As seniors age, it can become increasingly challenging for them to make nutritionally sound decisions when it comes to meals and meal preparation. Although proper nutrition is vital for people of all ages, it is essential for the senior in your life.
As they age, senior’s bodies and lifestyles change, as does what they need to stay healthy. They may need fewer calories, but getting enough nutrients is as important as ever.
Why Is Good Nutrition So Important for Seniors?
In many cases, it is noticeable that as a person ages, their food intake may decrease, and there may be a lack of variety in their diet. It can become increasingly difficult for them to summon the energy to have a healthy, balanced diet, and they may default to something quick and easy to prepare.
Having a nutritionally sound diet is essential to maintaining good health for a senior. In addition to giving them more energy and helping them control their weight, a healthy diet can also help prevent:
- High Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
- Type 2 Diabetes
- Prostate Cancer
- Colon Cancer
- Pancreatic Cancer
Proper nutrition and a healthy and long life go hand-in-hand, especially for adults over the age of 65.
5 Nutrition Tips For Seniors
A diet plan for the senior in your life doesn’t have to be a difficult task. By incorporating these five tips, you can ensure that they have a healthy, nutritious diet.
1. Select Foods That Have a High Nutritional Value
As we grow older and our metabolism slows, our bodies don’t need as many calories as they used to. When meal planning, you’ll want to be sure that their grocery shopping list and diet includes:
- Whole grains (brown rice, oatmeal, corn, etc.)
- Whole wheat
- Non-fat or low-fat milk, almond or soy milk
- Nuts, beans, and seeds
- Lean meat, chicken, seafood, and eggs
2. Limit Empty Calories
Unfortunately, some of the most enjoyable items we eat don’t provide very much nutritional value. They supply food energy but very little nutrition in the way of vitamins, minerals, protein, fiber, or essential fatty acids. They include:
- Baked Goods (brownies, cookies, cake, etc.)
- Soft Drinks (regular and diet)
In addition to adding no value nutritionally, they often lead to weight gain.
3. Drink 8 Glasses of Water per Day
Keeping seniors hydrated throughout the day is of the utmost importance. Older adults tend not to feel as thirsty as they did when younger, and therefore may not be reaching for water as often as they should. To keep them from becoming dehydrated, avoid serving them alcohol, caffeine, or sugary drinks. Instead, be sure they’re drinking eight 8 ounce glasses of water per day.
4. Keep Variety in the Diet
As it is often said, “Variety is the spice of life.” We all get tired of eating the same things day after day. To keep seniors eating healthy, offer variety with their diet plan. Try to prepare foods with different colors and textures, such as a salad and carrots at the same meal. Give them options to choose from, which can prevent them from getting into a rut with their meal choices.
5. Keep Them Active
Keeping a senior active doesn’t need to include strenuous physical activity. Their appetite can be increased by easy-to-do arm and leg exercises, walking outside or at the mall, or enjoying physical activities at a senior center. Any activity that gets their body moving is better for them than sitting idly. Physical activity will also increase their thirst, escalating the need for them to keep adequately hydrated.
Proper nutrition is of paramount importance in keeping the senior in your life healthy. As they age, adjustments in diet and physical activity are necessary for them to enjoy life to its fullest. Incorporating these five tips into their life will go a long way towards accomplishing that goal.
Schedule Your Free Care Consultation
Caring for an aging senior is highly rewarding, but it can also be overwhelming at times. When you need assistance providing nutritious meals to a senior in your life, call Family Services of Central Massachusetts. As a fully licensed home care agency, our experienced aides will provide the attention to detail and expertise necessary to keep your loved one aging comfortably and independently in place right where they want to be. Our reliable respite care services include escorted transportation, grocery shopping, meals, personal care, light housekeeping, laundry and prescription pickups.
At Family Services of Central Massachusetts, the goal of our compassionate professionals is to serve as an extended family in the home that’s there to help yours. For more information about Family Services of Central Massachusetts, please call or visit us online today at: www.fscm.org!