Snacking after and before meals

Hey all, i'm a newly diagnosed type 1 diabetic at age 17 and one of my main struggles is having to eat between certain time periods and not being able to snack freely throughout the day( i tried this and my bg levels were 20 and above before my lunch. However having had my first consult with the dietician i have learnt a lot about the foods which should be minimised and portion control. But my main weakness is after dinner, so i had dinner at 7:00 and its now 11:30 and i have already had 2 sandwhiches after the main meal which was marinated beef with tzaki(can't spell) and potatoes,spinach and rocket.I eat plenty of protein and carbs but still feel the need to snack 2-3 hours after my meal. Any suggestions of meals or snacks? Right now all i want is to talk to someone who gets diabetes first hand and can hopefully help. Thankyou Adele

Is your BG low 2-3 hours after your meal...If I go low after eating a meal I'm always hungry. It's going to be hard to tell whats going on in your Diabetes life without knowing a little bit about your treatment plan......????

I eat when I'm hungry no one told me as a T1 I can't eat when I'm hungry. I try to bolus a bit before I eat but there are times when I don't and my numbers usually stay good. I'm not sure why you were told you have to eat only at certain times maybe it's based on when you take your long acting insulin? When I was on shots I split my lantus dose because if I took it all at one time I would always have a big crash. It seems a little odd to me that you have to eat on a schedule because you bolus for meals regardless of when you eat.

Thankyou for the replies. So i take novo rapid insulin shots at breakfast(6iu) lunch(5iu) and dinner(5iu) also lantus before bed(12iu). I don't usually check my bg levels before i snack or even after, so I'm going to start doing this to keep track. And as for eating times i think i can start to vary it a bit because as you say, it sounds a little odd to eat on a schedule, and i will just monitor more frequently for changes. Thankyou John and Alisha, i feel less stressed about it now.

Adele do you take long acting insulin too like lantus? When you say you take a certain amount of fast acting is that what the doctor told you to do or because you are eating the same thing all the time you take that amount. What I do is take 1 unit of fast acting for every 10 carbs I eat. I was on 15 carbs per unit then went to 12 but now it's 10. I hope that makes sense. Maybe it's because your newly diagnosed but I don't remember doing it another other way than what I do it now. You should talk to your doctor about it. Are you seeing an endo?

yeah i take lantus just before bed. I think I'm on certain amounts of fast acting insulin because my diabetes educator tried to teach me about carb counting and percentages and i was completely lost. However my dietician said she wants me to focus on portion control then later she will teach me about carb counting. Yes, I'm also seeing an endo but i have had only one appointment with her so far which meant that she sort of asked all the questions and we had to fill in my profile on her computer, but next time i see her i will ask about this.

Oh that makes sense. I'm getting old so I can't remember that stuff from 18 years ago ;) It's really not hard to count your carbs to get your insulin ratio not at all but since your so new at it it can be alot and a bit overwhelming. You could try eating a snack of 15 carbs and taking 1 unit of insulin and see how it works for you once you get the ratio you'll be doing it all on your own. The 15 carbs to 1 unit is what I did in the very beginning. Do you have any idea how many carbs you're eating for your meals?

No not really ahahahah, but for breakfast i have two bits of toast so thats 2 serves of carbs 30g i think, however for dinner and lunch its a bit confusing because sometimes i have pasta or lasagne and that throws me way out, but usually my meals are based around a protein with at least 2 serves of veggies and 1 to 2 serves of carbs like mashed potato or dry biscuits.

Next time you see your educator ask what ratio you're on.It's good to know if you want to eat something different then at least you know how much insulin you should take for that. Did she allow for snacks or are the snacks just not enough? Are you having any low blood sugars?

I'm not sure about the snacks but its probably because they are low carb and very small e.g 1 nectarine, a few almonds or other nuts, a can of tuna and vegetables. Yeah i have had a few low blood sugars, theses have only occurred in the morning so we have being experimenting with the amount of lantus i take before bed, and the amount of carbs I'm eating with my dinner. Thanks for all the helpful tips, and i will definitely ask my educator about my ratio.

A little tip to help you find your carb ratio. If you are ready to eat a meal and your bloodsugar is in range, eat a simple meal and look at ALL the nutrition labels. find out how many carbs were in what you ate.

Lets say you had a sandwich, the serving size on the bread was 1 slice and the amount of carbs per serving is 11. All you have to do is multiply that 11 by 2 (since you had 2 servings) to get a total of 22 carbs. Then add up everything else you ate such as the toppings on the sandwich, your drink, chips, etc. (you might need a calculator at first, but it gets easier)

Then take your normal shot as prescribed by your doctor. Check your bloodsugar 2-3 hours later. If its in range, great! just take the amount of carbs you ate and divide by the insulin you took. If, hypothetically, the meal was 60 carbs, and you took 5 units of insulin and 3 hours later your bloodsugar was in range. Just divide 60 by 5 and get 12!. Your carb ratio would probably be somewhere around 1:12.

This would mean every time you eat 12 carbs, you'd need to take a unit of insulin. Even if it is just a snack (this can be affected by other things like fat, protein, activity, stress, time of day, hormones...etc. but this is the simplified version)

If its out of range, Just correct the reading and try again at the next meal with a different amount of carbs. I'm not sure if your doctor has covered how to deal with corrections yet, so I don't want to get any more complicated than I just did.

Also, its good to count the carbs on some of your meals just so the doctor has an idea of WHY your bloodsugar might be in or out of range. an endocrinologist will probably be pretty good at figuring the above math out if you can provide them with the information they need.

Sorry for the long post. I hope I helped!

TimmyMac has a great idea and a great post. You may want to ask the doctor about splitting your lantus into 2 shots. I started taking all mine in 1 shot and I had a ton of lows overnight. I know a lot of people split the dose and it helps to prevent the lows. I took half at 10 pm & the other half at 10 am. I know this is a lot of info that may be overwhelming but it's good to help you solve some issues that might come up.My doctor didn't suggest I split my dose I got the idea from a group like this and he said to try it. I know if I would've waited for my doctor to have the answers I would've been waiting forever.

I see your sugars are running high. (20 mmol)

If you are constantly hungry/thirsty, this is the most common side effect of high sugars.

Snacking is fine if you know how to account for it by counting carbs and you know your carb ratio. If you don't, call your endocrinologist and make an appointment with them and also ask for a diabetes educator/nutritionist. They will teach you how to do these things.

Once your sugars are in better control, you will find that you have a much easier time of it and that you are not so constantly hungry and thirsty.

I would like to also recommend getting a good food scale and a set of measuring cups.
This will help you to better portion your servings so that you can accurately count your carbs, again, keeping you in better range of control. :)

For now until you are able to speak with your doctors, you can try the following:

Eat lots of green veggies.
Eat the veggies FIRST when you eat your meal. This helps in digestion and also helps to minimize the spike in your blood sugars after a meal.

Test BEFORE you eat.

Wait 15 minutes after you give your insulin to begin eating.
This will again help to minimize the spike in sugars by more closely timing when the food starts working with when the insulin is working.

Try to wait 2-3 hours between snacks/meals.

2-3 hours is a good time period to wait since if you eat something, your body's metabolism will stay active for about 3 hours. This is also the typical peak window for most fast acting insulins. If possible, test every 3 hours or do your best to.

Remember, the advice is just advice until you decide to act on it. Talk to your doctor and do what is best for you.

Good luck! :)

Thankyou for replying Mario, i have being eating a lot of green vegetables, but now i will make an effort to eat them first in my meal, its so interesting how little changes in eating patterns can effect your bg levels. As for waiting 15minutes after the shot before eating, i was told by my educator to have the shot then eat straight away and not to wait more than 10 minutes before eating, however i will try your strategy and see what happens.

Her recommendation is pretty standard now that we have a decent selection of fast-acting and ultra-fast acting insulin on the market.

The key to my suggestion is an understanding of how long it takes your insulin to begin working in your body vs. how long it takes for your food to come on line

For example, if your target blood glucose level is 100 and pre-meal you test at 78 you would only wait maybe 5 minutes after your shot to begin your meal.

If your BGL is at 120 you would want to wait the full 15 minutes.

Make a bit more sense?

And yes, making small changes to our eating habits can have a very significant effect on our desired outcomes in regard to our BGL. It seems like such a simple change, but a few simple changes in any are of our lives can have a larger impact right? ;)

yes definitely, i understand what you mean now about the waiting period between the shot and food intake. Yay i love learning new things about diabetes.

Hi Adele.
I see you're eating lots of carbs - sandwiches, potatoes, etc. Did you look into Dr. Richard Bernstein's low carb recommendations? A lot of us pwd eat low carb and find it makes the whole process much easier. Blood sugar much more even, less insulin, less highs and lows. Lose weight with no effort, lots of energy. Look into it. Good luck.

Know you are new to all things D, and are still in the learning phase for carb counting/basal testing/I:C ratios, Duration of Insulin Activity (DIA) and Correction Factors/bolus timing/portions and carbs that work or not.

Would highly recommend geting a copy of Think Like a Pancreas by Gary Scheiner CDE. Best investment I made in the first few months after I was diagnosed. Helped me to understand what was going on and how I could change/correct/prevent/alter/modify the out come so I was able to achieve the control I wanted.
Was not easy- took a lot of reading, willingness to do repeated basal testing( aka lots of FSs). Checking out each meal I ate to see if my carb choices/ portion size worked with my bolus dose and timing. But with repeated looks and good record keeping was able to understand and begin to work things out.
If your basal is set correctly you should not need to eat/snack between meals due to a low BG. BUT if you lost a lot of weight/muscle mass in the months before your diagnosis then you have some catching up to do and may feel like a bottomless pit as your body rebuilds/gets out of the starvation mode it was in just prior to diagnosis.
Learning the difference between needing to eat due to a low number vs being hungry vs comfort/habit eating can take a bit of time.
Repeated testing with knowledge of when to test so you can make meaningful changes is important. Think Like a Pancreas will walk you through this. And it may have more to teach you than the classes you will be taking. Was well worth the investment for me.