We know the importance of adhering to a healthy and balanced diet; however, knowing and doing are often worlds apart. For aging parents, it is even more essential to avoid the temptations of making unhealthy food choices – and, frequently more difficult. For quite a few seniors, lifestyle choices are impacted by a variety of factors:
- Medication side effects that affect taste and/or appetite
- Losing loved ones, making mealtime a lonely time
- Absence of interest in cooking for just one
- As well as others
But there is one prevailing – yet little discussed – explanation for unhealthy eating in older adults: financial restrictions. Older adults on a budget can find it difficult to afford fresh, healthy foods, which typically cost much more than a fast food meal or can of soup. These senior nutrition strategies from the National Council on Aging may help:
- Bear in mind that sticking to a wholesome diet can significantly improve health, with the possibility of preventing doctor visits and hospitalizations – saving older adults money in the end.
- See if a senior you love is entitled to SNAP, a government program that covers the cost for fresh foods which include vegetables and fruit. Visit BenefitsCheckUp.org to check eligibility. The average benefit to seniors is $100/month.
- Look at the senior’s local Meals on Wheels program, which supplies nutritious meals to the elderly, with the added benefit of a friendly volunteer who will deliver the food and improve socialization.
- If throwing away fresh food is a concern for a senior who lives alone, frozen vegetables and fruit are an excellent alternative, making it possible for easy preparation of individual-sized portions.
Keep the following in mind to ensure that your older loved ones are making the very best food choices:
- Review the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate for the elderly with specific diets and exercise best practices for everyone 65 and older.
- Strive for a plethora of colors, in particular brightly-colored foods such as tomatoes, carrots, peppers, eggplant, pumpkin, etc.
- Include lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods, keeping sodium and sugar to a minimum while ensuring lots of high fiber and nutrients that are specifically essential in aging, such as vitamin D.
Turn to the aging care experts at Inspired Home Care for even more tips to help the seniors you love make and keep good nutrition habits. We’re always available to help with buying groceries, meal planning and preparation, and making certain the home is stocked with lots of healthy choices, as well as sharing mealtimes with seniors to make them more enjoyable. We will even clean up the kitchen afterwards! Reach out to us at 847-787-7572 to learn more about trusted help at home in Schaumburg and the surrounding communities.