What is Carbohydrate counting? Carbohydrate counting is a type of meal planning that is used by many people with diabetes. It is a way for people to figure out how many "Carbohydrates" they eat. "Carbohydrates" is short for "Carbohydrates."

Food we consume is broken down into 3 main types of nutrients-Carbohydrates,fats,proteins. Carbohydrates are mainly sugars and starch which is the main source of energy. Diabetic patients need to be careful about the amount of Carbohydrates they eat as it raises a person’s sugar level.

Which foods have Carbohydrates? Foods with Carbohydrates include:

  • Bread, pasta, rice, and cereal
  • Fruits and starchy vegetables
  • Milk and other dairy foods
  • Foods with added sugar (such as many cookies and cakes)

How is Carbohydrate counting helpful? Carbohydrate counting helps you:

  • Adjust the right insulin doses to give your child before meals and snacksThe insulin dose depends on factors like what your child eats (especially the amount of Carbohydrates) and how much he or she exercises.
  • Plan your child's meals and snacks for the day – You can use Carbohydrate counting to figure out how many Carbohydrates your child should eat at each meal and snack.
  • Optimising the blood sugar control – Spreading out the Carbohydrates your child eats over a whole day can help keep his or her blood sugar from getting too low or too high. This can help control your child's diabetes better.

How do I count Carbohydrates? To count Carbohydrates, you need to look at the food's nutrition label (if it has a nutrition label). You will need to look at the:

  • "Total Carbohydrate" number – This tells you how many Carbohydrates are in 1 serving size of the food. If your child eats 1 serving, then the number of Carbohydrates your child eats will be the same as this number.
  • "Serving size" – This tells you how much food is in 1 serving. If your child has 2 servings, the number of Carbohydrates will be 2 times the number of Carbohydrates listed.
  • "Dietary fiber" – Fiber is a Carbohydrate that is not digested and so does not raise blood sugar.So lesser Insulin is needed for fiber containing foods.

If your child's food doesn't have a nutrition label, talk with your dietitian (food expert), diabetes nurse, or doctor. He or she can give you information about the usual serving sizes of different foods and the number of Carbohydrates in 1 serving size.

How can I plan my child’s meals? —A child’s diet plan will be according to the age,weight and physical activity. The total number of Carbohydrates can be spread out for the day which can be eaten over meals and snacks.

Does my child need special foods? No. Your child can eat the same foods as your family which should comprise of fruits,vegetables,whole grains,low fat milk and dairy products.

What if my child is a picky eater? If your child is a picky eater, try to be creative. Ask your dietitian, doctor, or nurse for ideas for new snacks. If your child refuses to eat at meal or snack time, give him or her milk or juice instead.

What if my child eats food without telling me? —Your child should be made aware that eating extra snacks can increase his sugar levels leading to serious problems. Your child should always let you know if he or she wants to eat extra food. That way, you can make sure he or she gets the right amount of insulin.