Are you shopping right for the elderly diabetic in your life?
Type 2 diabetes, which is often associated with aging, causes cells to become resistant to insulin, a hormone that allows them to take in glucose for energy. Since the cells cannot utilize starches effectively, the right foods help reduce sugar levels in the blood. Controlling what a person eats starts at the grocery store. If you’re in charge of shopping for a diabetic parent in a Cincinnati assisted living community, help your parent stay on track by shopping smart.
It’s Not Just About Sugar
Medical professionals talk a lot about blood sugar, but they don’t just mean table sugar or sweets. Glucose comes in two varieties: simple and complex.
- Simple sugar is found in candy bars and sweets.
- Complex sugar is carbohydrates like pasta and bread.
When you shop for a diabetic, it is critical that you control not just sugar, but carbohydrates, as well.
When shopping for carbohydrates, WebMD suggests you look for whole grain choices like:
- Brown rice
- Whole grain bread
- White or sweet baked potatoes
- Whole grain cereals without added sugar
Carbs you want to keep out of the shopping cart include:
- White flour
- Processed grains
- White rice
- Sugary cereals
- French fries
- White-flour tortillas
Making a Diabetic-Friendly Shopping List
One way to avoid impulse buys when shopping for your parent in assisted living is to make a list before you go and stick to it. The American Diabetes Association offers a sample you can use or come up with your own format.
Make your list while doing a walk through in the kitchen. This will allow you to replenish staple foods while still keeping to a diabetic diet plan with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables.
Do Your Research
Don’t just assume a food is okay because it is whole grain or not a carb. There are plenty of resources available that can help you make healthy choices. Go to the store’s website to see if they offer any tools for diabetics, too. Ask the doctor's office if they provide nutrition counseling that can help you determine the best shopping choices, as well.
Shopping Do’s and Don’ts
Following some common sense tips when shopping to improve your food choices.
- DON’T go to the grocery store on an empty stomach. Being hungry can lead to impulse buys.
- DO read the labels looking for fat content and hidden carbs. This is important when looking at something labeled sugar or fat free.
- DO shop the perimeter aisles first. They tend to have the healthiest foods, according to Diabetic Living Online. When you do hit the middle aisles, shop strategically using the signs to avoid processed products.
Finding the Right Balance
What do you do when your parent gets upset because he or she can’t eat whatever they want? The first step is to realize that the demand for candy, or some other unhealthy food, may be coming from another issue like a feeling of boredom or loss of control. Look for a way to address the underlying problem. Plan activities and outings that your parents enjoy, and involve them in the decision making process. Make a game out of collecting coupons and talk about what foods on the list they like to avoid buying stuff that they don’t.
It is never easy grocery shopping for someone else. It gets even harder when your parent is diabetic and must follow a restricted diet. Learning how to shop smart is the key to buying healthy foods that keep your elderly parent happy and safe.