If your parent has been diagnosed with diabetes, they may be feeling overwhelmed with the mounds of paper that they left the doctor’s office with. They’ve been instructed to change their diet and develop a routine exercise program, but change, though required, is very seldom easy. You can help your parent implement a carbohydrate counting approach to diet that is relatively easy and may even wind up being an interesting look, for you and your parent, into the world of food choices and how they affect the human body.
Why are carbohydrates so important? While carbohydrates play an important part in a healthy diet, they can also undermine those with diabetes. Carbohydrates are sugars. They include single units of sugar called glucose and chains of sugar known as starches, both of which cause one’s blood glucose levels to rise.
Food with Carbohydrates
Foods containing carbohydrates include the following: bread products including tortillas and crackers, sugars and honey and foods made with these ingredients, rice, grains, cereals, pastas, beans, peas and lentils. Starchy vegetables are high in sugars and include potatoes, corn, peas and some types of squash. Fruits vary in their carbohydrate count with watermelon, cantaloupe and plums coming in at the lowest and bananas and grapes making the top of the carbohydrate food chain. Simple sugars can also be found in milk and yogurt.
Managing Diabetes with Carbohydrate Counting
Your parent’s doctor will, or should, let you know how many carbohydrates per meal they recommend for your parent. It’s a starting point that changes as you see how your parent responds to the food they eat. They will, in most cases, be required to check their blood glucose levels one to three times a day. According to the American Diabetes Association, the general starting point is 45 to 60 grams per meal and 15 to 30 grams per snack. Several studies have suggested that decreasing your carbohydrate count further is beneficial. Discuss with your parent their favorite foods and then see if there are low-carbohydrate alternatives. A predominance of the diet should be whole foods as compared to packaged or prepared foods which are often high in carbohydrates, fat and salt.
Typical Meal Plan
Prepare a meal plan for your parent or ask one of the other caregiving team members to implement one. There are multiple ways to find the carbohydrate count of all foods, including online and a pocket carbohydrate counter. A written meal plan and keeping the right food at their disposal makes sticking to this diabetic plan much easier. Sample meals for carbohydrate counting can be found on GroupHealth Living Well with Diabetes. This includes sample breakfast, lunches, dinners and snacks for every day of the week.
Home Care Provider
Should your parent need help with the everyday tasks of life, consider a home care provider. These professionals can complete the grocery shopping, prepare diabetic-friendly meals and provide that companionship and care so essential to seniors and to those making necessary lifestyle changes.
IF YOU OR AN AGING LOVED ONE ARE CONSIDERING HOME CARE SERVICES IN DAVIDSON, NC, PLEASE CONTACT THE CARING STAFF AT GOLDEN HEART SENIOR CARE OF CHARLOTTE. (704) 246-5806.