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Plant-Based Diets are Fuel for the Future in Senior Meal Plans

On National Caregivers Day, Friday, February 17, I placed a large order for pizzas so I could give one to each of our Home Helpers caregivers to take home to their families as a token of appreciation. Pizza is a convenient staple for most families, which is evident by the number of pizzerias in the Clearwater area!

However, I’ve noticed that seniors in general rarely indulge in pizza for convenience, because their sense of taste has changed over the years as well as their metabolism and their body’s ability to tolerate spices and absorb nutrients.

Seniors have specific nutritional requirements that should be met daily for their overall health and well-being, but we have found that most don’t eat properly unless they are encouraged, and others no longer have the ability to prepare nutritious meals. That’s when a Home Helpers caregiver can make life easier, more delicious, and more nutritious!

March is Senior Nutrition Month, so to bring more awareness to the nutritional needs of aging adults, I have gathered important information through local and national resources to share with you.

The Florida Department of Health in Pinellas County explains, “During National Nutrition Month everyone is encouraged to make informed food choices and develop sound eating and physical activity habits they can follow all year long. Making healthy eating habits does not require drastic lifestyle changes.“

This year’s theme is “Fuel for the Future” with the focus being on vegetarian and plant-based food options.

A vegetarian diet is plant-based, but it may also include dairy, eggs, and honey.

Beril Hezer, a registered dietitian with Banner Health explains more about plant-based, “A plant-based diet is simply a way of eating where you focus on filling up on plant foods, such as vegetables, fruits, whole grains, nuts, seeds, and legumes. If you eat mainly a plant-based diet, you may still choose to eat small amounts of animal proteins such as red meats, seafood, and dairy products.”

In addition, plants are also being used as ingredients in combination with flavors and spices to create tasty replicas of popular foods that are not necessarily the healthiest choices. For example, plant-based burgers like the “impossible Burger” at Burger King are grilled the same way, only they are not made of ground beef, but a combo of plants.

“According to the National Library of Medicine, a high sugar, high fat, processed food diet has contributed significantly to obesity and chronic disease in America. Not only do Americans consume fewer than the recommended daily servings of fruit and vegetables, but they also consume a lot of red meat and poultry each year, which creates a much higher daily caloric intake and protein requirements of a healthy diet,” says Florida Health Pinellas.

They continued, “Developing a healthy eating pattern is not a one-size-fits all endeavor. The key is tailoring your favorite foods to meet your individual nutrient needs. For those wondering how to get started, speaking with a registered dietitian can be an important first step. These health professionals can help fine-tune traditional recipes, provide alternatives to cooking methods and offer other helpful advice for incorporating family-favorite foods into everyday meals.”

I am grateful that our Home Helpers Caregiver Meal Prep services include grocery shopping for healthy foods, meal planning, and meal preparation so the seniors in our care get nutritious meals tailored to their individual dietary needs and tastes.

If you or a senior loved one could benefit from in-home care, nutritional meal planning and preparation, or assistance with grocery shopping, I am happy to offer a FREE Consultation to complete an assessment so I can match the perfect caregiver to help make life easier at mealtime!

We, at Home Helpers® Clearwater, are honored to have been ranked among the Home Care Pulse Top 100 Leaders in Experience for home care providers in 2023 and to have received the Best of Home Care® Provider of Choice Award 2023, the Best of Home Care® Employer of Choice Award 2023, and the Best of Home Care® Leader in Experience Award 2023.

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


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