Nutrition can become a serious concern for seniors as they enter their golden years. An aging parent or loved one may not eat as well as they should, which can lead to vitamin and nutrient deficiencies and ultimately, problems with health. Decreased energy, excessive weight loss or gain, osteoporosis and several other health issues can also arise. Fortunately, there are a few things that family caregivers can do to give their loved one’s nutrition a needed boost. And for seniors who live independently, the following diet suggestions are easy enough to incorporate into one’s daily meals.
- Increase Calcium – A calcium deficiency can pose a serious threat to a senior’s health, causing bones to become brittle and weak. When a diet lacks calcium, many Oklahoma senior care experts recommend that an 8 oz glass of non fat or low fat milk accompany meals. For seniors and elderly who do not like milk, cottage cheese and yogurts high in probiotics are great sources as well. They are also packed with Vitamin B-12, a vitamin known to help boost energy.
- Add Variety – For many seniors and caregivers, trying to follow complex food pyramid guidelines can quickly become a hassle. Replace the old pyramid way of eating with today’s “color plate method.” This simply consists of making sure each plate is filled with 2-3 vibrant colors. For instance, leafy greens such as kale and spinach are high in fiber and iron and low in calories, while orange foods such as carrots and mangos are known to protect vision. Change it up by incorporating purple (or dark-colored foods) such as blackberries, grapes and purple cabbage into meals, which are anti-oxidant rich and are known to have amazing healing powers.
- Focus on Protein – As Oklahoma live-in care provider, we help seniors in Edmond and the surrounding communities with nutritious meal preparation, and always try to incorporate as much protein as possible. Protein is the building block of muscle which helps to reduce senior falls, and is needed for several bodily processes. Unfortunately, several studies suggest that seniors often do not get enough protein. While many people look to meats and poultry for protein, this may pose a choking hazard for some seniors or there may be financial barriers. If this is the case, opt for beans, peas and eggs which are also great sources of protein and can be enjoyed as a side dish to many main courses.
- Don’t Forget the Grains – Grains are not only good for digestion, but also provide nutritional value. A small, but easy change that almost anyone can make is to switch from white to wheat products. Whole grain and wheat breads and pastas offer more nutritional value for the senior, without causing them to overhaul their entire diet. Studies even show that consuming whole grains can lower the risk of many chronic diseases!
Are you eating a diet that promotes overall health and wellness? If you or an aging loved one need help creating and following through with a nutritious meal plan, contact Home Care Assistance of Oklahoma today. Our highly trained caregivers can help with meal preparation and also understand the importance of well balanced meals for seniors, especially those who require post-hospital or stroke care in Oklahoma. See how we’re helping change the way the world ages by contacting us today at 405-285-4191.