I’m sorry to hear you are having to deal with this but we welcome you! I was diagnosed 32 years ago when I was a teenager and it is just all so overwhelming. She is lucky to have a mom that is willing to dig her feet into this nutty disease to help her navigate it. Be patient with yourself and try to just absorb things gradually. Even after all this time, I still learn new things as I go along.
There is no special “diabetic diet”, contrary to what they used to teach. However, it is very beneficial to follow a lower-carb lifestyle of eating, simply because we have to give ourselves insulin in shorts or by pump and it pools under the skin. The bigger the dose of insulin, the more unpredictably it absorbs, so if you can keep carbs at under 25-30 per meal most of the time, her blood glucose (BG) will be much easier to manage. Fats are actually low to no carb, so don’t worry about fats or calories for now. Focus on reducing potatoes, bread, pasta, rice and sweets, and on increasing meat, cheese, green veggies, and nuts. Fruit is OK, but just one or two pieces a day because they are high in carbs. Carbs are carbs, doesn’t really matter whether they are “natural” or not, or whether they are processed or not. Carbs like fruit and beans do have some fiber, which can slightly reduce the carb impact, but you can get into that more later. Just try to read labels to become comfortable with carb contents of various foods (some are surprising!) and learn how to carb count. A local dietician or diabetes educator can help with this, just ask your doctor.
Learn to embrace artificial sweeteners like aspartame. Do some critical research - this ingredient has been tested to death in various western countries and consistently proven safe. Diet sodas and drinks are usually <1g carb and are a great choice for kids. Aspartame, Sucralose, and Stevia are all fine. Fruit juices and “naturally sweetened” drinks (agave nectar, honey, etc.) are just pure carbs and not a good choice for managing. Save the high-carb stuff for more fun things…like cake!
Ask your pharmacist if they know of any coupon programs, there are a lot out there, and there are also resources at most of these drug manufacturers to help families with financial constraints.
That’s probably enough for now, but keep coming back here and we’ll try to help!