We all know the importance of adhering to a healthy diet; however, knowing and doing are often worlds apart. As individuals age, adhering to the recommended senior nutrition guidelines is essential to prevent the temptations of making unhealthy food choices – and, often more difficult. For many seniors, lifestyle choices are influenced by various factors:
- Prescription drug complications that impact taste and/or appetite
- Losing family and friends, making mealtime an unhappy experience
- Lack of interest in cooking for just one
- And others
But there’s one prevalent – yet little discussed – reason for unhealthy eating in seniors: financial limitations. Older adults on a tight budget might find it challenging to afford fresh, healthy foods, which frequently cost significantly more than a fast food meal or can of soup. These senior nutrition guidelines from the National Council on Aging may help:
- Bear in mind that following a wholesome diet can considerably improve health, with the potential for preventing doctor visits and hospitalizations – saving seniors money in the long run.
- See if a senior you love is entitled to SNAP, a government program that covers cost for fresh foods such as vegetables and fruit. Visit BenefitsCheckUp.org to check eligibility. The average benefit to seniors is $100/month.
- Check into the senior’s local Meals on Wheels program, which gives nutritious meals to seniors, combined with the added benefit of a friendly volunteer who will deliver the food and improve socialization.
- If wasting fresh food is a problem for a senior who lives alone, frozen vegetables and fruit are a good alternative, making it possible for convenient preparation of individual-sized portions.
Keep the following in mind to be certain your older family members are making the very best food choices:
- Review the USDA’s ChooseMyPlate for seniors with specific dietary and exercise recommendations for those 65 and older.
- Strive for a variety of colors, especially brightly-colored foods such as tomatoes, carrots, peppers, eggplant, pumpkin, etc.
- Incorporate lean proteins, whole grains, and low-fat dairy foods, keeping sodium and sugar to a minimum while ensuring plenty of fiber and nutrients that are especially crucial in aging, most notably vitamin D.
Turn to the elder care professionals at At-Home Care Company for more suggestions to assist the older adults you love make and keep good nutrition habits. We are always available to help with grocery shopping, meal planning and preparation, and making certain the home is filled with healthy choices, as well as sharing mealtimes with older adults to ensure they are more enjoyable. Reach out to us at (515) 292-2650 for additional information about our trusted Boone home health and senior care throughout the surrounding communities. For a full list of the communities where we offer care, visit our Service Area page.