Since the day you are diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes, you are taught all about the importance of carb counting.
The effect it has on your body, how to properly count all your carbs for your entire meal, and so on. I know it can be frustrating when meal time comes. You may be very hungry and everyone starts eating, but you still have to measure out your carbs for each item on your plate. Just know that if you can master figuring out the carb content overtime on some of the most common foods/drinks you consume regularly, you will begin to get the hang of it and not waste as much time as you once did during meals.
Follow along as I share some tips and tricks on how to properly count your carbs like a pro:
1/ Break down your food groups – The easiest way to view carb contents on foods is by breaking down the foods into categories in their truest form. Fruits, vegetables, starches (the real carbs), and protein are all their own food groups and once you divide it in these categories, you can now begin to find trends in carb contents based on the food group. After that, select the foods that you most commonly eat or are exposed to and know what the typical serving size is and carb contents according to that size. The more you eat these foods, the easier it will be to familiarize and label each food with a carb content, so you will no longer need to check on the grams of carbs per serving.
2/ Don’t be afraid to ask – You may feel embarrassed or find it annoying to ask in public, but if it benefits your overall health and blood sugar management, ask away! For example, if you go to a new restaurant and are unsure of the carb contents on a certain food, simply ask the server for the nutritional information. Most restaurant now carry these facts and are there to help you out! Some places have to-go nutritional information menus in which you can collect from your most visited restaurant locations and keep in your car for when you go back and decide to try out a new food/drink.
3/ Take advantage of technology – We live in a world nowadays in which we can literally look up anything at the palm of our hands, so now, you can easily find a nutritional facts sheet online through a simple google search. Again, most restaurants have their menus and nutrition facts posted online for your own benefit. Also, there are many great apps on your phone that can help you figure out how many carbs are in a certain food, based on the portion you are eating, which can be very beneficial.
4/ If all else fails, guess! – Probably not the best advice, but from one Diabetic to another, this last tip can work. If you have mastered your carb counting and know how certain foods make your blood sugars react, you can then guess if you cannot find the exact carb contents on a certain food based on what you know. Many people will “eyeball” their food and based on that, assume the carbs in that food, while watching your blood sugars very carefully prior to eating. Let’s face it, we cannot have a printed list of carbs for every food we eat at every location we’re in at all times. Sometimes, they’re simply not provided for us and that is when guessing and using your own knowledge come into place.
To sum up, it can be very hard being a Type 1 Diabetic, and with that, we have to accept the challenge to watch out for ourselves. Our bodies are important and need proper care and attention. The reason we count the amount of carbs we eat is due to the fact that carbs turn into sugar for energy and when we are diagnosed with T1D, we are given a carb to Insulin ratio based on our own specific needs as a Diabetic. We use that ratio to determine how many units of Insulin we need in order to eat a certain amount of carbs. Without properly counting, we could have some serious fluctuations in our blood sugars and put harm on our bodies. Think about that. Care for yourself and take control.
It all starts with YOU.