How to Help Seniors Reduce their Sugar Intake

How to Help Seniors Reduce their Sugar Intake

How to Help Seniors Reduce their Sugar Intake

As people age, their taste buds become less sensitive, and food starts to taste blander. The four major tastes that people taste, sweet, sour, salty, and bitter, will each become less apparent with age. At times, medications can affect the taste and the creation of saliva, and a lot of seniors experience dry mouth as a side effect. Not drinking enough water can make the problem worse.

Along with the sense of taste, the sense of smell also declines as we age. This makes it more difficult for a senior to taste all the flavors in their food and makes them want to eat more salty or sugary foods. However, it is best for seniors to decrease their intake of foods that are high in salt and sugar.

How Does Extra Salt and Sugar Affect Seniors?

  • Extra sugar can cause insulin resistance and diabetes
  • Extra salt can cause weight gain and high blood pressure which can lead to heart attack and stroke
  • Extra salt can cause autoimmune disorders such as multiple sclerosis
  • Too much sugar can affect your liver, causing fatty liver disease

Seniors should get their sodium and sugar levels checked regularly to maintain a healthy lifestyle. They can use a blood sugar machine to monitor glucose levels and visit the hospital to check their sodium levels.

Why do Seniors Crave Sweets?

Many seniors crave sweets because they are not eating often enough or are not getting enough carbohydrates in their diet. Instead of sweets, they should be eating whole grains, protein, and fats in their meals.

A lot of times, a little bit of sweetness can be added to meals for seniors, and this can be done in a healthy way to satisfy the craving. However, craving excessive sweetness can lead to an issue with calories or carbohydrates. Also, many seniors suffering from diabetes can enjoy sugar-free treats to satisfy their sugar cravings. They should always consult their doctor before starting a new diet. Here are a few tips for seniors to reduce their sugar intake and live a healthy life.

whole grains, protein, and fats in senior meals

whole grains, protein, and fats in senior meals

Enjoy Healthy Snacks

There are many options for sweet treats that are healthy and that seniors can enjoy. Here are a few ideas:

  • Dried fruit
  • Unsweetened granola with fresh fruit
  • Fruit and cottage cheese
  • Rice cakes drizzled with honey
  • Dried apples with cinnamon yogurt dip
  • Veggies with nut butter
  • Berries with yogurt
  • Honey roasted veggies
  • Sweet potato fries

Avoid Sugary Drinks

If your senior loved one enjoys sweet, sugary drinks, but is having health problems, it is important to work on eliminating them. You should start with lowering the amount of sugar over time in their favorite drink such as coffee or tea. This will help them get used to the change in sweetness.

Hidden Sugar is Everywhere

Make sure that the senior lowers the amount of processed food they consume, as these foods usually contain a lot of salt. It is crucial that you read the labels and avoid sugar in condiments, smoothies, dairy products, and any other foods they consume.

Seniors enjoy Healthy Snacks

Seniors enjoy Healthy Snacks

Do Activities they Enjoy to Avoid Eating Sugar and Salt in Excess

If your senior loved one is having major sugar cravings that are causing them to have health problems, they should substitute eating sugar with a healthy activity. This includes walking, calling a friend, listening to music, etc. When we eat sugary food, it stimulates endorphins in our bodies that make us feel good. Therefore, it is important to find activities other than food that make us feel good whenever there is a craving for sugar.

As people age, they may lose their teeth or have an inability to chew, swallow, and even cut their food. Many types of foods can be made soft and are easier to swallow. Here are some examples of soft foods your senior loved one can enjoy.

Why do Seniors Crave Salt?

Many seniors have been overusing salt since their childhood and as they age, they lose some of their sense of taste and use even more salt. Eating too much salt can cause major health issues including high blood pressure and hypertension. It is important for seniors to lower the amount of salt they consume as they become older. Here are a few tips to help seniors keep their salt in check:

  • Consume more fruits and vegetables
  • Eat foods high in potassium
  • Season your food more with spices and herbs
  • If you must snack, make sure you eat unsalted snacks such as peanuts or popcorn
  • Eat less processed foods
  • Always check with your healthcare provider before using a salt substitute

If your loved one is having a difficult time staying away from salt and sugar, or are unable to prepare meals for themselves, it may be time to hire a senior care agency that can help. Assisting Hands Home Care offers senior home care services, with highly trained caregivers that can help your loved one. We provide in-home care for seniors who have chosen to age at home in Matteson, Frankfort, Mokena, Bourbonnais, Crete, Lansing, IL, and the surrounding areas. We make sure to consider the needs of your loved one and create a care plan that works for their unique needs. Call us today at (708) 880-7711 to learn more about our senior care services.