Staying healthy as you age can be a real challenge. Not only does your body tire easily, making it difficult to get ample physical exercise, but there are a number of roadblocks that can pop up that make it hard to ensure that you are eating a healthy diet.
Living alone, having a hard time getting around by yourself, medicines that may inhibit your appetite or change the way food tastes to you, lower or restricted income, and other such issues can contribute to a limited ability to eat nutritious and healthy foods.
Here at ElderCare4Families, we specialize in meal planning that helps seniors find and stay on a healthy diet, giving them the energy and health benefits that can ensure a happy and healthy life.
If you are wondering how you or a loved one who is a senior can be getting the nutrients they need from each meal, read on below for some tips for National Nutrition Month.
Fruits and Vegetables
We have been told since childhood to always eat your fruits and veggies, and this does not change just because we get older.
A good rule of thumb is to get a variety of fruits and vegetables, and that, generally, bright colors means more nutritious. But, eating a variety of colors is key, because the color of a food often denotes the kind of health benefit it has.
For example, orange and yellow foods contain nutrients that are converted into vitamin A, which in turn strengthens your immune system and lowers your chance of cancer, along with a variety of other benefits.
Brown rice, pasta, oatmeal, and whole-wheat bread should be a staple of your diet.
Packed with nutrients from protein to fiber, these foods can be great for reducing heart disease and diabetes, among other health issues.
Lean meats such as pork and ham, seafood, and eggs are great for anyone, but especially seniors who could use the high amount of protein in these substantial foods.
Poultry such as chicken and turkey can also be beneficial but it is important to know that fried foods, such as fried chicken, should not be considered healthy. The lighter the meat, the better to eat.
Healthy Snack Foods
A healthy diet does not feature a lack of snacks. In fact, it is encouraged that you snack throughout the day to keep up your intake of healthy nutrients.
What matters is choosing the right foods to snack on. Beans, nuts, and seeds are all great options for light snacking throughout the day. Nuts have plenty of proteins, and should most certainly be incorporated into your diet.
Beans and nuts are especially important for seniors on special diets that restrict or disallow meat, even if it is a personal choice such as being vegetarian or vegan.
Restrict Your Intake of Sweets and Unhealthy Snacks
Most people who live to old age realize that moderation is key to staying healthy, and moderating how much sweet treats you allow yourself becomes incredibly important as a senior.
Foods such as candy and chips are commonly called “empty calories” because they are high in calories while being low in nutrients, so the main draw is the short-term enjoyment of taste that typically comes from the high amounts of sugar and salt.
Try to avoid having empty calorie foods consisting of entire meals, and only eat them as a snack one or two days a week, or less. We recommend sticking to nature’s candy, fruit, as an alternative.
When we think of “food,” we may not be thinking of liquids exactly, but they play an incredibly important role in a healthy diet.
An often-heard yet seldom-followed piece of advice is to drink eight glasses of water a day. Though it may sound excessive, this is indeed the recommended amount of water by health experts.
It is doubly beneficial to drink a lot of liquids as a senior because it is often the case that it becomes harder to swallow the older you get, and drinking liquids, especially during a meal, can ease the process of swallowing.
Another important thing to realize is that people tend to lose their thirst, like their appetite, as they age, so it is important to adhere to a high-liquid diet even if you do not feel thirsty.
Contact ElderCare 4 Families
Wondering how you or a loved one can stick to the right diet? Reach out to ElderCare4Families to get connected to a caretaker who can help seniors find the healthy diet that is right for them!