Community Blog

Produce, Fiber, and Protein - Three Keys to Healthy Eating

By Ketan Shah

The typical person's diet is not ideal. Many Americans eat foods that are too high in sugar, salt, and saturated fat. If you're trying to get your parents and yourself to make healthier meal choices, you should focus on three items: produce, fiber, and protein.

The Building Blocks of a Healthy Diet

Fiber is essential. It helps retain water as waste travels through the intestines and bowel. It can keep your parents from becoming constipated and is believed to help reduce the risk of colorectal cancer. Fiber helps lower cholesterol and blood sugar levels, too.

Fresh vegetables and fruit can have some fiber. More importantly, they have many of the antioxidants, minerals, and vitamins that your body needs to thrive. Apricots and spinach are rich in potassium, which helps with blood pressure management. Antioxidants help protect cells from damage. Some vegetables also are believed to help lower the risk of certain cancers.

Lean proteins are important. Protein builds and repairs your muscles, skin, blood, and cartilage in the joints. Older adults often eat too little protein. Those who do may rely too much on poor protein choices like red meats, which are linked to a higher risk of colorectal cancer. Instead, the focus should be on beans, fish, and poultry.

How Do You Make Sure Your Parents Are Eating Well?

Talk to their doctor about their nutritional needs. See if there are any indicators that changes need to be made. High cholesterol, hypertension, and diabetes are some of the common indicators of poor diet.

If they do need to make changes, join them. Work on building meal plans they'll enjoy that focus on the building blocks of a healthy diet. If they love fried rice, make a version with grated cauliflower instead. Take the meatloaf they love and switch it to a ground turkey or chicken meatloaf.

When you're plating their dinners, look to fill half of the plate with a vegetable. You could do a small salad in one quarter and steamed broccoli in the other quarter. The whole grain that gives them the fiber they need fills another quarter of the plate. Finally, the protein option fills the remaining quarter.

Hire Caregivers to Help With Meal Planning, Grocery Shopping, and Meal Prep

It may benefit your parents to have caregivers helping plan, shop for groceries, and prepare meals. Some older adults find it hard to cook meals for one or two people after years of cooking for an entire family. Talk to your parents about caregivers.

Your parents need to know that caregivers come to help them as often as they want. They're not restricted to having caregivers every day for hours. They have them stopping by to help your parents remain independent at home. The rest of the time, your parents are alone and managing their daily routines on their own. Talk to an agency to discuss the prices of caregivers.

If you or an aging loved one are considering hiring caregivers in San Jose, CA, please contact the caring staff at Home Helpers today (408) 259-5930.