Nutrition for Seniors
Eating is one of the most basic of human needs. The United States has an abundance of food, but often our diets are still sometimes lacking in quality.
Being busy is often a reason for choosing fast, convenient, or pre-packaged foods for ourselves and our loved ones.
But, slowing down and involving your loved one in the preparation of food can be a very rewarding and nutritious way to improve the quality of our diets.
For some caregivers, the issue is that our loved ones have trouble eating, chewing, swallowing, etc.
Seniors can have different challenges: a loss of appetite and unhealthy weight loss, problems chewing or swallowing, depression, or a need to reduce fat and sugar with certain chronic conditions.
Tips for Better Elderly Nutrition
- Increase Vegetables and Fruits: Overall, the fiber, vitamins, and enzymes present in fresh plants are best for all of us. Steaming the vegetables so that they are softer for those with dental issues is easy to do. For those who have no trouble chewing, cut up raw vegetables with a tasty dip as a snack or a small meal.
- Make Lunch the big meal of the day: Often by dinner, seniors are too tired to finish meals. Also, some seniors can have more digestive problems that interfere with a good night’s sleep. We all actually need more calories earlier in the day.
- Stay Hydrated: Remember to maintain fluid levels. It is important for all bodily processes to sip some liquids throughout the day. The more fruits and vegetables in our diets, the more naturally hydrated we are.
- Go for the Grain: when making decisions about which breads to choose, always go for the one higher in whole grains. Some people dislike the taste or texture at first. One way to work toward more whole grains is to mix whole grain pasta with regular pasta and gradually increase the whole grain levels.
- Don’t Skip Meals: Skipping a meal usually makes someone eat more at the following meal and can drop blood sugars causing dizziness. If not hungry, it is better to eat a little than to skip.
- Eat small Meals More Often: It is better for most seniors to eat 5-6 small meals a day because this can:
- Reduce the highs and lows of insulin levels
- Help seniors who find it painful to eat large meals because of chest congestion or breathing problems
- Encourage more calorie intake for those who have lost their appetites
- Offer more opportunities to socialize and be with others
Elderly Eating Problems – For Seniors Who Need to Gain Weight
- Eat with your loved one: No one likes to eat alone. Often a lack of interest in eating is because a person is bored, lonely, or distracted with tv.
- Increase the Calories: For those who need extra calories or nutrients, adding these in other foods may help.
- Make high calorie drinks like milk shakes. You can add bananas, peanut butter, wheat germ, etc. to a chocolate shake for a nutritious, high calorie drink.
- Eggnog also packs the calories.
- Add dehydrated milk to a bowl of cereal or a creamy casserole. The taste will not change much, but the calories and protein levels will be enhanced.
- Don’t Rush: Meals are not meant to be a quick event. Stay with the person and show patience. Sometimes a rushed person will simply refuse to eat out of a healthy rebellion. For those who eat slowly, reheating food may help them to finish a meal that has cooled.
For Dental, Chewing and Swallowing, or Motor Skill Feeding Problems
- Make chunky stews (like butternut stew) that are soft and easy to eat.
- Shredded and cutup meats: For those with chewing and swallowing problems, shredded pork and chicken with a nice sauce can really help. If a person needs food cut up, do it before it is served to increase the dignity of the meal.
- Think “Finger Food”: Many seniors have eyesight and motor issues that make eating with a fork, knife and spoon downright difficult. Things like chicken nuggets, cheese sticks, cut up veggies with dip, etc. can help.
- Smoothies can be considered a light meal for breakfast – and are great for adding vitamins and nutrients for people who have trouble chewing or eating.
Contact us today on +2347069741720 to care for your seniors at home.