Maintaining a well-balanced diet can be difficult for everyone, not just senior citizens. But as one enters his or her golden years, it is ever more important that their diet is balanced. As tastes and appetites change, the number of daily vitamins, minerals, and protein in the diet of most senior citizens begin to decrease. One easy way to avoid this decrease is with meal planning. Meal planning works to incorporate the necessary amounts into each day’s meals while saving money at the same time.
Check out these tips to make meal planning for senior citizens a breeze.
Many people automatically think meat when they hear protein. While meat is a good source of protein, it isn’t the only source. Many medications that senior citizens may be taking can alter the taste of meat, making it less appealing. Finding alternative protein sources during meal planning is essential to the cognitive and physical strength of senior citizens. Greek yogurt is a popular choice to get a lot of protein in a small serving. You can use unsweetened Greek yogurt as a sour cream substitute to fill mashed potatoes with an unexpected punch of protein, or serve it with fruit for a tasty dessert. Cottage cheese, nuts, and a variety of vegetables are high in protein as well. If vegetables aren’t a favorite choice taste-wise, try adding plant-based protein powder into smoothies.
A colorful plate is a sign of a balanced plate. Aim to get many colors of the rainbow in each meal. Not only does this mean tons of nutrients for the senior, but it also makes it more visually appealing as well. Many believe that we eat with our eyes first, so this is a great way to encourage seniors to eat more.
Meals and snacks should include as many whole foods as possible. This doesn’t just mean fruits and vegetables though. Include whole grains, low-fat dairy, and other items that contain minimal amounts of added fat and sugar. Whole foods are easier for senior citizens to digest, and they contain the vital nutrients they need in the most basic way possible. To easily incorporate whole foods, make them easily accessible throughout the day for snacks as well. Many seniors don’t have a consistent appetite, but keeping healthy options available to them all day long will encourage them to get the daily amounts that they need. Don’t be afraid to ask the senior citizens in your life what foods they enjoy. Comfort food can be made healthy with just a few simple changes, and it will make them feel closer to home.
Our elegant dining room provides balanced, nutritious meals that have our residents’ health in mind. Take a look at our Winter menu, and stayed tuned for announcements regarding changes or highlighted healthy options of the day. Additionally, check out an older blog highlighting more tips to staying healthy as a senior citizen.