photo: Derbyshire County Council
As bodies’ age and change, diets must adapt as well. A healthy diet packed with vital nutrients can help ward off potential health problems such as heart problems, diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. As we age, some experience a dwindling appetite while others activity level decreases dramatically. For these reasons, it’s imperative everything entering the body is packed with nutrients. It may seem overwhelming, but with simple reminders, eating healthy can be a snap.
1. Encourage your loved one to eat foods packed with nutrients. Spread peanut or other nut butters on toast and crackers, fresh fruits, and raw vegetables. Sprinkle finely chopped nuts or wheat germ on yogurt, fruit and cereal. Add extra egg whites to scrambled eggs and omelets and encourage use of whole milk. Add cheese to sandwiches, vegetables, soups, rice and noodles.
2. Restore life to bland food. Make a restricted diet more appealing by using lemon juice, herbs and spices. If loss of taste and smell is a problem, experiment with seasonings and recipes.
3. Plan between-meal snacks. A piece of fruit or cheese, a spoonful of peanut butter, or a fruit smoothie can provide nutrients and calories.
4. Make meals social events. Drop by during mealtime, invite your loved one to your home for occasional meals, or hire help to assist at mealtimes. Encourage your loved one to join programs where he or she can eat with others.
5. Encourage regular physical activity. Light exercise can stimulate appetite and strengthen bones and muscles.
6. Consider outside help. If necessary, hire a home health aide to shop for groceries or prepare meals. Also consider Meals On Wheels and other community services, including home visits from nurses and registered dietitians. Your local Area Agency on Aging or a county social worker also might be helpful.
Remember, improving nutrition issues early can promote good health, independence and increased longevity. Take steps now to ensure your loved one’s nutrition. Find some of our nutrient-rich recommended recipes on Pinterest and be sure to share some of your own with us.