Did you know that we have different dietary needs as we age? One reason is that older adults have slower metabolisms, meaning that they need fewer calories. At the same time, elderly individuals need more nutrients to stay healthy and strong.
Thankfully, senior nutrition care isn’t too complicated. This post will share tips to help you make and eat healthy meals, so keep reading!
Check Labels for Nutrient-Rich Ingredients
Seniors tend to eat less, so they should avoid empty calories (foods high in calories and low in value). Instead, their meals should be full of vitamins and minerals that meet their nutritional needs.
You can determine whether a food is healthy and full of nutrients by checking the values on the label. Here are some of the essential ingredients to look for:
- Healthy fats: fight high blood pressure and heart problems
- Potassium: deficiency can raise blood pressure
- B vitamins: necessary for brain function and red blood cell production
- Vitamin D: seniors tend to spend more time indoors, causing deficiency
- Calcium: vital for strong bones
- Fiber: wards off diabetes and constipation
It’s equally important to avoid saturated and trans fats from animal products, vegetable shortening, fried foods, and baked goods. These fats can raise your blood pressure and cholesterol.
Reference Portion Guidelines for a Healthy Diet
Even if your aging loved one lacks a big appetite, you could supply plenty of nutrients through balanced meals that concentrate on wholesome, fresh ingredients. These should include:
- Fresh fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains
- Beans and legumes
- Lean meat, poultry, and fish
- Low-fat dairy
MyPlate guidelines can give you an idea of what a senior diet should look like. Another great idea is to make your plate look as colorful as possible, filling it with various fruits and veggies.
Your appetite isn’t the only thing to diminish as you age—your sense of thirst also decreases. As a result, many older individuals tend to dehydrate.
Keeping a bottle or glass of water with you at all times of the day can help. Other ways to avoid dehydration include avoiding salty foods and added sugars. Rather, eat foods high in water, such as cucumber and watermelon.
Overcoming Potential Obstacles to a Healthy Diet
Many seniors find it much more challenging to cook healthy meals due to mobility issues, so they eat whatever is most convenient. In these instances, a home healthcare provider can help by providing meals.
Another common issue that seniors face is changing taste buds, which can occur due to medicines. Adding lemon, herbs, or spices can liven up your food without making them unhealthy.
Still, other individuals may have a tight budget that prevents them from purchasing various healthy foods. Many seniors are eligible for government assistance programs, so be sure to ask about these.
Provide the Best Nutrition Care for Your Aging Loved Ones
Even though eating healthy can be a challenge for older adults, it’s not impossible. With careful planning and a little help, you can find a meal plan that meets your elderly loved ones’ needs while satisfying their tastebuds!
If you enjoyed these tips on nutrition care, browse more of our health and wellness tips!