Healthy Food Choices for Seniors

As seniors age, they require fewer calories thanks to reduced metabolism and activity levels, according to the National Council on Aging. Additionally, requirements for certain nutrients and minerals can increase with age. Finding the right food proportions for seniors doesn’t have to be complicated.

 

Senior Care in Guelph: Senior Nutrition

Senior Care in Guelph: Senior Nutrition

 

 

Understanding adequate nutrition

If you follow the news, it seems like every day there is new guidance or research on super-foods, mineral supplements or foods that you shouldn’t eat. To combat this proliferation of information, the USDA revealed MyPlate, which shows what a healthy meal should look like. Most adults don’t eat enough vegetables and over-rely on meat and grains to fill up a meal. The result is a calorie-heavy diet difficult to process for older adults because it has too much protein and too few minerals.

By learning what a balanced meal looks like, seniors can be informed and make the correct decisions when cooking and picking out food.

 

Consume the right nutrients

Heart disease, diabetes and high blood pressure all have dietary consequences: seniors with these diseases simply can’t eat the way they used to. Dietary changes for seniors can include:

  • Swapping red meat for lean meats
  • Eating more whole grains and legumes
  • Creating a colorful plate (with vegetables and fruit)
  • Low-fat and low-sugar diets
  • Reducing salt intake

Vitamin D and calcium supplements are also essential for healthy aging. These can be taken as separate pills or as part of a daily multivitamin.

 

Talk to your doctor

As activity levels and metabolism change, caloric needs change. Drastically cutting calories can affect the impact of certain medication, so discuss any planned dietary changes with your doctor before proceeding. Based on activity levels, your doctor may also have an idea of what dietary changes to make for the most impact.

 

Stay hydrated with healthy fluids

It can be too easy to focus on eating healthy foods while consuming sugary drinks and coffees. Water is essential to healthy living, and unsweetened tea and coffee can round out a meal. Fruit juices should be reduced since they contain little to no fiber and can cause a spike in blood sugar. Water also improves the body’s response to medication, regulates digestion and bowel movements and even has an influence on mood.

 

Seek out healthy fats

The body requires fats to stay healthy, but the type of fat can be a world of difference. Replace lard and animal fat with vegetable oils such as olive oil. If your senior is cooking, changing up regular recipes with healthy tweaks can improve the nutritional value of the meal while keeping them healthy.

It’s easier to make small changes over time than to completely overhaul a diet. Make this aspect of senior care easy but approaching it as a triage method: if your senior is diabetic, sugar intake can cause major medical issues, whereas eating more vegetables is more of a supplementary goal. By making little changes and staying informed, caregivers can provide nutrient-rich food that helps seniors.

 

 

If you or an aging loved-one are considering hiring Home Health Care in Aurora, please contact the caring professionals at Staff Relief Health Care 24/7 at (905)-709-1767.

 

Source
Eatright.org
Ncoa.org

 

 

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