Summer BBQs with Type 1 Diabetes: How to Keep Blood Sugars in Range

*Disclaimer: This article is not intended to provide medical advice, diagnosis, opinion, treatment or services. This blog is meant to provide general information for educational purposes only. The information provided in this blog is not a substitute for medical care and should not replace advice from your healthcare provider.*

cover photo saying summer bbqs with type 1 diabetes: how to keep your blood sugars in range

A summer BBQ is a perfect way to spend quality time with family and friends and enjoy your favorite seasonal foods. But when living with type 1 diabetes, it can be overwhelming when the gathering revolves around an abundance of carb laden foods like pasta salad, desserts, chips, and more. But the good news is, there are a few steps you can take to make navigating summer BBQs with type 1 diabetes effortless for you and your blood sugars.


Don’t Skip Meals

You may feel pressured to skip meals in effort to save your carbs for later. But, this will only lead to you going into the BBQ with uncontrollable hunger and increase the feeling of being out of control around the food. Instead, choose to eat consistent meals throughout the day so you can remain mindful when making your food choices. When you are able to be more mindful with your food choices, you are more likely to carb count accurately and prebolus effectively because you don’t have an uncontrollable pull to eat everything in sight.


Notice How You Label Foods

Take a moment to consider if you are trying to be “good” by making “good food choices” at the summer BBQ. This can be a sign that you may be unintentionally creating a forbidden fruit effect around certain foods. When you tell yourself you can’t have something, that’s all that your brain ends up thinking about until you finally eat it. And when you do, you end up feeling guilty about it. The message of “carbs are bad” is untrue and not helpful. Instead of writing them off completely, consider the amount of carbs you choose, what foods you pair them with, and how you dose your insulin.


Set Expectations

With the endless supply of food at a summer BBQ, overeating is easy to do and is often encouraged. But with type 1 diabetes, overeating and constant grazing throughout the day can make blood sugars difficult to manage. Alternatively, go into the BBQ by setting expectations that allow for both structure and flexibility for the day instead of being rigid or restrictive with your food choices.


Prepare Beforehand

Doing some preparation prior to attending a summer BBQ can make the platters and plates of food seem less daunting. When you crave out time to set your expectations, think about what foods you want to enjoy, and look up the carb counts beforehand can alleviate some of the anxiety and uneasiness you may be feeling.

photo of someone serving food at a bbq

Common BBQ Food Carb Counts for Type 1 Diabetes

Type 1 diabetes shouldn’t stop you from enjoying delicious grilled foods and making lasting memories with your family and friends. Here are some of the carb counts for common BBQ foods that you may encounter at your next summer event!


Carb Counts for BBQ Bread

Hot Dog Bun: 26g

Hamburger Bun: 26g


Carb Counts for BBQ Sides

Potato Salad: 28g per cup

Macaroni Salad: 40g per cup

Corn on the Cob: 14-30g depending on size

Watermelon: 11g per cup

Baked Beans: 45g per cup

Mac and Cheese: 45g per cup


Carb Counts for BBQ Desserts

Pie: about 30g per slice

Brownie: about 40g per 2 inch square

Fruit Salad: 30g per cup

Jello: 19g per ½ cup


Carb Counts for BBQ Condiments

Ketchup: 9g per 2 tbsp

BBQ Sauce: 14g per 2 tbsp

Mustard: 2g per 2 tbsp

Mayo: 2g per 2 tbsp


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