Fueling the body at least every four to five hours is a great way to regulate blood sugar, keep energy levels up and better manage diabetes. Doing this relying on only three meals a day simply is not possible. That is where snacking comes in. Healthy snacking means making wise choices. Examples include minimizing sugary treats and choosing fruits, vegetables and lean proteins. Remaining mindful of calorie counts is also important, as is avoiding unhealthy processed foods and added sugars.
The number of snacks consumed and when they are consumed will vary by individual. Specific guidelines depend heavily on the meal plan advised by a doctor or nutritionist. For all individuals though, there are some common sense tips that can help to make snacking healthier and more convenient too.
Getting too hungry is never a good idea for seniors with diabetes. This often leads to choosing the quickest, most convenient snack in sight which is often a bag of chips, candy bar or that leftover piece of birthday cake. Prevent these hunger strikes by planning snacks in advance. Pre-chop fruits and vegetables to have on hand before the urge to eat hits. Apple slices or celery with peanut butter, raw almonds and hard boiled eggs are excellent options. Avoid stocking the pantry with unhealthy items. Make low-sugar or low-salt selections when you are looking for a “less healthy” treat.
Mind Your Portions
Portion is key to successful diabetes management. Without it, even that healthy treat can turn into a high calorie selection that is bad for the waistline and blood sugar management. While portion size is seldom a problem when it comes to fruits and vegetables; grains and proteins should be carefully measured out to avoid overconsumption. Take the time to plan snacks ahead. Break portions into small, individual size baggies or containers to help with this. If you are purchasing anything pre-packaged, read the label to best understand what a portion size is and avoid overeating.
Feeling bored or depressed is a recipe for overeating. This is especially true for seniors who may be homebound and seldom have opportunities to socialize. While it is a good idea to eat something healthy about every four hours, think before you eat. Avoid mindlessly munching. Ask yourself, are you really hungry? If not, is it boredom, depression or anxiety causing you to want to eat?
If you constantly find yourself eating when you are not hungry, consider finding ways to socialize a little more often. Join a gym, visit a senior center or get involved by volunteering in your community to discover new opportunities and spend more time around other people. If you are homebound, ask friends and family to visit more often. If that is not an option, the company of a professional in home caregiver can help you to avoid feeling lonely and depressed so that you eat less and enjoy your snacks and meals more.
Know How Carbohydrates Affect Your Blood Sugar
Finally, make sure to understand how the snacks you consume are impacting your diabetes. Everyone responds to food in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to diabetics consuming carbohydrates. Be aware of the type and amount of carbohydrates you are consuming by keeping a food log. Check your blood sugar regularly to avoid dangerous spikes and drops. If you find your blood sugar remains unstable when eating certain foods, it might be best to avoid them. It is also a good idea to discuss your findings with your doctor or nutritionist so that any necessary adjustments in medications and meal plans can be addressed. This is a great way to take charge and optimize your health and quality of life.
Healthy snacking is an important part of diabetes management. By making the right choices, you can best regulate your blood sugar levels and sometimes reduce or even eliminating the need for medications. The end result is the ability to enjoy a higher quality of life. Doing this takes time and a bit of effort, but the payoff is worth the investment.
If your senior loved one is struggling with diabetes management, Salus Homecare Los Angeles is here to help. Our home care and home health professionals offer a wide range of services that make managing chronic health conditions easier, promoting longevity and supporting aging in place. To learn more, contact us and request a free, no obligation in-home evaluation.
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