When you first start as a family caregiver to an older relative, like a parent, who has diabetes, you’ll need to learn about how diabetes affects the way they eat. One way to ensure your parent eats in a way that helps to balance their blood sugar is to use a meal plan. If your parent doesn’t have a meal plan, it is a good idea to ask their doctor to refer them to a dietician who can help them to create one. The family caregiver who will be making meals or who can teach other caregivers about the meal plan should attend the appointments with the dietician, if possible.
What is a Meal Plan?
A meal plan is meant to serve as a guide to ensure the older adult gets all the nutrients they need to stay healthy, but also eats in a way that promotes healthy blood sugar levels. The meal plan should be individualized to your parent, taking into account the foods they like, their diabetes goals, medications they take, and their lifestyle. It should also plan for balanced meals eaten on a regular basis, typically three times per day.
If your parent is overweight, the doctor may recommend that they lose weight. The dietician can prepare the meal plan with that in mind. In the case where one of the goals is to lose weight, meals will be lower in calorie. The plan will likely need changing once the weight loss goal is met.
What Kinds of Foods Should Diabetics Eat?
In general, older adults with diabetes can eat many of the same foods that other people can eat. It’s all a matter of keeping it balanced. A meal plan can follow many different healthy eating styles, like the Mediterranean diet or a vegetarian diet.
Some kinds of foods diabetics should include in their meal plan are:
Healthy Carbs: Healthy carbs include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, and low-fat dairy products.
Fiber: Fiber is important for digestion and helps to keep blood sugar levels in check.
Fish: Diabetics should eat fish that is high in omega-3 fatty acids at least twice per week.
Good Fats: Although fats should be eaten in moderation because they are high in calories, the body does need some fat to stay healthy. Choose healthy fats, which include monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats.
Home care providers can use the meal plan created by the dietician to prepare balanced meals for your parent. In addition to making the meals, the home care provider can drive the older adult to the grocery store to shop and help put groceries away. Home care providers can also remind them to check their blood sugar and take medications according to the doctor’s instructions.
If you or an aging loved-one is considering Home Care in Big Timber, MT please contact the caring staff at AdvoCare Home Care Services today at 406-582-5402.