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Planning Meals for Seniors with Diabetes: Healthy Options and Tips

Diabetes meal planning can help seniors living with the disease prevent it from getting worse while protecting their overall health.

The American Diabetes Association reports that 25.9% of Americans over the age of 65 have diabetes. Caregiving for a senior with this disease requires proactive meal planning. (diabetes.org)

Commonly known for its effects on glucose (blood sugar) levels, diabetes is a disease many seniors live with. Type II diabetes is more common among seniors. The disease is directly influenced by nutrition. As a result, caregivers and their seniors must plan meals that help keep diabetes under control. (nia.nih.gov)

 

Healthy Food Choices for Diabetes

Fortunately, living with Type II Diabetes doesn’t mean seniors can’t eat their favourite foods anymore. Diabetes can often be managed simply by making healthy choices. Portion control and consuming healthy foods like vegetables and lean meat are key.

 

WebMD suggests opting for:

 

 

Sugar-free food when possible

 

Low sodium alternatives

 

Fresh, whole foods

 

 

Whole grains

 

Low-fat dairy

 

Minimal fried foods

 

 

 

Diabetes Meal Planning Methods (diabetes.org)

The Plate Method

One easy way to plan a healthy diabetes-friendly meal is the plate method. Select a meal that will fill one-quarter of the plate with a lean protein, another quarter with a grain or starchy vegetable, and the remaining half of the plate with a non-starchy vegetable.

Carb Counting

Since carbs break down into the glucose that a person with diabetes has trouble regulating, it is best to limit carbs consumed to about 45-60 per meal. Seniors can still enjoy their favourite foods but are able to choose the right portions with carb counting.

Glycemic Index

Often used along with the carb counting method, planning meals around the glycemic index (GI) can make dietary choices easier. Seniors with diabetes choose from foods that are low on the glycemic GI for two meals per day and may opt for just one high or medium GI food each day.

 

Quick Meal Planning Tips

Swap For Healthier Alternatives

If a senior loves particular ingredients or foods, plan meals with healthier alternatives. For example, swap sweet potatoes for fries or use sugar-free jam instead of jelly.

Keep Meals Simple

Healthy diets rarely require much prep. When meal planning, make it a rule that you cook just one meat, one side, and one vegetable. Whenever possible, simply season it all and then grill or steam.

Develop a Routine

Once you’ve found favoured healthy meals, plan to prepare them once a week. A routine will save you the hassle of trying to be creative all the time.

Home Care Tip:

Keep a grocery list of healthy foods on a diabetic senior’s fridge. When you discover a food that isn’t favoured, cross it off. Within a few weeks, you’ll have a list of preferred diabetic options to work from.

Ted Wolfendale

Administrator at Dial-a-Nurse
Mr. Wolfendale is a graduate of Stetson University, and Stetson University School of Law, and was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1988. He is admitted to practice in the Middle district of Florida, is an active member of the Florida Health Law section, and Lee County Bar Association.

In 1995 he became Administrator of Dial-a-Nurse nursing agency, the oldest nursing agency in the Southwest Florida succeeding his mother who started the company 37 years ago. He is also President of Nevco, Inc., an educational healthcare training company begun in 1988.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with the U.S. Department of Commerce on various Missions to improve the quality of life around the world by development of supportive healthcare programs. In 2005 he traveled with U.S. officials and addressed the Italian National Government assisting in the creation of Nurse Education mandates for that Country. In 2006 he was invited and spoke with the National Institutes of Continuing Education in Eastern Europe on healthcare education and developmental mandates, and most recently represented the United States at the European Union in Lake Balaton, Hungary in 2011. In 2014 he traveled with the U.S. Department of State to Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam in an effort to improve caregiver knowledge and training.

Mr. Wolfendale has worked with a number of non-profits in contributing and creating curriculum to improve the quality of life in third-world countries since 2001, and notably created a successful program in Odessa, India that has been modeled in other areas of the world. In his backyard, he has worked with local Goodwill Industries to provide curriculum and training to underserved individuals who have obtained employment as a result of educational training. He was the Congressional appointment to the Governor's purple ribbon task force in 2013, and has worked to educate caregivers in all aspects of Alzheimer's training.
Ted Wolfendale

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