Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Counting Carbs At Our House

The first meal I cooked for Matthew after he was diagnosed with diabetes left me shaking in my Texas boots!

It was his favorite: tortellini.  (I know---clearly I had lost my mind!)  Our CDE suggested we stick with easy meals at first and I should have listened.

By the time I cooked the pasta, calculated the carbs, measured it out, checked his BG and gave the shot of insulin, I was a nervous wreck!  It was the most stressful meal I had ever made in my life!!

We're 2 years into Type 1 now and while we're definitely in a groove, I want to know how other families handle meals.  

Here's a sneak peak into what dinner looks like around here.  

Our 4-Step Process

  1. About 15 minutes before dinner, I'll call Matthew to check his sugar. 
  2. We'll discuss the menu.
  3. He'll decide how much he wants to eat (we write that down) and he'll count the carbs.
  4. He'll bolus the full amount. Sometimes he'll stay and help me dish everything up. He might measure out peas or fruit.  Sometimes I do all of it..

A Couple Notes

  • After eating dinner, occasionally he'll want more food.  He just boluses again at that point, but most of the time it's done up front.
  • If his sugar is high, I'll try to delay dinner.  
  • If he's low, he might wait and bolus right as we sit down to eat.
  • I'm a big believer in pre-bolusing, so we do that as much as possible. (This leads to my question below...)

At a Buffet Restaurant or Party

In these situations, I love for him to pre-bolus about 50 carbs.  Then he'll fix his plate and keep track as he eats more.  He'll keep bolusing as necessary.

Sometimes he'll just dish up his food, count the carbs and bolus per plate. (This is my big question: Do you handle all meals like this, instead of bolusing up front?)

One Last Note

When eating at home, we try to be as exact as possible with the carb count.  We weigh or measure every single bite that Matthew eats.

I find this gives us more freedom when we eat out.  We just SWAG and feel more relaxed about it.

Please share what dinner looks like at your house.  I'd love to see other perspectives and get some tips!  And if you decide to write your own post, let me know and I'll link to you.


Penny said...

Great post, Tracy. I love to hear how others carb count and what it looks like in their houses. I'm gonna try and write a blog post about it when we return from vacation.
Which, as it turns out, is one long week of swagging and guessing and kisssing it up to God :0)

Our Diabetic Warrior said...

Tracy, you bring up an interesting point about bolusing after eating. That was always burning question of mine. Since Andrew's on shots, I always wondered if I could add extra insulin after a meal if he decided that he wanted to eat more. Maybe shots and pumps work different since you can program a pump to let out insulin at different times/amounts. The doctors always told me to wait 2 hours before administering more insulin.

After reading your post, I think it's time for me to start getting Andrew more involved with counting his own carbs. I call him up to test his blood sugar before the meal. I usually figure everything out and then dose him before he eats.

Debbie Williams said...

Hi Tracy, Daphne's just 2 so I do the planning and calculating and dosing(she's still on shots) and she just does the eating! Here's how it goes:
1. I plan meal and calculate carbs ahead (about a half hour)
2. We check BG. If she's high she gets insulin up to 1/2 hour before eating, if not 15 minutes before or at the start of the meal. Lucky for me she's a good eater and so far I can count on her finishing up her whole meal.
Note- if she's over her goal of 150 we correct and bolus. We also use a diluent so we can get real specific- right down to 1/10th of a unit.We can also give more after if she eats more although we usually don't need to.
We are just 8 months into out type 1 journey and we're finally starting to see some patterns which is nice. We visited the Joslin Clinic in Boston and they pretty much changed her entire treatment plan. Previously we were not using the diluent and we were only correcting if she was over 300 and never at night. This new system is working MUCH better.

Katy said...

I totally do the 4 step process :)
Sometimes it annoys my mom, because I'll give her a hard time if I'm in a bad mood (sorry mom!. At parties, I look ahead of time at the food, and go around with a calculator... LOL P.S. I love this blog it's great :D