I've been trying to understand how important diet is to managing diabetes and was wondering whether meal planning was a really important thing and what it involved. Do you have to spend a lot of time each week or is it something you barely have to pay any attention to?
Normally, the approach to the diet is a bit mathematic thanks to the Carbohydrate Counting. The Insulin Sensitivity Factor(ISF) and the Insulin-Carbohydrate(I:C) ratio help to calculate the right amount of Insulin needed for each meal. If needed the ISF it's helpful the make some corrections to the Blood Sugar level, even before the meal, to be added to the normal amount of insulin. For example for a 150gr meal of rice (28gr carbs/100gr) and with a I:C ratio of 1u:10gr, you will need 4.2 units of insulin to compensate the meal. Let's assume that you have a BG of 175, with a target of 120, there is a delta of 55, with an ISF of 30mg/dl per U, you'll need 1.8 units of insulin. In total for your meal, you will need 6 units of insulin to reach the BG target .
In conclusion, a diabetic person have to spend as much time as a normal person planning the meals. The difference (unless you already know that) is that you should know the weight and the macros of (almost) everything that you're eating.
Here is how to calculate the ISF and the I:C: