One of the biggest changes we faced after Eliza’s diagnosis was meal planning. B.D. (before diabetes) we did not eat a tremendous amount of carbohydrates. We were not strict Paleo, but we did strive to eat as close to Paleo as possible. The carbs we did eat came mainly from fruit, veggies,and some rice. We generally avoided breads, cereals, crackers and all processed food in general. Unfortunately, Eliza’s insulin to carb ratio requires eating a minimum number of carbs at each meal in order to get insulin. I guess the other option would be to eat very few carbs but then the body turns protein into sugar and…well it is complicated. Her ratio has changed between 1:60 to 1:50 to 1:40 over the past 5 months The smallest amount of insulin we can administer with a syringe is a 1/2 unit. Have you ever seen 20 carbs worth of broccoli? Just to give you an idea, it is an entire bag of frozen broccoli. Getting up to 20 or 40 carbs with just veggies is near impossible. Eliza has an awesome appetite but she is not a Gorilla. Unfortunately we have added some foods back into her (and Jude’s) diet that we would prefer to avoid. This has been frustrating for me but in the grand scheme of things it isn’t a huge deal. This will be more easy to manage once she is on the pump or as her insulin to carb ration changes.
With her current ration of 1:40 we give her either 20 carbs or 40 carbs at each meal. It generally works out to 20 at breakfast, 40 at lunch and 20 or 40 at dinner depending on what we are having. When she is older she will make her own dish and then figure out how many carbs are in the food she plans on eating. For now, we generally make up the kids plates which gives us a lot of control.
There are several different ways of figuring out how many carbs are in a meal. At home we use carb factors to figure out the carbohydrate amounts in her food. Carb factors tell you the percentage of a food’s weight that is carbohydrate. I have lists of carb factors hanging on the insides of my cabinets right above our food scale. I can also figure out carb factors of any packaged food by dividing the total carbohydrates in a single serving (in grams) by the weight of a single serving (in grams) to get the carb factor for that food. Once you know a food’s carb factor you can weigh a portion of that food and get a pretty accurate carb count.
Food weight (in grams) x carb factor = Carb Count- Easy Peasy
Carb counting is especially fun before you have had a cup of coffee.
I weigh and/or measure everything that she eats to get as close to exact as possible when calculating her carbs. Sometimes I know how many carbs I want to give her but need to know how many grams of the food I would need to equal that amount of carbs.
In the picture below I wanted strawberries equaling 8 grams of carbohydrates. I divided the amount of carbs that I wanted by the carb factor and that told me the exact weight in grams I needed. I knew there was a reason I learned math.
The carb factor for strawberries is .04. Here I have 8.08 carb worth of strawberries. I know a lot of carb factors by heart now…I am a carb counting machine.
These are two of the resources I use when figuring out how many carbs are in a meal. I prefer carb factors because it is exact and I feel better knowing I am matching insulin to carbohydrates as accurately as possible.
You can also figure out the carb factor for a entire prepared dishes but that is a whole different post. It isn’t something that we have done often but it is possible and helpful if you eat a lot of stews, soups, casseroles etc.
If I never type the word carb again it will be too soon.
Disclaimer: Trying to count carbs in the same room as small hungry children can be hazardous to your health.
How do you figure out carb counts at home?