Our resource hub is home to a wealth of articles, stories and videos about managing and living with type 1 diabetes.
Place your order for our free information packs that support adults and children who have been recently diagnosed.
Our researchers are working on different ways to develop a cure for type 1 diabetes - from growing insulin-producing beta cells in labs to hacking the immune system.
Learn about the technologies that can deliver insulin automatically when needed. And discover the next generation of insulins that are currently being developed.
We have a wide range of fun and festive designs to choose from. Fund life changing research while spreading joy this Christmas!
This Christmas, your gift can bring us closer to a cure for type 1 diabetes – and every pound you give to our Christmas Appeal will be doubled.
The announcement is the biggest treatment breakthrough for type 1 diabetes since the discovery of insulin.
This event is designed for anyone living with type 1 diabetes who would like to learn more about managing their wellbeing across a variety of contexts.
We provide a wealth of information and free resources to help you support and empower your patients or students.
Take our free course for schools to learn more about supporting pupils with type 1 diabetes in educational settings.
Home > Knowledge & support > Guide for parents and carers > Managing your child’s type 1 diabetes > Carb counting for a child with type 1 diabetes
You will usually count carbs by using food labels and weighing your child’s portions so you can work out how many carbs are in their food. You will need some kitchen scales for this, so pick some up if you don’t already have some.
There are also apps, like Carbs and Cals and My Fitness Pal, which have databases of the nutritional information for thousands of foods.
There are two main types of carbohydrate that you need to count when you have type 1 diabetes:
Once you know how many carbs are in your child’s food you will then have to work out how much insulin they will need.
To do this you need to know your child’s insulin to carbohydrate ratio. This ratio is different for different children so your Diabetes Healthcare Team will tell you what your child’s ratio is.
As an example of how to work out how much insulin is needed, we’ll use a ratio of 1:10. This means your child would have to take 1 unit of insulin for every 10 grams of carbohydrate they eat. So if a portion of pasta had 40 grams in it, you would divide it by 10 (the number of grams in the ratio) and multiply it by 1 (the units of insulin). So your child would need 4 units of insulin for the portion of pasta.
Carb counting and making calculations can be tricky at first. Don’t worry if you’re not good at maths – over time you will get used to how many carbs are in certain foods, especially if they’re your child’s favourites and they eat or drink them often.
Find out more about counting carbs.
Insulin pumps and hybrid closed loop systems can make carb counting easier because you can enter the amount of carbs you’re going to eat and it calculates how much insulin you need. Find out more about type 1 tech for children.
A good way to see if you’re on the right track is to check your child’s blood glucose before they eat and then several hours after eating. This will help you see if your estimate was right.
Don’t worry too much if you’re not getting everything right all the time – you’re only human and carb counting is not always an exact science. Remember that other things can affect your child’s blood glucose levels as well as carbs, like doing exercise, being unwell or being too hot or cold.
If you’re struggling with carb counting – or any aspect of your child’s type 1 management – ask for help. Speak to friends, family and your child’s Diabetes Healthcare Team.
The Roche Accu-Chek Carbohydrate Counting Tool provides free online training on counting carbs (you don’t have to use an Accu-Chek pump or meter to use the tool).
You child doesn’t have to follow a special diet or have different meals at nursery, pre-school or school but you will need to know how many carbohydrates are in their meals.
This should be included in their Individual Healthcare Plan, which is a document that outlines how their type 1 should be managed when they’re in childcare or at school.
Talk to the school or the school meals provider to see if they can share a menu with you.
Some parents and carers prefer to make pack lunches for children with type 1 diabetes because it means that you can count carbs more easily.
Find out more about managing type 1 at nursery and pre-school and school.
Learn about blood glucose levels, how they’re measured, what affects them, how to check them – and what you should do if they are too high or low.
Hypos can be dangerous – but the good news is they’re simple to treat and there is technology available to help you see when one is about to happen.
Hypers don’t hold an immediate risk to your child’s health like hypos do, but they can make them feel unwell and can be serious if they’re not treated.
Your child will be seen regularly by a team of diabetes specialists. Learn about the different professionals involved and how to best work with them.
Information to help you start to plan a healthy diet for your child, plus the facts about sugar, carb counting, fats and protein.
Don’t miss out on the latest research, inspiring stories, tech news, upcoming events, and handy information on living well with type 1. Join us now and receive it all straight to your inbox.