When 67-year-old Mary was diagnosed with diabetes, her first thought was, “Well, there goes eating anything that tastes good.” Mary’s concern over how her diet would change isn’t unusual. Many people think that having diabetes is all about restrictions when it comes to eating. They might even be concerned that their meals are about to get boring. The truth is that eating with diabetes isn’t about restriction at all. It’s more about moderation and balancing the foods the older adult eats to prevent rises in blood sugar. As for boring, there’s no reason at all that meals designed for diabetics need to be tasteless and bland. In fact, having diabetes could spur your aging relative to try new foods and find things they didn’t know they love.
Foods Diabetics Can Eat
There isn’t just one diabetes diet because everyone is different, so what works for your aging relative might not work for someone else’s. People with diabetes can choose to follow several different styles of eating, including the Mediterranean diet, a vegetarian diet, or a low-car diet. It really depends on what other health benefits they are looking to achieve and what they like to eat. In general, a healthy diet for diabetics includes healthy foods from all the food groups, such as:
- Vegetables: Diabetics can eat both starchy and non-starchy vegetables. Starchy vegetables are things like potatoes and corn. Non-starchy vegetables include leafy greens, carrots, and tomatoes.
- Fruits: Include fruits in a variety of colors, like berries, melons, apples, and oranges.
- Grains: Aim for half of the grains the older adult eats per day to be whole grains. Examples of grains are wheat, oats, barley, and rice.
- Protein: Try to stick to low-fat proteins, like lean cuts of meat, poultry, or plant-based proteins.
- Dairy: Dairy products should be low-fat or non-fat.
A Few Foods to Limit or Avoid
Really, there is no food that has to be completely off limits. However, when your older family member chooses to eat dessert or a fatty cut of meat, they should be aware of how it affects their body and alter their diet for the rest of the day to accommodate the treat. Some foods that should be limited or avoided are:
- Foods high in saturated and trans fats.
- High-sodium foods.
- Sugary beverages.
Changing how your diabetic aging relative eats can take some extra work. Senior care can reduce some of the time family caregivers spend on planning and preparing meals. A senior care provider can sit with the older adult and help them decide on meals for the week that follow the eating plan they devised with their doctor or dietician. Senior care providers can even take your loved one grocery shopping and cook meals for them.
If you or an aging loved one is considering hiring senior care in Marietta, GA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers, call (678) 430-8511.