Stacking the Deck: Carb Cards Make Counting Carbs a Cinch

This year Carb Cards™ have added calorie and fat gram information to the 3rd edition of the carbohydrate counting flashcards. Twelve new cards with information on such foods as oatmeal, beans, and fish have been added to the revised 55-card deck to encourage healthier choices and more variety in meal planning.

Carb Cards is a set of flashcards with pictures of common foods, portion sizes and the amount of carbohydrates in grams. Originally designed to teach children carb counting by playing popular card games such as Go Fish and Concentration, educators have found adults are also attracted to the flashcard format of Carb Cards because they provide a method for easy memorization of portion sizes and carbohydrate amounts of favorite meals.

Carbohydrate counting can be a confusing and troublesome task with so many choices and information available to patients. But Carb Cards are a simple tool that thousands of people use to help with this carb counting confusion. It’s a fun interactive tool that gets serious results.

It’s Not Easy Getting Kids to Make Healthy Choices on Their Own

My son Charles almost died at nine years old.  He had type 1 and was misdiagnosed for weeks.  I blame most of his misery on myself—I did not know what diabetes was!  There was no diabetes on either side of our family, and I was ignorant of the symptoms.   It was a shock and a struggle to adjust to this disease but we were determined to learn everything about keeping him healthy.  These were the days of R and N insulin, a 2-minute meter, and low-protein diets.

Four years later my heart broke when I recognized the symptoms of diabetes in my 8-year-old daughter, Windy. How could I tell my young children that not only did they have to give up all treats like birthday cake and cookies, but they had to have shots at least twice a day and stick their fingers and squeeze out blood many times?   The horrors of complications and the terrors of low blood sugar episodes still haunt us.

But kids first, diabetes second. We kept our lives going.  When Charles was ready to go off to college, Humalog, the faster-acting insulin, was introduced.  The meters were giving results in under 30 seconds; the nutrition information was now all about carbohydrates.

I planned most of Charles and Windy’s meals, bag lunches and snacks went to school and activities.  But how could I teach them how to plan their own meals and count up the carbohydrates?  They needed to have a good sense of that because the amount of insulin they inject needs to equal the amount of carbohydrates they consume. After years of listening to my concerns, their teenage ears were tuning out.

Necessity is the Mother of Invention

Great ideas can appear in times of need.  I imagined the flashcard concept and a soon was able to create the prototype which was tested and reviewed by local nurses, dietitians, and doctors.   I put the cards out to match the food I was serving.  The kids quickly learned the carbohydrate amounts and kept them memorized.  They even had fun quizzing each other, and accepted the cards in their lunch bags.  I knew I had a tool that would help other people with diabetes stay healthy until the cure was available.

Since 1999 Carb Cards have helped thousands of people all over the world meet the challenge of living well with diabetes.  The new 3rd edition of Carb cards has twelve new foods and calorie and fat gram information added to the deck.  For more information about Carb Cards please visit our website or call 805 927-1710.

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