While most of us are not overeating cookies and soda while also piling on the sugar on top of our meals each day, the calories from added sugar in foods can start to sneak up on us over time. The added sugars that exist in foods like breads, sauces and condiments can lead to unwanted calories and excess weight gain. It is important to try to limit sugars, especially for our senior loved ones who might have to deal with other possible health issues such as diabetes, possible tooth decay or heart disease.
Added sugars are the culprits in our diets, not the naturally existing sweetness that make up fruits and is a part of dairy items such as milk. The added sugars in our foods need be cut down to prevent future health complications in our senior loved ones. One way to begin limiting sugars for seniors is stop and actually look at the food labels on purchased items. Ingredients are often listed in order of how much used in the creation of the food product. If sugar is listed near the top of the ingredients list, then you know that is a flag and should be reconsidered. It may be surprising to realize non-sweet foods like tomato sauce contain lots of added sugar. Companionship from Senior Helpers of Santa Barbara can provide transportation to the grocery store and also assist with food buying to help a senior loved one with weekly shopping. The extra set of eyes on the food labels can be beneficial and bring peace of mind to family who may not live close to help out on a regular basis.
Whenever possible, try to purchase unsweetened versions of the same type of foods. Applesauce and canned fruits in juice can all be consumed without the added sugar and not sacrifice the flavor. If cutting out added sugar completely sounds awful, try to just reduce the amount used per serving. When buying a coffee or tea, try to use just one spoon of sugar instead of two. Over time, reduce that by even more.
While learning to limit sugars in foods, it can feel like doomsday for great tasting meals. This does not have to be the case. There are many sugar substitutes such as vanilla extract, citrus zests and cocoa powder that be used for added sweetness without the added calories. Try flavoring oatmeal with cinnamon, nutmeg and ginger instead of sugar or syrup. Cinnamon is also a wonderful flavor to add to foods because it helps to regulate blood sugar and hold off hunger as well.
Limiting sugars for seniors does not mean there will never be a piece of cake or pie in the future. This just means that it should be more of a treat than a regular part of each day. Perhaps a weekend day is the perfect cheat day with cake or ice-cream after a meal. It’s important to find balance when possible for a healthy and happy outlook on life.
If you would like to learn more about the many benefits of caring and consistent in home help for seniors and professional dementia and Alzheimer’s care, call Senior Helpers to speak to an elderly care specialist today 805-687-7777! Senior Helpers of Santa Barbara provides a wide range of services including Alzheimer’s and dementia care, companionship, personal assistance, and so much more to all areas of Santa Barbara, Goleta, Lompoc, Santa Ynez, and Carpinteria, California.