The holidays wouldn’t be the holidays without lots of food and decadent goodies. Each year, millions of families look forward to gathering round the dinner table and enjoying a Christmas feast. So, how should you handle those holiday meals when caring for a diabetic senior?
Diabetes is now the seventh leading cause of death in the United States, affecting more than 20 million people. Staying on the straight and narrow healthy track might be a little more difficult during the holidays, but it’s not impossible. Especially if you stick to the tips below!
- The number one rule for diabetics during the holidays is to avoid eating an overabundance of sugary deserts and rich foods. That doesn’t mean your loved one can’t have anything with sugar or cream; it just means they shouldn’t fill their plate with cake and pie.
- Another important rule to live by during holiday mealtimes is moderation, moderation, moderation. When diabetic seniors sit down to the table, it’s important that they don’t overdo it. Encourage them to eat slowly, taking the time to truly enjoy the meal and savor the tastes of each item. You’ll also want to pay attention to portion control, which plays a huge role in controlling blood glucose spikes.
- If your diabetic loved one plans to have something sweet for desert, then cut back on one of the dinner foods that are high in carbohydrates. It’s all about balancing things out, not making your loved one go without during the holiday dinner.
- If diabetic seniors indulge in alcohol during the holiday meal, make sure he or she has a little something to eat beforehand. That will prevent low blood glucose levels later on in the evening. It’s also important to know that beverages like beer and wine can increase the caloric intake significantly. Make sure your loved one avoids diabetic problems and limit alcoholic beverages to no more than one drink for women and two drinks for men.
- Never let a diabetic senior skip a meal. While it may be tempting to skip breakfast or lunch in order to “save up” for the big holiday meal, this will only make it harder to keep blood glucose levels under control. It’s also a common reason that many diabetics end up overeating once dinner is served.