If you are preparing meals for a senior who prefers carbs to carrots (and honestly – who doesn’t?), you might find it difficult to feel confident that their nutritional needs are being satisfied. And you’re not alone. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention shares that just one in ten senior diets meet the recommendation of at least three servings of vegetables and two servings of fruit each day. Numerous studies have found that older adults who do follow these guidelines lower their risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health conditions, and subsequently live longer lives.
It might be time for you to think outside of the box to promote healthier eating habits in a senior’s diet. For instance:
- Make it smooth. Sauces and smoothies are excellent ways to integrate a variety of superfoods. You can create a nourishing, delicious drink by blending yogurt, fresh fruit, and a handful of spinach. Or play with pureeing an assortment of veggies to mix in with marinara sauce: zucchini, kale, bell peppers, carrots, etc.
- Keep it crunchy. There are so many nutritious alternatives to greasy potato chips for a crispy snack or as a side to enjoy with a sandwich in a senior’s diet. Pick up a few for the older adult to try and see which ones are most enjoyable: sweet potato, kale, eggplant, radish, beet, green bean, and more. Or try freeze-dried fruit, another crunchy and nutritious solution.
- Freeze it up. Make your own simple, healthy frozen treats by blending fruit with a small amount of water or juice, pouring into popsicle molds, and freezing until solid. These also make a great multi-generational activity! Invite the family over, let everyone select their favorite flavor to make, and then spend some quality time together as you wait for them to chill before enjoying your individual creations.
- Go for convenience. Peeling, slicing, chopping, cooking – the many steps necessary to prepare some vegetables and fruit make it much easier to just grab a prepackaged snack. Seek out healthy alternatives that are just as easy to grab and enjoy, for example, baby carrots, ready-to-eat salads or other cleaned and sliced veggies, individual cups of fruit, bananas, etc.
- Join a CSA. If you’ve never considered a CSA, now could be the perfect time to investigate this option. A CSA (community supported agriculture) is a membership service for fresh produce from local farmers. Get more information and find a CSA near you.
CareWorks Health Services’ caregivers are skilled in preparing delicious, healthy meals in accordance with each person’s individual preferences. We can pick up all of the ingredients too! Just email or call us at (949) 859-4700 for assistance with improving the health of a senior you love and to find out more about our home health care in Mission Viejo, CA and nearby areas.