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Tuesday, 07 November 2017 00:00

Best Food Choices for Seniors Living with Diabetes

Making the right food choices as a senior living with diabetes can be challenging. If they are also suffering with the middle to late-stages of Alzheimer’s and dementia, making informed decisions with clarity becomes less and less likely.

That’s why food decisions and the task of shopping needs to be closely monitored and carried out by or with a carer.

A critical part of managing diabetes relies on making the right food choices, and many seniors suffering from the more advanced forms of diabetes will face several food restrictions.

At the core of managing a diabetes diet are three fundamentals:

  1. Eating the right foods and well balanced meals
  2. Portion size
  3. Eating at regular meal times – everyday at the same time (where possible!).

A diabetes diet also needs to be naturally rich in nutrients, low in saturated fat, with an emphasis on fresh fruits, vegetables and whole grains. With this in mind, what are the foods seniors with diabetes should be eating?

  • Food rich in fibre: fruit, nuts, legumes (beans), vegetables, whole grain cereals and breads
  • Fruit and vegetables: Dark green vegetables including broccoli, spinach and peas, as well as orange vegetables such as sweet potato, carrots and beans
  • Healthy fats: Avocado, olive oil, cashew nuts and other nut variations – only to be eaten sparingly
  • Whole grain carbohydrates: whole-wheat bread and cereal, brown rice, brown pasta, lentils
  • Lean protein: Low-fat or soy / almond milk, fish such as tuna and salmon, lean beef and pork and skinless chicken, eggs (in limited amounts)

What are the foods seniors with diabetes should be avoiding?

While avoiding specific foods is necessary to maintaining a healthy diabetes diet, it’s not to say that a treat now and then isn’t allowed! For the majority of a diabetes diet, try and limit these food items:

  • Alcohol
  • Foods high in saturated fat: fast foods/ take away foods
  • Salt: canned, packaged or overly processed foods are high in salt content – try and stick to 2 000mg of sodium intake per day
  • Sugar: added sugar is hidden in everything! Be careful which packaged snack foods you purchase and be sure to check the added sugar content.

Finally, seniors diagnosed with diabetes should get regular doctor’s check-ups to ensure it is being managed properly. Health care professionals will be able to tell you what’s working in their diet and what’s not. While Alzheimer’s and dementia are serious diseases, diabetes is just as serious. Take control of your care receiver’s health and create a happier way of life for you both!

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