Wednesday, 8 August 2007

How many carbs in that round casserole?

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I grew up eating casseroles once a week or so, usually a pan of creamy noodley stuff. When my sister-in-law was in the dating stage with my brother, she would coincidentally eat over on the nights my mom served noodles. For months, she seriously thought noodles were our family's only dinnertime choice. Now jokes abound whenever my mom pulls out a noodle casserole.

Whenever I'm restricting calories, I always frown when faced with a casserole. How many calories in a glop of that? What about fat and carbs? Dieting aside, when it comes to taking insulin, knowing total carbohydrates is important for accurate dosing and steady blood sugars.

An article in dLife by Lara Rondinelli offered some good pointers on estimating casserole carbs. One cup of a casserole typically contains 25-30 grams of total carbohydrates, while one cup of chili has 25 grams of carbs. That quivering spatula holding a thick slice of gooey lasagna is another story. A medium, 13 ounce square has about 35 grams of total carbs, while an Olive Garden restaurant slice (4" x 4.5") has 54 grams.

Practice measuring out one cup portions of carbohydrate-rich foods at home, so you can train your eye on what this same portion looks like on your plate. Most restaurants are serving 3 cups or more of cooked pasta, about 75-90 total carbs, yikes! You can also ask for rice on the side when ordering a chicken stir-fry, otherwise guessing the carbs is more of a crapshoot. A couple good resources for carb counting are Calorie King and The Diabetes Carbohydrate and Fat Gram Guide. Raise your hand if you had a green bean casserole on Thanksgiving last year, mine is raised high!

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