14 Apr Dining In: Healthy and Nutritious Pantry Staples for Seniors
Without a doubt, the aging process is not easy. The loss of independence that seniors are faced with can be depressing and frustrating. Whenever possible, we should do all that we can to make later life transitions as comfortable as possible. Keeping the pantry stocked with healthy items and providing food meal prep assistance are great ways to ensure optimal health for our loved ones.
Why is Healthy Diet Important for Seniors?
As we age, our dietary needs change significantly. Slowing metabolisms and higher demand for things such as fiber and vitamin D require closer attention to the labeling and ingredients on prepared foods. Healthy diets for seniors should include a proper mix of lean proteins, fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and low-fat dairy.
How Does Healthy Diet Improve Immunity?
On average, senior’s activity levels tend to decline. Therefore, their caloric needs and appetite wane proportionally. However, their need for nutrient-rich immunity-supporting foods remains vital. To give our aging loved ones the best chance of fighting infections, particularly during flu season, we should provide variety that includes foods high in Vitamins D, C, and E, as well as zinc and beta-carotene. The following are some great choices:
- Vitamin C – Cantaloupe, cauliflower, citrus fruits
- Vitamin D – Tuna, yogurt, fortified cereals
- Vitamin E – Nuts, seeds, Beets
- Zinc – Chickpeas, whole grains, dark chocolate
- Beta-carotene – Carrots, apricots, sweet potato
Stocking The Pantry with Healthy Options
There will be times when you are not available at mealtimes. Without the support of a trained caregiver to provide assistance, seniors may not eat well in your absence. At these unavoidable times, it is vital to have quick and easy healthy foods on hand. Here are a few suggestions:
- Make sure that your senior has plenty of easily accessible water to drink
- A variety of nuts are an easy and filling snack full of healthy fats, protein, and vitamin E
- Dried fruits, like apricots and raisins, provide beta-carotene, fiber, and iron
- No salt added sweet potato chips are a special treat that low sodium and fat but full of flavor and potassium
When you can be there to help prepare a meal or can enlist the support of a trained caregiver, you should ensure that your aging loved one is getting well-balanced meals. Healthy meals for seniors should always take into account individual special needs, medications that can be affected by certain foods, as well as allergies and intolerances.
If you would like to learn more about healthy eating for seniors, or enlisting the help of a qualified in-home caregiver, contact us today.