THE DIABETES CAREGIVER: Communication
Getting your loved one with diabetes to stick to a diet
Ever think of yourself as the Diet Police? If you hope to prevent diet fatigue, you'll benefit more as a caregiver by putting down the bully stick and taking a positive approach.
"This is a big issue," says Lauren Golden, MD, an endocrinologist and assistant professor of clinical medicine at the Naomi Berrie Diabetes Center of Columbia University Medical Center. "We try to work on what you can do, not what you can't."
If the person you care for has hit a rut, try to make maintaining a proper diet interesting again, she says. Allowing sweets or other no-no's once in a while can make a diet plan livable as long as they are accounted for by reducing calories elsewhere or increasing activity, Dr. Golden explains. "It's daunting to think you can never have a bite of cake again."
To encourage healthier eating in the long term, buy nutritious foods and prepare flavorful but lower-calorie meals for everyone in the household. The people who manage their diets best have support at home, says Dr. Golden.
Keep junk food out of the home.
Choose healthy snacks and pre-package individual portions (e.g., a handful of baby carrots and a piece of low-fat cheese).
Try to eliminate mindless eating in front of the TV; if eating in front of the TV is a must, place an appropriate portion in a dish and put the rest away.
To make meals interesting, experiment with spices and learn to make lower-calorie substitutions; many Indian sauces, for example, are quite tasty and use low-fat yogurt instead of cream.