Saturday, February 29, 2020

Senior Diets to Eat Well and Live Long

As we age, our eating habits and dietary needs change. We need fewer calories as we get older, mainly because the metabolism slows down in addition to getting less exercise as we age. We all want to eat healthy, but there may be several reasons why seniors don’t—easy access to food delivery, no longer able to go to the grocery store, maybe they want to make things easier for their caregivers, or the kitchen may become a dangerous place if they have any physical or mental limitations. How can those who are aging in place eat a healthy diet and live a long healthy life?

First of all, food delivery services like Uber Eats and Door Dash are a tremendous and much-needed resource for those who are unable to get out of the house for whatever reason. This doesn’t mean those seniors should only eat fatty, greasy fast food! Try to make healthy choices even when using a food delivery service. Salads, lean cuts of meat (roasted or baked), and fruits/vegetables are available at many restaurants for not that much more. 

Another great way to eat a healthy, sustainable diet is to order your groceries online for delivery, or pickup if your loved one can still drive. This alleviates the need to find a motorized cart if you have trouble walking, and you can still make healthy choices that will be delivered right to your door. Services such as Instacart and Amazon Fresh allow you to continue doing your own grocery shopping. This can give a senior a much-neededboost of independence as well as healthy food choices.

If you are having trouble making healthy choices, a quick search on the Internet can help you gather all the information about a healthy diet for a senior that you need. The government’s recommendation for healthy meals can be found at, which is a great resource to start with. The National Council on Aging also gives some simple guidelines. Basically, it is recommended that you eat the rainbowbright and colorfulvegetables should make up the largest portion of your plate. Lean sources of proteins include beans, legumes, and nuts in addition to lean cuts of chicken or turkey. Whole grains and low-fat dairy choices are also very beneficial to a senior’s diet. The American Heart Association even provides a simple and easy eating plan for seniors that is very easy to follow and remember.

Another hurdle that many seniors face when it comes to mealtime is that they want to make things easy for their caregivers. Seniors often feel guilty about asking for help, sothey are content to eat cold sandwiches or cereal for dinner night after night. This isn’t the healthiest choice, especially for senior citizens who may have health issues or conditions that need to be managed with diet such as diabetes or heart disease. It’s okay to ask caregivers to help in meal planning and preparation. If no one is available to help, then seniors who live alone can sign up for Meals on Wheels in their community. There are even subscription services that provide easy to make meals such as Hello Fresh or Blue Apron.

Sometimes a senior’s eating habits decline simply because the kitchen has become a dangerous place for them. If they are no longer able to stand for long periods of time, they may not be able to cook on the stove without needing to sit down. If they drop something in the kitchen, bending over may make them dizzy and unsteady on their feet - this is also a good reason to invest in a life alert system for your senior in case they fall (and check the most suitable through one of the medical alert system review sites online).

If seniors are not too steady on their feet, they can increasingly rely on healthy food gadgets such as juicers, food processors, pressure cookers, or slow cookers to provide quick healthy meals. Precut veggies are available for grocery delivery as well, which should cut down any prep time that a meal may have. Throwing a pot roast and precut veggies in a slow cooker is a great way to have an easy, healthy, home cooked meal with absolutely no fuss at all.

One thing to keep in mind is that Americans eat too much food in general, so if your loved one doesn’t eat 2,000 calories a day, that’s not necessarily a bad thing. Our caloric needs decrease as we age, so if nutrition is kept up, this should not be a problem. Seniors’ preferences or taste buds may also change as they age – this is very typical in anyone over age 65  so just make sure that they are getting the nutrients they need.

Following these few simple tips should give your loved one the healthy meals and nourishment they need as they age in place.Good nutrition is possible at any age!

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