I was asked a little while ago to review a new app for carb counting (or calorie counting if you wanted) that claims to make the whole process of carb counting easier. If you aren’t Diabetic and wonder why on Earth you’d want to count the carbohydrates in your food, then it’s to work out how much insulin you need for each meal or snack.
Too much insulin without the carbohydrates to cover it and a type 1 Diabetic (or type 2 on insulin) is heading for a hypo (low blood glucose), not enough insulin to cover the carbohydrates eaten and high blood glucose readings will be where you’re heading! It’s a very fine balancing act, I won’t get in to trying to calculate how much insulin to give for a carb counted meal when activities such as football matches need to be equated for….put it this way it’s about as easy as knowing what mood a toddler will wake in.
When Fin was first diagnosed we weren’t even told that carb counting existed, and it was only almost two years in that we were put on the waiting list to see a dietician to be taught how to do it, the waiting list was so long that we ended up doing a lot of research online and teaching ourselves.
Carb counting at first can be ridiculously time-consuming, and I’m pretty sure I didn’t eat a hot meal for the first 6 months of doing it. Once you get used to it you learn some carb amounts off by heart and it gets easier, but you constantly have to have pieces of paper and pens for calculations, and I still have to google for carbohydrate quantities of some foods.
When you google for carbohydrate quantities/values what you find is that different sites tell you different things, a bit like when my children have been fighting and claim the other one started it…who do you believe? Because of this, it is often so much easier to eat processed packaged food that has the carbohydrate values right there for you.
When carb counting, previously enjoyable (though rarely edible in my case!) forms of cooking such as baking become a real chore as you weigh every ingredient out, check the carb value of the ingredient, write it down so you don’t forget and then move on to the next ingredient before adding it all together.
This is where the new Cook & Count app comes in.
Not only does it already have some preloaded recipes on there for you, including this chocolate heaven cake recipe by the brilliant diabetes blogger Ninjabetic, but it also allows you to select how many slices you are cutting that cake into (or serving sizes of everything else) to make it easier to carb count. It also tells you the total carbs in the recipe so that you can be more precise and weigh the slice if you wish.
Always handy to have new recipes to try, and even better if you don’t have to do the worst of the carbohydrate counting yourself. The best part of this app though I think, is that you can add your own recipes to it.
You simply select the ingredients you want to add, the quantities of each one, and if by any chance there are some that aren’t on the list you can add them in manually. Once you’ve added all of them you can tap ‘total’ and it will tell you how many carbohydrates are in your recipe. When you set the serving number, it tells you how many grams each serving should be, or you can type in the weight of the serving if you don’t want each serving to be the same size.
Don’t worry that’s not a meal we’d really eat! Once you’ve worked out the carb content of your recipe…or rather once Cook & Count has done it for you, then you can save this recipe. This to me is where the app comes into it’s own in the realms of time-saving.
In future, any time you want to cook the same recipe, you just go into your saved recipe, and you already know now how many carbs will be in the completed meal. So instead of calculating each ingredients carbs as you go, you just need to make sure you use the same quantities as last time and voilà cooking and baking whilst carb counting made a lot easier.
Unfortunately one thing it can’t do is make me a better cook! As for how accurate the measurements are and can you trust it? Well it’s been NHS approved, and the NHS recommend it as a health app on iTunes, so I think that’ll be a yes.
Cook & Count is available on iTunes for apple products currently, and the android version is very close to release so keep an eye out for it.
*I was given a code to download the app for free, but I was not paid in any way for this post, I’ve purely done it because I think it’s a great app, which may help some of my fellow Type 1 parents to get back to cooking from scratch with less stress and ooh maybe even enjoy a warm meal occasionally!**To comment on this blog you do not need to leave your name, email address or website if you don't wish to. Any information entered will remain private and will not be shared with anyone other than the site owner.