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In the event that you or someone you love is among the nearly 16 million older with diabetes, you know firsthand how challenging the condition is to deal with. Between medications, lifestyle changes, daily glucose tests, and much more, a diabetic can easily become overwhelmed. And maybe the most challenging obstacle to overcome is adherence to a disciplined diet plan.

Thankfully, help is available! Our senior in-home care team has put together some tips to make certain a healthy diet that is not only simple to follow, but satisfying!

Why a Diabetes-Friendly Diet Is Crucial

It is all about maintaining your blood sugar levels in a healthy range; and the best way to achieve this is through keeping your weight in a healthy range. Consuming too many calories and carrying around excess fat in the body triggers a surge in blood glucose, which could have severe repercussions, including kidney, heart, and nerve damage.

The Diabetes Eating Plan

Diabetics are encouraged to eat at regular times during the day in order to adequately manage insulin levels. A doctor or dietitian may take into consideration personal preferences, lifestyle, and health goals to develop a personalized meal plan. To follow are some recommendations for diabetic-friendly foods to include.

Fiber: Fiber helps with digestion as well as regulates glucose levels, and can be found in:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grains
  • Beans, peas, along with other legumes
  • Nuts

“Good” carbs: Healthy carbs (those with no added fat, sodium, and sugar) break down into blood glucose, and include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Low-fat milk, cheese, and other milk products
  • Whole grains
  • Peas, beans, and other legumes

“Good” fats: Much like carbohydrates, there are good and bad fats. Try to avoid trans and saturated fats, selecting instead foods full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (in moderation), such as:

  • Nuts
  • Avocados
  • Peanut, canola, and olive oils

Fish: Stay away from deep-fried fish and certain types of fish that are high in mercury, and instead opt for fish that are an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, including:

  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel

With these foods in mind, the American Diabetes Association suggests mentally picturing your plate in portions: one half of the plate on one side, and the second half divided in to two quarters. Now, make your plate as follows:

  • On one quarter of the plate, add some type of protein: chicken, tuna, lean pork, etc.
  • On the second quarter, place a whole-grain food or starchy vegetable: brown rice, green peas, etc.
  • Lastly, in the half-plate section, include non-starchy vegetables: spinach, tomatoes, carrots, etc.
  • Small amounts of “good” fats as listed above may also be included, along with a portion of low-fat dairy, fruit, and a plain beverage like water or unsweetened tea or coffee.

Here’s how it might look for each meal:

  • Breakfast: 1 piece 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, a medium dinner roll, and a glass of unsweetened iced tea.

An in-home caregiver from Hearts at Home In-Home Care, a provider of in-home support services in Kansas City and the surrounding areas, can help in a variety of ways to make sure seniors with diabetes follow their diets and enjoy leading a healthy lifestyle. From transportation to doctors’ appointments and exercise classes to grocery shopping and planning nutritious meals plus much more, we’re here for you, each step of the way.

Call us at 913-440-4209 to find out more about our top-rated in-home care services!