In 2014, Reddit user Sideburnt requested help figuring out when to bolus for a meal.

Redditors came back with a wide range of responses, reminding us that everybody’s body and everybody’s diabetes is a little bit different. We all react differently to food and boluses. So don’t get discouraged if you feel like you can’t get bolus timing down! It may take a while to figure out what your body needs.

We hope you find this list of comments a little bit humorous, a little bit reassuring, and perhaps a little bit helpful for figuring out your own bolus routine. We don’t recommend taking medical advice from Reddit, but knowing what has worked well for others may help you if you’re in the middle of a guess-and-check process with your insulin boluses. Just be sure to talk to your doctor before making any big changes in your insulin schedule.

Read on to learn when these 9 Redditors bolus for a meal.

(NOTE: Some comments have been edited for length or grammar.)

9. THE “OLD FAITHFUL” METHOD.

“10 mins before eating. Or 10 minutes after when I forget I have diabetes.” —Reddit user ABLA7

Salmon salad

8. WAIT TILL YOUR BRAIN WORKS.

“If I am a bit high, I take it around 15 minutes before eating. If I am really high, then even earlier than that (though I rarely test more than 15 minutes before eating). If I’m a bit low, I take it right before I eat. If I am really low, I eat, figure out how much to take when my brain works, and inject after.” —Reddit user jibbybonk

7. BEFORE, DURING, OR AFTER.

“When I take my bolus depends on what I’m eating and what exercise I’ve done earlier in the day or am about to do and BG level before the meal. So anywhere between 5 minutes before eating to various points throughout the meal and sometimes just afterwards. I’m quite insulin sensitive though, so I have the opposite problem in that the insulin usually starts acting before the food does, hence why I often take it in the middle or after.” —Reddit user jUllrich

6. DEPENDS ON THE MEAL.

“I have spent some time looking at when I inject versus the post-meal spike using my CGM. I now wait 30 minutes before breakfast after bolusing and 15-20 minutes for lunch and supper. Seems to have prevented most crazy spikes regardless of what I eat.” —Reddit user Guineapiggy3

5. RIGHT BEFORE EATING.

“When I’m at home, I stick myself before eating, which can be anywhere from a few seconds to a couple of minutes, depending on whether or not I forgot to put everything on the table (it’s amazing how many times I forget to get eating utensils, or have to go to the kitchen for salt and pepper, or get something to drink). If I’m in a restaurant, I aim for just before the food comes out—not after ordering, but when I see the waiter come out with the food.” —Reddit user goodlit

4. DEPENDS ON THE NUMBERS.

“I went from 0-5 minutes pre-bolus for breakfast to a varying amount based on my pre-breakfast number. If I am <100, I wait maybe 5-10 minutes then eat. If 100-150 or so, I wait 15-25 minutes. If 150 or more, I may wait as much as 45-60 minutes. I use my Dexcom to watch until my number starts to fall in the last case. It’s worth talking to your Endo about this.” —Reddit user redondo21

home-baked pide

3. CARBS MAKE ALL THE DIFFERENCE.

“I now avoid the spike by not consuming crap carbs, which are really pretty much all easy carbs. Once I stopped eating those, the spikes disappeared.” —Reddit user Pablo_Hassan

2. NO SYSTEM IS PERFECT.

“I try to take my bolus about 10-15 minutes before eating if I remember. Typically however, it ends up being less time than that because I forget to do it that early, or even before at all. Of course this does have its drawbacks. Yesterday I bolused for a drink at Starbucks as I was arriving, only to find out the drink I wanted was no longer available. I felt forced to get another drink, as by that point I was going to need to get something (soon) to cover my recent bolus either way.” —Reddit user notstevenseagal

Hot cafe latte with art on top on wood table

1. EVERY BODY IS DIFFERENT.

“I usually take mine halfway through a meal and it seems to eliminate spikes FOR ME. Every body is different, so you have to experiment and see what works for you.” —Reddit user 1337beetus


When learning to bolus and pre-bolus for your meals, try to document everything you eat as well as how much and when you bolus. Don’t make too many changes too rapidly; you want to be able to accurately isolate the variable (or variables) that make the difference between a steady blood glucose reading and a spiky one. Consult your doctor about any strange behavior in your blood glucose levels and make sure he or she knows about any changes you intend to make in your bolus routine. And hang in there! You’ve got this!

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