If you or someone you love is one of the nearly 16 million seniors diagnosed with diabetes, you already know how challenging the disease is to take care of. Between medications, changes in lifestyle, daily glucose tests, and more, a diabetic can quickly become overwhelmed. And perhaps the most challenging barrier to conquer is adherence to a regimented diet plan.
Fortunately, there is help available! Discover how home care helps seniors with diabetes, beginning with the following compilation by our home care team of some helpful pointers to ensure a healthy eating plan that is not only easy to follow, but enjoyable!
Why a Diabetes-Friendly Diet Is Crucial
It is all about keeping your blood glucose levels in a healthy range; and the simplest way to achieve this is by keeping your weight in a healthy range. Taking in too many calories and carrying around too much body fat leads to an increase in blood glucose, which can have serious consequences, including nerve, kidney, and heart damage.
The Diabetes Meal Plan
People with diabetes should try to eat at regular times throughout the day in order to best manage insulin levels. A doctor or dietitian can take under consideration individual health goals, lifestyles, and preferences so they can establish a personalized meal plan. The following are a few recommendations for diabetes-friendly foods to include.
Fiber: Fiber is essential to aid in digestion as well as regulate glucose levels, and can be found in:
- Vegetables and fruit
- Whole grain products
- Beans, peas, and other legumes
“Good” carbs: Healthy carbs (those without added sodium, sugar, and fat) break down into blood glucose, and include:
- Fruits and vegetables
- Low-fat milk, cheese, as well as other dairy products
- Whole grain products
- Peas, beans, and other legumes
“Good” fats: Much like carbohydrates, there are bad and good fats. Avoid saturated and trans fats, selecting instead foods rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (in moderation), like:
- Peanut, canola, and olive oils
Fish: Avoid deep-fried fish and certain kinds of fish that are high in mercury. Instead, choose fish that are rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as:
With these foods in mind, the American Diabetes Association recommends mentally picturing your plate in sections: one half of the plate on one side, and the second half split into two quarters. Now, make your plate as follows:
- On one quarter of the plate, add a form of protein: tuna, lean pork, chicken, etc.
- In the second quarter, place a whole-grain food or starchy vegetable: green peas, brown rice, etc.
- Lastly, in the half-plate segment, include non-starchy veggies: tomatoes, carrots, spinach, etc.
- Small amounts of “good” fats as listed above can be included, along with a serving of low-fat dairy, fruit, and a plain beverage like water or unsweetened tea or coffee.
Here is how it might look for each meal:
- Breakfast: 1 slice of whole-wheat toast spread with two teaspoons of jelly, ½ cup of whole-grain cereal, a cup of low-fat yogurt, and a piece of fruit.
- Lunch: A chicken sandwich on wheat bread with low-fat cheese, lettuce, and tomato, a piece of fruit, and a glass of water.
- Snack: 2 ½ cups of popcorn with 1 ½ teaspoons of margarine.
- Dinner: Salmon grilled in 1 ½ teaspoons of canola oil, one small baked potato, ½ cup of peas, ½ cup of carrots, one medium dinner roll, and a glass of sugarless iced tea.
An at-home caregiver from Home With You Senior Care, a trusted provider of home care in Owings Mills, MD and the surrounding communities, can help encourage seniors with diabetes to follow their diets and lead a healthy lifestyle. From transportation to medical appointments and exercise classes to grocery shopping and planning healthy meals and more, we are here to help, every step of the way.