One of the easiest ways to ensure your loved one’s wellbeing is to keep an eye on their diet. As your loved one ages, their metabolism begins to slow down, which can cause weight gain; additionally, if they’re not eating enough, or the right foods, they may not be getting the vitamins and nutrients they need.
Here are our best diet tips for helping your loved one maintain a healthy, happy lifestyle:
1. Reduce sugar intake
Some of the first things to cut out of your senior’s diet are unhealthy, sugary sweets. Refined sugar offers the body empty calories and no nutritional value, and can have an effect on mental health, as well. Try switching to snacks with natural sugars, such as fruit.
2. Eat more fat…
…Healthy fat, that is. While the word “fat” can still seem scary to some, there are foods that contain healthy fats that are essential to our diet. Adding avocados, olive oil, nuts, and fish to your loved one’s diet is vital for their overall wellbeing.
3. Prepare their meals
A big way to improve your loved one’s diet is by meal prepping every week. This can even be done together as a way of bonding and creating new memories. With meals already planned out, your loved one doesn’t have to spend time cooking, or even thinking about what they should or shouldn’t be eating.
4. Add some spice
Or should we say, spices. Your loved one’s sense of taste may begin to decline with age, so adding spices and herbs over salt is a great way to make foods flavorful without sacrificing health. Turmeric, basil, cayenne pepper, and sage are great places to start.
5. Follow a colorful diet
Be sure that your loved one eats foods from a variety of sources — think of it as them having different colors on their plates. Their meals should consist of fruits, veggies, lean meat, and healthy fats. Additionally, follow suggested serving sizes to ensure they’re not getting too much or too little of one source.
6. Check nutrition labels
While many foods are advertised as “healthy,” it’s still important to check what your loved one may actually be eating. Sugar can hide in ingredient lists under pseudonyms like sucrose, dextrose, high-fructose corn syrup, and many others. It’s also important to see what ingredients are listed first, and to choose foods with as little added ingredients as possible.
7. Eat a variety of protein
Having enough high-quality protein in your loved ones diet can help to stabilize their moods, and can reduce stress, anxiety, and depression. However, you want to ensure that their protein is coming from healthy sources, such as fish, beans, eggs, nuts, and seeds, as opposed to processed meat such as salami and hot dogs.
You can start to help your loved one make changes in his or her diet by explaining the benefits of eating healthier. You can even make it a social event by cooking dinner or going food shopping together. Adjusting their diet can be tough, so try starting with one food group at a time. Your loved one will notice how much better they feel in no time.