I’ve always loved to cook, but when my son was diagnosed with Type 1 Diabetes in 2013, cooking went from an easy and enjoyable way to nourish my family to a near occasion of stress.
I was very tempted to stop cooking my usual way and start living out of bags, boxes, and cans — things that come complete with nutrition labels and specific serving sizes.
Fortunately I was advised against taking the easy way out. The diabetes educators and nutritionists encouraged me to stick with home cooking, as long as I was serving reasonably healthy meals to begin with. “Feed him like you normally would — just count the carbs,” was their advice.
In the beginning, my style of cooking changed quite a bit. I measure when I bake — not so much when I cook. Like many cooks, I “eyeball” it. It took me months to feel comfortable doing that again.
In the meantime, my measuring cups, scoops, and spoons got a real workout.
Eventually, my strategy became centered on the Happy Fork nutrition-label tool. It’s free to use, though you do need to carefully check the result for each ingredient in your recipe, because its defaults for certain things might not match up with yours. It generates a label for any recipe I have, much more quickly than I could look up and add up each ingredient’s carb count.
What’s different about cooking for diabetics? Not much, really. You just need to be conscious of the numbers.