Counting carbohydrates is a critical part of managing type 1 diabetes and can get kind of crazy. Sure, it’s easy to read the nutritional facts on the label of a box, but what about a banana? Potatoes? Restaurant food?
For every carb consumed, there is a correlating amount of insulin that needs to be injected through a syringe, insulin pen, or insulin pump. Too much insulin could result in a low blood sugar, and can be very dangerous if it goes too low. Not enough insulin, and blood sugar will trend high, and will need to be corrected with additional insulin after a few hours.
Ok, let’s get to it! So, my kid wants goldfish. 51 Flavor Blasted Goldfish are 19g of carbs. But is a two year old really going to sit there and eat 51 goldfish? And am I really going to stand there and count out 51 goldfish? Nope and no, thanks! So let’s cut those numbers right in half. 27 fish equals pretty close to 10g, and that’s usually what we go with.
What about cereal? Get out those measuring cups and add together the carbs from the cereal and also the milk.
For food that isn’t so easily calculated like fruit and potatoes, we have a food scale, and it is incredible! It came with a booklet of codes, and after placing the food item on the scale and punching in the code, all the nutritional facts pop up, RIGHT ON THE FACE OF THE SCALE! Take apple slices, for instance. There are different codes for peeled, cored, and varieties. Blows my mind. Every. Single. Time.
Of course some foods we don’t count carbs for, and we are always fully stocked with carb free treats. We don’t count for meat, cheese, peanut butter, most veggies, pickles, olives, and nuts. So basically, string cheese and pepperoni are a staple for us!
Now it’s time to live on the edge. What if we’re out to eat and Buddy Boy wants chicken tenders, a fruit cup, and an apple juice. Don’t panic! There are a couple options. Search the internet for the restaurant’s nutritional facts page, and if you’re lucky, it will exist. But I usually opt for this next option.
SWAG queen coming through! I make a Scientific Wild Ass Guess, based on previous meals and just hope for the best! I estimate each chicken tender is 5g and that he will only eat two of them, smothered in ketchup. No worries. Ketchup is another freebie as long as he doesn’t use a bucket full. Fruit cup: let’s say 15g because I know it’s soaked in sugary syrup. Lastly, apple juice… pray for a box… but nope! Dump out some of the cup until you hit 15g. And, believe me, all type 1 parents know what exactly 15g of apple juice looks like, because it’s a very common low treatment method.
And that’s a grand total of 40g. Boom! SWAG-boss up in this Applebee’s!
Counting carbs is just a regular part of our day and because it’s a habit, I accidentally count the carbs for my own meals. Next meal you eat, try to calculate your carb count and let me know how it goes!