"I'm not hungry OR thirsty"

Lately our son has been completely rejecting any and all low treatments. When we ask him if he wants juice, milk, jelly beans, candy, etc. etc. etc. he just says “but I’m not hungry or thirsty” – with a lot of emphasis.

It’s been a bit of a roller coaster because he usually has at least one time a day where he needs some kind of preventive treatment.

The thing is, I totally feel him and he has a point – I mean, I hate eating when I’m not hungry or thirsty. And we don’t want him to get into the habit of ignoring his natural hunger pangs. The problem is, if we just let him wait it out, then he gets really low and feels shaky and awful and then will eat something – but he’s already hit the low. Usually it’s not an emergency but sometimes it is (i.e. he says he’s super hungry and is going to eat something like CAKE which we prebolus for and then decides halfway through he is all done.) We’ve started bolusing after a meal for a lot of stuff, which has reduced some of the mealtime battles. But there ares till times when he goes low away from meals. I really don’t want low treatments to become a power struggle.

I guess I’m wondering if anyone else has navigated this process and if so, whether there is a way to help him understand the benefits of preemptively treating the low without impairing his natural hunger and satiation cues? So that he feels like he has some autonomy or decision making in the process? We already offer him multiple options, but I really hate forcing him to eat. I would hate having to give him an emergency glucagon shot more though. Basically, I just hate this disease :frowning:

I don’t give Liam a choice honestly. He’s been through this where he’s headed low and didn’t want anything and I’m just honest with him. I say…do you want something to help your sugars come up, or would you prefer to go to the doctor and get shots in the hospital? He quickly eats or drinks w/e we have offered him. We also keep something that he never turns down (usually chocolate), in the event all other things have been turned down. If you have something that he doesn’t eat very often, but it’s stashed for emergencies, he’s more likely to eat it than turn it down. At least that’s what we’ve found with Liam.

Before we discovered he would eat/drink in his sleep, we have force fed him in the past. That meaning, Erin holding him down, and me putting gel into his mouth, or using syringe to force juice into his mouth. Fortunately, we’re past that stage these days. Liam sometimes says “I’m full”, but that never means he’s really full…it just means he’s full of w/e food happens to be in front of him, but it rarely means he’s really full.

Liam is only 3 and his understanding isn’t fully there, but lately he’s been asking lots of questions and seems to be understanding that he has diabetes and the treatments he gets are necessary. He’s lately been vocalizing when I administer bolus insulin for him…he now says things “You giving me insulin so my sugars go down?” and things like that.

We have always taken the direct path with our kids and don’t beat around the bush about anything with them…in a case like this, we always just lay out the alternatives – you either do as we ask (because we love you, care about you and want to do what’s best for you), or you can end up in the hospital very sick.

Good luck!


One of the the things that was very helpful to me when I was a young one, was that my parents didn’t treat food for lows like medicine. It was more like a treat. They didn’t give me glucose tablets or pour orange juice into a measuring cup like it was medicine. Instead a low was like treat time. I might not get dessert right after the meal, but I would get it eventually. So lows were things I liked.

For me, hunger would kick in when I was low. It becomes a survival instinct. My mom would make something I really liked and just put it in front of me. She didn’t have to tell me to eat it.

Have you tried that? Kids have a natural tendency to resist their parents. If you just put food in front of him - something he really likes - without telling him to eat it, what will he do?

It helps to find the one thing that is never refused. For me - chocolate milk.

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well, I think the issue is that we’re trying to treat before he goes low. If we wait till he’s low – then yes any number of treats he will gobble up heartily but he’s clearly miserable and really feeling sick by that time, and then he complains he’s hungry even after we give him the low treatment, meaning we have to turn him down for extra food in order to avoid a high. And that means 55 or lower is baked in :frowning: We really try hard to keep him above 70, because we want to preserve his hypoglycemia unawareness and because I worry about what it does to the autonomic nervous system.

We usually don’t treat low treatments like medicine and have tried to make it into a treat. But lately he’s just not been very enticed by anything. He’s turned down birthday cake, lollipops, smarties, chocolate milk, and any number of things he used to be really into. So maybe I need some additional suggestions for really enticing low treats.

We have in our house: chocolate, skittles, smarties, starburst, jelly bellies, chocolate milk, various fast-acting fruit (watermelon, grapes, mango, etc.), raisins, juice, saltines, glucose tabs and glucose gummies.

Is there some genre of sweet treat that I’m missing here?

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II guess I’m just worried about giving him issues with food down the line – like if we force feed him, maybe he’ll develop a bit of restrictive eating or something awful like an eating disorder.
I was severely underweight as a child and my parents were always force-feeding me – they would make me drink those Ensure drinks designed for elderly people, had a rule for years that I had to eat 2 ounces of meat at every meal, etc… and it really took me years and sustained effort to be a lot less picky. I don’t want him to take away some message about how saying no to food is a form of autonomy, you know?

Does he like sour stuff? Like sour patch kids? Popsicles or other frozen stuff? Frosting?

How about letting him go with you to one of those buy by the scoop candy stores and let him pick out whatever sugary candy he wants so you have a bunch of different things he’s excited to try?

But yeah, overall, I’d lean toward the no-nonsense, you do this or if you wait, we may go to the hospital and get a shot approach, and you have a choice between this one or this one, but you have to pick one of them.

Also, if you do wait until he’s low (purposefully or not) and then he is more hungry, I recommend having some low carb options (like sugar free popsicles or jello) or even sugarfree gum to chew on hand to keep busy with while his blood sugar comes back up. I do that for myself sometimes, since not overtreating is really hard since your whole body is screaming at you to eat! Alternatively, sometimes I do knowingly overtreat a bad low and then take some insulin, since I know the insulin will take longer to kick in than the sugar (or I’ll wait until my blood sugar just starts to go up first, but usually that means I get at least a little spike).

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Great ideas @cardamom, we’ll check out one of those candy stores and let him make his choice. And we don’t usually keep frosting in the house (we don’t eat a ton of cake and if we do I make the frosting from scratch) but maybe we can try that.

Also the idea of having sugar free snacks around is a good option. I mean we do have those, but we never think of them in the throes of a deep low because we’re worried if his BG doesn’t come back up then he won’t have appetite for the follow-up treatment. But I’ll try the next time giving him something low carb and tasty to satiate him during that time when he still feels low. Sugar-free popsicles I bet he will like. WE do sometimes treat lows with regular popsicles but he’s a slow eater, so the fast-acting element is counteracted by the 20 minutes it takes for him to lick it :rofl:

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I agree. We had to do this early on because we were unaware that he would eat/drink in his sleep. Since we found this out, we’ve never had to force feed/drink him and we’re glad because it made us ALL miserable. When we’d have to wake him up to get him to eat/drink, it was usually very long nights of screaming bloody murder because he was made to wake up to be forced to eat/drink.

I understand what you’re saying about not wanting to set up up poorly for the future…hating certain foods, being afraid at the sound of “this” or “that”. I have flashbacks when I even HEAR the word “Spam” these days…today it means unwanted email, but when I was a kid, that was my reality most nights of the week on the Dinner table…I cringe every time I hear that word because it connects me to those horrible memories (and meals). The selection of goodies you listed I know Liam would LOVE (anytime, full or not) so it sounds like Samson may be a bit picker about what he wants to eat. I guess if I ran into that with Liam, I would have a LOT of selection, and always be trying new things to see what sticks. Liam loves loves loves the, we call them “sugar candies”…candies he can eat only when his “sugars” are low. They are the normal Dex4 glucose tabs (orange).

We always have sugar pops, popsicles, etc., on hand also and that’s an easy and quick 4 carbs.

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I can certainly understand that! Being above 70 is definitely ideal.

So a few things I don’t see on your list.

I don’t see a lot of drinks. Grape juice, apple juice, coke, root beer, ginger ale, strawberry milk. :yum:

Frozen things. Popsicle, push-pops, the frozen icee things, milkshakes. Ice cream (I know the diabetes educators will say “No! It has fat and will be slow!”, but ice cream really does work. Those carbs are not going to disappear, they will work. Not the fastest, but they will raise you.

Cereals. Frosted flakes, Lucky Charms, Cap’n Crunch, Trix, Coco Krispies.

Here is something you have probably never heard of: Mix grape juice (use purple, not red or white) and vanilla ice cream. Absolutely incredible.

How about a Pez dispenser of his favorite character. What kid could resist a Pez candy coming from a Batman Pez dispenser!


Thanks for these suggestions @Eric
Pez is a good idea, he really likes tigers so if I could find a tiger dispenser that would be cool.

We don’t really do sugary cereals because the amount we’d need to raise him (4g) would be like a teaspoon of cereal and then we’d have that food around for like a year getting stale an his brother would whine for it pretty much constantly. He’s a big fan of chocolates too, but those usually don’t work super quickly for some reason.

He’s not really a fan of juices butI think he might like root beer or maybe ginger ale. He loves mineral water and anything fizzy.

Lately, when he rejects all the usual fast-acting carbs, he’s been okay with eating either saltines or Cheezits. I don’t know if they’re a lot slower than typical low treatments, but I think lately his tastes have veered more towards the savory side of things. So maybe popcorn or Pirate’s booty too?

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How about mixing a little lemonade with sparkling water and just call it “refreshing”?

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oh yeah that’s a good idea! I think he’d like that. :slight_smile:

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Popcorn might be tricky unless he’s willing to eat a lot of it, since it’s just not that calorie dense, unless you get caramel corn or something.

Chocolate doesn’t work that fast because it’s so high in fat, whereas everything else you’ve mentioned is non-fat or low-fat (which is generally the best bet for fast-acting carbs). Same reason I’d avoid chips when going savory (vs the saltines or cheez-its).

FYI: The Wal-Mart glucose tabs come in other flavors (tropical fruit, grape, raspberry) and are reasonably palatable.

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I have been ordering mine from Amazon, and I see that there are different flavors on-line as well, but perhaps Walmart is cheaper! Will ask @ErinElizabeth to check it out the next time she goes shopping. She doesn’t allow me to go shopping (as much as I want too, :: wink wink ::), because I always buy things I’m not supposed too (NOT part of my master plan…)

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She doesn’t allow me to go shopping

If I liked shopping just a little bit more, I’d try to stop Mitch from shopping as well. I’m very much about the list – if it’s not on the list, I’m not getting it. (Years of living in group housing trained me that way.)

As it is though, I’d much rather him do the shopping and come home with fancy cheese, then me do it every time but save money, etc.

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