Incorporating Nutrition Into Seniors’ Diets

Help Your Aging Parent Get Proper Nutrition

Most people tend to eat less as they get older. This may be due to several reasons, including:

  • Reduced appetite due to a more sedentary lifestyle
  • Difficulty preparing food
  • Side effect of medications they are taking

However, even though your senior loved one is not burning as many calories, proper nutrition is critical for maintaining healthy body weight and strength. One of the services we offer at Gentle Shepherd Home Care is meals and nutrition. We can help with meal planning and prep, special diets, feeding, companionship, and more.

In this article, we’ll explain how you can help your aging parent get the nutrition they need.

General Tips for Senior Nutrition

In order to ensure that your aging parent can maintain a healthy diet, make sure they have access to healthy meals and snacks. Below are some nutrition tips for seniors from the USDA:

  • Drink water or low-sugar beverages
  • Meet Vitamin D and B12 needs with fortified foods and supplements
  • Get plenty of fiber
  • Eat 2.5 cups of veggies daily
  • Eat dark green veggies (cooked greens, salad greens, broccoli)
  • Eat orange veggies (sweet potatoes, carrots)
  • Eat 1.5 cups of whole fruit daily- don’t drink fruit juice (fresh, canned, frozen, or dried)
  • Eat cereal fortified with Vitamin B12
  • Eat dried beans and peas
  • Choose low fat/lean poultry or other meat
  • Eat 5 oz of baked, grilled, or broiled protein daily
  • Vary protein sources such as nuts, eggs, tofu, dried beans, seeds, and fish
  • Eat 3+ oz of whole grains daily
  • Consume low-fat/fat-free dairy products- or lactose-free products
  • Get oils from nuts or fish- or choose soybean, canola, corn, or olive oil

Easy Ways to Incorporate Nutrition Rules into Your Senior Loved One’s Diet

While you may know the rules for healthy eating, it can be challenging to incorporate them into your senior loved one’s diet. Below are some tips for helping your aging parent get proper nutrition, even when they are not hungry:

Breakfast

  • Yogurt smoothie with milk, yogurt, and frozen fruit
  • Yogurt parfait with fresh/frozen fruit, granola, and plain yogurt
  • Hard-boiled egg with fruit and a slice of whole wheat toast
  • Whole grain, fortified cereal or oatmeal with fruit

Lunch

  • Pre-chop veggies and grill chicken for salads during the week
  • Make pasta or a couscous salad at the beginning of the week with various veggies, beans, and/or tofu
  • Leftovers from the night before
  • Prepare a fruit salad with ½ cup of yogurt or cottage cheese

Dinner

  • Pre-cook meat, fish, and chicken with veggies to be eaten during the week
  • Make soup or chili and freeze individual servings to thaw
  • Prepare casseroles with lots of veggies and proteins to be eaten during the week

If you are unable to be with them, consider signing them up for a meal delivery program such as Meals on Wheels. If you need in-home senior care in or near Colorado Springs, let Gentle Shepherd Home Care help. Our caregivers have the experience and expertise to provide a variety of in-home care from companionship to specialized medical care.

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