Some people think that kids with diabetes should avoid sugar. We think kids with diabetes should eat like kids without diabetes – eating all types of foods in moderation!
On special days, try to share the focus with games, family time, costumes and decorations. One parent gave the idea of the “magic pumpkin” to handle the typical influx of candy at Halloween. Have your child choose their 5 favorite pieces of candy and be amazed as the “magic pumpkin” turns the rest into a special toy or book overnight!
Remember Diabetes Management Basics
1. It is often easiest to cover candy with insulin by dosing for it (1-2 pieces) with other foods at mealtime. By having other food in your stomach, you can avoid the blood sugar spike that could result from eating candy by itself.
2. Don’t forget to check those blood sugars! Sweets can affect blood sugars in different ways depending upon the fat content. Knowing how your child’s blood sugars react is important to fitting treats into their meal plan.
A Simple Calculation
Candy can be challenging to count, especially it comes in single pieces. One way is to do a simple math calculation to figure out how many grams of carbohydrate are in a single piece of candy.
A child chooses 2 Hershey Kisses to have with dinner...
9 pieces = 25 grams of Carbohydrate
25 grams ÷ 9 pieces = 2.6 grams/piece
2.6 grams/piece X 2 pieces = 5.2 grams of Carbohydrate to include with meal dose
By Kathy Rosenkranz
ADA Volunteer, District 27-A2 Diabetes Awareness Chair & PR Director
What is Camp Lakota-Diabetes Camp in Wisconsin? For me Camp Lakota is a magical place. I am 30 years old and yes when it comes to camp I believe in magic! Camp Lakota is housed at Wisconsin Lions Camp (WLC) through a wonderful partnership with the Wisconsin Lions Foundation (WLF) in a town about 17 miles North East of Steven’s Point, WI. It has 550 acres of gorgeous land and a private 45 acre lake-Lions Lake. WLC houses a summer long camping program for kids with disabilities of all kinds. Here however the child takes focus, not the special needs they have. During the 2, 1 week sessions of Diabetes Camp the campers get to be just that, a camper. The ADA provides a wonderful volunteer medical staff that allows these campers a safe environment to do just what any kid wants to do at summer camp-go in the infamous mud pit, swim in Lions Lake, go hiking on the trails, rock climb, do arts and crafts, and the list goes on, but most of all the campers get to meet other kids just like them.
Many of our campers come and they are the only child in there school or community with diabetes, but now they are surrounded by 149 other kids that have it too. Also many of the medical staff has diabetes, like me, Kathy Rosenkranz, Medical Staff Volunteer and District 27-A2 Lions Diabetes Awareness Chair/PR Director. I have been living with diabetes 20 years, and for the last 13 years have come back to camp to volunteer my time. Many ask why, what is the draw, well it goes back to that magic. Here I have seen campers start at 8 years old scared to be away from home the 1st time and unsure how to manage this diabetes they now have on their own, to being 16 and realizing how much they taught me over the years.
Diabetes Camp allows even me to make some of the most wonderful connections. I was too old to be a camper when I first heard of Diabetes Camp, so I started to volunteer and come back in many ways for my own selfish reasons; I get to be just like all the other kids. I have many friends now because of camp that have diabetes and we all have been through so many of the same struggles Diabetes can cause that we can talk to each other about it and in many ways talk to someone who just gets when you are having a bad numbers day.
The magic is all around in the kids learning how to count carbs on their own, putting their pump site in for the first time or even in something as simple as coming out of their shell and making friends that they want to talk to about their diabetes. Diabetes has no cure, so for now we will live the rest of our lives with it so if a camper can make some friends, learn a little and not feel alone in this, that’s a little bit of magic. Or like me find something that grows to a passion, I work with the ADA on the camp planning committee and love every minute, but the biggest piece of magic came from the ADA, Diabetes Camp and the growing partnership with Lions in WI. It helped me become a Lion who now can spread the word even farther on Diabetes Awareness because of the work both the ADA and Lions do. I guess you can see I love camp and I am counting down the days to my 2011 camp experience. I can’t wait to see old friends, make news ones and help show our campers living with Diabetes isn’t all that bad. I’ve done it for 20 years and living a healthy life. The entire camp experience is magical and I could go on and on about it, but the only way to truly understand it is to see it in the faces of the campers and staff!