Not knowing how to figure this out has created quite the predicament because 99% of my meals are prepared at home. It should come as no surprise that my post-dinner blood sugars are one area that my endo always tells me to work on because I'm typically higher than I should be. Read: I don't know how many carbs I'm really eating at dinner so I take a wild ass guess and I'm hardly ever right!
What's also sort of funny about this in retrospect is that I could have Googled this topic, oh, I don't know, 10 years ago when the Internet was already super popular, but I didn't. As with almost anything in life, "better late than never".
So are you ready to learn the super complex math equation?
1. List out each ingredient in the recipe and the amount (i.e. 1 cup milk)
2. Look at the container of said ingredient and see how many carbs are in that amount (i.e. 1 cup milk = 13 carbs)
3. Add up the carbs of all the ingredients
4. Determine how many servings are in the dish and what the serving size is (i.e. 8 servings; serving size = 1 cup)
5. Divide the total carbs (step #3) by the total number of servings (step #4)
6. Holy Lord, you've got your carbs/serving and all it required was addition and division!
Here's a real life example of my homemade meatloaf:
|1 - 1.5 lbs of hamburger||0|
|1 pkg Lipton onion soup mix||4|
|Splash of Worcestershire sauce||0|
|1/2 cup shredded sharp cheddar cheese||4|
|3/4 cup bread crumbs||60|
|1/4 cup milk||3|
|1 can of tomato soup||42.5|
|Serving Size||1 slice|
|Carbs per serving||16|
It takes some time to do this for each recipe, but once you've done it you never have to do it again. Plus, it's incredibly eye-opening to see how many carbs are in all the "filler" items. For instance, who knew 1/4 cup of bread crumbs has 20 carbs!!!
The other thing that can be tricky is figuring out how many servings are in something. For example, I did this with soup the other night and the only way I could figure out how many servings were really in the entire batch of soup was to take a 1 cup measuring cup and start scooping the soup out cup by cup until I reached the bottom. In this instance, I ended up with 7 cups. Again, time consuming, but now every time I make that soup I will know it yields 7 cups.
Back to the meatloaf (what a transition), last night I placed two servings on my plate and now that I knew it was 32 carbs I took 6 units of insulin (1:5). I was 108 when I started eating and the highest I went all night was 125. Pulling that off feels better than finding $20 in a coat pocket, people!
Had I not taken the time to figure this out I would have completely under-bolused for this meal and been high afterward. I would have thought, "eh, it's just a bunch of meat with no carbs" and I wouldn't have factored in the 60 carbs of BREAD CRUMBS. Moral of the story, math is your friend.
*You will need a food scale to determine the carb count for items like squash, pasta, etc. I weigh the item and then Google how many carbs (i.e. 20 oz. of sweet potato = xx carbs).
**The highest level of math I ever completed was pre-calculus, hence my hesitation and fear.