Community Blog

Seniors Lead Healthier Lifestyles with Proper Nutrition

By Debbie Humphrey

I have been a caregiver and managed caregivers for many years. One of the issues we have all encountered is deficiency when it comes to senior nutrition. While it’s true that our metabolisms change as we age, and aging adults don’t need as many calories, it extends much further when proper senior nutrition is examined.

 Our experience shows many seniors who live alone don’t always eat the way they should. They may not be able to cook like they once did, so they skip meals, frequent restaurants and fast food establishments, or settle for something convenient that is processed and microwavable. This is not conducive to a healthy diet, as we know.

Processed foods contain preservatives and chemicals the body doesn’t need; and the fat content of foods is typically higher in restaurant food – particularly fast food – which is usually loaded with sodium, too.

Proper meal preparation for seniors involves acquiring and cooking nutritious foods, including colorful fruits and vegetables, good sources of lean protein, and whole grains, all of which are vital for seniors to maintain higher levels of energy and a healthier, more active lifestyle.

According to Bertha Hurd of the Los Angeles Department on Aging, a healthy meal consists of ½ plate fresh, colorful fruits and vegetables; ¼ plate [3-5 oz] lean protein; and ½ plate whole grain options like pasta or brown rice contributes necessary fiber, B-vitamins, and minerals like iron.

Low fat dairy is also a good source of vitamin D, so seniors should include several servings of milk, yogurt and/or cheese each day.

Fresh or frozen fruits and veggies are great sources of fiber, potassium, and vitamins C & D, which all aging adults require. Be sure to check the labels of canned produce, because they often include added sugars, salt (sodium), and preservatives.

Lean proteins, like salmon, ground turkey, and skinless chicken breasts are lower in fat and provide an excellent building block for stronger muscles. Bertha suggests the best source of fat to use when cooking is olive oil.

If money and budgets are the perceived constraints to eating a healthier diet, remember that by eating better, seniors may require fewer medications and doctor visits, which are definitely nice ways to save!

These dietary recommendations strongly apply to seniors in your life who are battling diabetes, heart disease or other chronic illnesses, along with those challenged with disabilities. Every effort should be made to make certain they are eating nutritious meals to properly manage their conditions. [Please remember to always consult your physician about your specific dietary recommendations.]

If you or a special senior loved one is unable to go grocery shopping at this point, or preparing healthy meals is too much of a challenge, Home Helpers® compassionate caregivers can shop for and cook nutritious foods, while providing companionship during meals so you or your loved one won’t have to dine alone. I am happy to offer a FREE consultation to assess all needs to match the perfect caregiver for you or your loved one.

We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have received the Home Care Pulse – Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award for 2017, 2018 & 2019. We proudly serve male and female seniors in Clearwater, Dunedin, Palm Harbor, Safety Harbor, Tarpon Springs, Holiday, New Port Richey, Trinity, Port Richey, Hudson and surrounding areas. Home Helpers®…we are Making Life Easier℠  727.942.2539

Source:  National Council on Aging