I’ve just uploaded a new page (see the top menu tabs) with a couple of tables of the most useful rules of thumb I’ve found for carb counting. Since my daughter became a Type I (insulin-dependent) diabetic back in February, we’ve both had to become pretty familiar with the amounts of carbohydrate in a given amount of different foods.
Although the American Dietetic Association’s “Choose Your Foods” carb count guide for diabetics is pretty helpful (and pretty inexpensive, about $3 per copy if you order from them direct on www.eatright.org), it’s written from the perspective of the eater, not the cook.
So (as the cook in the family) I’ve worked out the approximate ratios of carb grams per total weight of some common foods I serve routinely. Rice and beans are easy enough to remember. But when I want to know how much of a given potato my daughter can eat as one carb serving (15 g), it helps to be able to know that a regular potato is about 1/6th carbohydrate. Then all I have to do is weigh it on the food scale in grams and divide by 6.
The 2/3 carb ratio for moderately sweet baked goods like pie, scones, cookies and muffins is also pretty helpful if we’re home and can weigh a portion for my daughter. Sweets are one of the hardest things to guess right consistently by eye, even when you’ve made them yourself. If there’s a nutrition label, by all means go with it; if not, weighing a portion and figuring 2/3 has been a pretty good approximation so far.
Ice cream is its own thing–again, hard to figure. Dreyer’s 1/2-the-Fat is our standard home brand, and hovers around 15-18 grams per half-cup (small scoop). But Baskin Robbins 31 Flavors are all over the map–when you go in for a cone, you really need to ask them to look it up for whatever size scoop, then figure the cone separately. A junior scoop in a cake cone for pistachio almond turned out to be something like 25 grams, plus 4 grams for the cone. Almost double what a plain scoop would have been at home.
Over-the-top caramel-syrup-fudge-frosting types of confections are a little out of my league, closer to candy bars than cakes, and would probably be more like 80-90% carb by weight (or mass, if you’re being excessively metric about the properties of grams). I haven’t listed them because they’re so laden it’s hard to think of serving them very often, but I do have a basic rule-of-thumb candy list at the bottom of the carb counts page (saving the best for last) and a link to a much better, more comprehensive one so kids don’t have to feel completely shut out at Halloween or Valentine’s Day. Or birthdays.
I also have a short (for me) bit of hard-won advice on how to strategize with a (school-aged) diabetic kid before they have to face candy-prone situations where their friends are free to eat right away and they aren’t. Good for braces-wearers too…actually maybe we should all take the hint.
In any case, I hope you find this new page helpful whether you’ve got diabetics in the family or you just want to know what you’re eating.
Let me know what you think!
Filed under: baking, Beans and legumes, books, breads, cooking, Dairy, DASH Diet, Desserts, Diabetes, fruits, kid food, nutrition, Pasta | Tagged: carb counts, carb ratios, carbs in baked goods, carbs in candy, childhood nutrition, dietary guidelines, juvenile diabetes |