Best Diet Tips for Seniors

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.

Diet for seniors

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.

Educate Your Loved One on Their Diet

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.

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Healthy Eating Guide for Seniors

Healthy Eating

As your loved one ages, you may notice a difference in their appetite. While their usual ways of eating may have once been satisfying, they may begin eating less, or gaining weight, depending on their activity.

That’s why it’s important to learn about healthy eating habits for seniors, so that you can be sure that your loved one is helping, not harming, their well-being with their food choices.

Why Age Affects Diet

Before we move into what foods your aging parent or relative should be eating, it’s important to know exactly why their eating habits might need to change.

To start, as we age, our metabolism slows down. Additionally, health issues may cause us to engage in less physical activity. As a result, we may need to cut back on calories so as not to gain weight — when we eat more calories than we burn, we start to put on unhealthy weight.

On the opposite end of that, we need to ensure we’re getting enough calories, too. Age can lead to a loss of appetite in some cases, and if your loved one is eating significantly less, this can lead to malnutrition and bigger health problems.

How to Form Healthy Eating Habits

It’s important to consider that your loved one may not want to change or alter his or her diet. Staying patient is key and incorporating or removing one food category at a time allows for an easier transition.

While your loved one’s actual nutritional needs can vary based on their medical conditions and body type, here are some basic structures to put in place:

1. Eat Foods Rich in Nutrients

While the food pyramid we learned about in grade school doesn’t exactly hold up these days, we can still get a grasp on what foods are healthy: fruits, vegetables, lean meats, whole grains, and nuts are a good place to start.

2. Drink Plenty of Water

Drinking at least 8 glasses of water per day still holds up as we age. It’s important to remind your loved one to stay hydrated — perhaps even give them a refillable water bottle so that they know exactly how much water they’re drinking.

3. Eat Plenty of Fiber

If your loved one is already eating a well-balanced diet, fiber should be a part of it to ensure a healthy digestive system. However, if it’s tough for them to eat enough fruits, veggies, beans and lentils, try offering a fiber supplement, instead.

4. Add Supplements

You might find your loved one is opposed to eating certain foods where they’ll get many of their vitamins and minerals, which is where supplements like magnesium, calcium, and vitamin D can help — just be sure to check with their doctor first.

5. Make it Fun

Helping your loved one change his or her diet can also be fun for both of you. You can create new memories by helping cook recipes together and find new dishes you can both enjoy.

Helping your loved one change his or her diet and incorporate healthier eating habits is essential to their overall well-being, and your peace of mind. Start small and build from there — forming new habits takes time, but it will be worth it.

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