Most people are accustomed to having three large meals every day. Some may skip meals here and there and have a big dinner instead. That may not work for your parents.
As you age, digestion slows. The big breakfast you served at 8 a.m. is still filling your mom’s stomach hours later. She can’t eat lunch. If you were to switch to smaller plates more often during the day, it ends up benefiting both of you in multiple ways.
It Takes Less Time
Small plates make it easy to graze between items on your agenda. Make a sandwich in the morning and cut it into quarters. Those quarter sandwiches are all set and easily eaten in a few bites as you work through the daily tasks.
Your mom could have a quarter of her sandwich before you take her to her doctor’s appointment. Bring fruit for her to eat in the car before running errands. After running errands, she’s at home and can have another quarter of her sandwich. It takes less time to eat it, which can help out on busy days.
Avoid Sudden Dips and Rises in Blood Sugar Levels
Smaller meals help stabilize blood sugar levels. If your mom skips breakfast, has a light lunch, and a large dinner, that large meal will lead to blood sugar spikes at night. It’s not ideal if she’s pre-diabetic or diabetic.
Instead, she should maintain these dips and rises by choosing healthy foods that have a lower glycemic index. She’ll also help her body stabilize blood sugar levels by eating more frequently but keeping those meals small.
Maintain Energy All Day
You’ve probably experienced a car crash at some point in your life. You feel stuffed after, but hours later you don’t feel as great. Your mom enjoys joining the family for a carb-heavy brunch with bagels, hash browns, muffins, and other carb-heavy foods. Hours later, she’s exhausted and find it hard to function.
Smaller meals that spread the carbs you eat during the day will help her avoid the carb crash. Don’t pile up the carbs at a specific time; spread them out. Have a whole-grain slice of toast in the morning. Skip carbs again until later in the day when she makes a small portion of “fried rice” using barley instead of rice.
Decreases Hunger Pangs
Your mom had a large breakfast, skipped lunch, and now it’s 3 p.m. and her stomach is growling. She wants to satisfy it, but dinner is a couple of hours away.
With smaller plates throughout the day, hunger pangs to away. She’s less likely to binge eat before a meal is served.
If your mom struggles with a balanced diet, it’s time to hire the help of elder care aides. They can help your mom prepare meals and snacks. They can also help her shop for items she loves or wants to try. Call an elder care agency to arrange caregiver services.