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If you or someone you love is one of the nearly 16 million older adults diagnosed with diabetes, you understand firsthand how challenging the disease can be to manage. Between prescription drugs, changes in lifestyle, daily glucose tests, and much more, a diabetic can quickly become overwhelmed. And perhaps the most difficult hurdle to conquer is adherence to a disciplined dietary plan.

The good news is, help is available! Our home care team has compiled some tips to ensure making healthier nutritional choices is not just easy, but enjoyable!

Why a Diabetes-Friendly Diet Is Essential

It is all about maintaining your glucose levels in a healthy range; and the simplest way to achieve this is by keeping your weight in a healthy range. Consuming too many calories and carrying around too much body fat leads to a surge in blood sugar, which can have serious consequences, including nerve, kidney, and heart problems.

The Diabetes Diet Plan

Diabetic patients should eat at regular intervals each day, in order to best control insulin levels. A doctor or dietitian can take under consideration personal preferences, lifestyle, and health goals in order to develop a personalized diet plan. To follow are some recommendations for diabetes-friendly foods to add.

Fiber: Fiber is very important to help with digestion as well as regulate glucose levels, and can be found in:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Whole grain products
  • Peas, Beans, as well as other legumes
  • Nuts

“Good” carbs: Healthy carbohydrates (those devoid of added sodium, sugar, and fat) break down into blood sugar, and include:

  • Fruits and vegetables
  • Low-fat milk, cheese, and other dairy products
  • Whole grain products
  • Beans, peas, as well as other legumes

“Good” fats: As with carbs, there are bad and good fats. Stay away from saturated and trans fats, opting instead for foods full of monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats (in moderation), like:

  • Nuts
  • Avocados
  • Canola, peanut, and olive oils

Fish: Try to avoid fried fish and certain types of fish that are full of mercury. Instead, choose fish that are high in omega-3 fatty acids, including:

  • Tuna
  • Sardines
  • Salmon
  • Mackerel

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

  • On one quarter of the plate, place some type of protein: lean pork, chicken, tuna, etc.
  • In the second quarter, place a whole-grain food or starchy vegetable: green peas, brown rice, etc.
  • Finally, in the half-plate section, include non-starchy veggies: spinach, tomatoes, carrots, etc.
  • A small amount of “good” fats as listed above can also be provided, alongside a helping of low-fat dairy, fruit, and a plain beverage such as water or unsweetened coffee or tea.

Here is how it could look for each meal:

  • Breakfast: 1 slice of whole-wheat toast spread with two teaspoons of jam, ½ cup of whole-grain breakfast cereal, a cup of low-fat yogurt, and a portion 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, a small baked potato, ½ cup of peas, ½ cup of carrots, one medium dinner roll, and a glass of sugarless iced tea.

Morning Glory Home Care’s Alton senior care experts can help make sure seniors with diabetes make healthier diet choices and enjoy a healthy lifestyle. From transportation to medical appointments and exercise classes to grocery shopping and planning healthy meals and much more, we are here for you, each step of the way.

Call us today at 618-667-8400 for more information about our award-winning senior care services! Visit our Service Area page for a full list of the communities where we provide care.