Diabetes-friendly kitchen tips for seniorsí caregivers
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By Julie Ann Anderson  March 28, 2014 12:00 am

Individuals with diabetes or those caring for such individuals know they must take special care in selecting foods and preparing menus.

Many people with diabetes have special meal plans and menus they need to follow. One common complaint among those with diabetes is they go to fix their meal as directed, only to discover that they don’t have the foods that they need on hand.


Plan in advance

One way around this, of course, is to plan menus in advance and make sure the appropriate ingredients are there in the kitchen. Often, however, people are too busy to take the time needed to plan ahead. With that in mind, it may be better to keep diabetes-friendly staples stocked up in the house. That way, you can be assured of being able to fix at least one preferred dish at a moment’s notice.


Prepare your stockpile

Exactly what should be included in this kitchen stockpile depends upon the individual. If a person favors a particular dish or a particular ingredient, that will have an impact on the shopping. However, here are some suggestions that work for many who need to create diabetes-friendly menus.


• Keep around – and use – lots of fresh fruits and vegetables. These are important ingredients in a healthy, diabetes-friendly diet and add zest and flavor to meals. If it’s not practical to stock fresh vegetables, go for frozen but pay attention to the labels and pick those with lower salt content.


• Dry or canned pinto, black, kidney, and garbanzo beans are great additions to diabetes-friendly menus. The fiber in the beans is very healthy. (Make sure to wash extra salt off canned beans.)


• Whole grain pastas are friends. Make sure the pasta is labeled “whole wheat,” as opposed to just plain “wheat,” to get the real benefit. Also, brown rice, oats and barley are good staples to have in the kitchen.


• Solid white canned tuna (or salmon) packed in water is best.


• Heart-healthy cereals such as Cheerios and high-fiber mixes are a good bet.


• Olive oil or a similar healthy cooking oil is essential.


• Look for jellies and jams labeled as “reduced sugar.”


• Go for low-fat dairy items, such as 1 percent milk and cheese.


• Make sure your meat is as lean as possible and avoid methods of cooking (such as frying) that can impact its health benefits. Consider using tofu rather than meat for some meals.


• If you feel your food is too bland, avoid using salt to spice it up; opt for garlic powder or onion powder instead.


Taking special care to keep a wide range of healthy food alternatives on hand makes fixing diabetes-friendly meals easier; it’s worth the effort.


Julie Ann Anderson is the owner of Home Instead Senior care office in Rohnert Park; mother of two and passionate about healthy living at all ages. Having cared for her parents, she understands your struggles and aims, through her website, www.homeinstead.com/sonoma to educate and encourage seniors and caregivers. Have a caregiving or aging concern? She’d love to hear from you at 586-1516 anytime.

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