This post is not just for those with diabetes, however, more than 25% of adults age 65 years and older deal with diabetes. Individuals with type 1 diabetes control their blood sugar with insulin, while many of those with type 2 are able to manage through diet and exercise alone.
Even those who do not have diabetes benefit from regular eating to maintain alertness, energy and blood sugar levels. If a senior ever loses their appetite for an unexplained reason, alert their physician. “It’s important to alert doctors to medical conditions that have prevented eating for a day or more (such as illness)…the elderly, even without diabetes, are most vulnerable to developing hypoglycemia and other imbalances.”Cases of type 2 has shown a recent increase in nursing homes from 16 to 23% as “more people live longer and grow heavier.”
If you have ever been around toddlers, most are continually hungry. Their little bodies cannot hold much food at any one sitting and therefore, they need snacks. As adults, we hopefully try to curb eating for the purpose of health and weight regulation. But if you care for an elderly person, we suggest you bring back snacking.
An important idea to encourage someone, especially a senior, to eat is:
Eyes, Hands, Mouth
Eyes: Make it pleasing to look at and not in large, intimidating portions.
Hands: It doesn’t have to be finger food, but this implies convenience.
Mouth: Easy to eat. Chewing and/or swallowing may be difficult and tiring. If that is so, look for soft, satisfying foods such as a wedge of cheese.
Diabetics.org offers snacks organized by grams of carbohydrates. But I thought I’d compile links for the top healthiest snacks recommended for:
Seniors.LoveToKnow.com also has a great list of snacks specifically for the elderly. Click the link for on the go suggestions as well.
- Pre-cut Veggies. A mixed bag of broccoli, carrots and cauliflower are a colorful treat, packed with essential vitamins. Make a tasty dip to dollop on, or eat them as is.
- Fresh Fruit. Apple wedges, orange slices and banana halves make a sweet snack in summer or winter. If you are making a platter, toss cut fruit in a bowl with a few tablespoons of lemon juice to preserve the color (brown bananas and auburn apples are not appealing!).
- Nuts. Nuts are a crunchy alternative to chips. They are a rich source of antioxidants, healthy fats and calories.
- Cheese. Sticks, slices or wedges. Cheese makes a satisfying snack.
- Popcorn. Make your own in an air popper or on the stove. Season lightly with salt or cinnamon.
- Boiled Eggs. A great source of protein.
- Finger sandwiches. Make your own tuna on rye, peanut butter, cucumber or cheese sandwiches. Cut them in small squares to make them more appealing to light eaters.