Meal planning is a great tool in Type 1 diabetes management. Not only what you eat is important, but also in what order you do it is. To be able to control our blood sugars in the best possible way, we need to have a good understanding of not only how much carbohydrates our meal has, but also the amount of protein, fat and fibre that this meal provides.
As Type 1’s, we have to time our insulin and food correctly to avoid unwanted highs and lows, and all the mood swings that come with them. Seeing the macronutrient composition and understanding how it will affect your blood sugars from just one glance at a meal is extremely important for a Type 1.
There are several things we can do to eat the foods we love, and manage them successfully. For example, eating the components of a meal in a certain order which will help the glucose absorption match the insulin profile in the best possible manner.
Meals that are high in fat and meals that consists of purely protein will need a split bolus, which means that 50% of the insulin is done prior to the meal as a pre-bolus and 50% is done after the meal, in 2 hours. Some people need the bolus for a protein-only meal 30 minutes after the food has been consumed and do not need any pre-bolus at all.
Meals that are high in carbohydrates will need a longer pre-bolus than usual to avoid a high blood glucose spike. However, if the high amount of carbohydrates is coming from your dessert or the latter part of your meal, then you may not even need a pre-bolus. Eating a large salad or carb-free high-fibre main will create a “bed” in your stomach, and make the glucose absorption much slower, allowing the insulin sufficient time to act in your body and match the carbohydrate action perfectly.
Timing your food correctly can lead to massive changes in your A1C and make you feel a lot better in your everyday life, both mentally and physically.
All the information in this article is not intended as medical advice and comes from my personal experience. Please, consult your doctor before making any changes to your healthcare plan.