15 Tips to A Healthy Diet for Older Adults Suggested by Grill Heat Aid
Proper diet and a healthy life are just as important for the elderly as they are for everyone. Unfortunately, a large number of older adults have poor diets – often from not eating nutritious foods. What’s more, many of the diseases suffered by older adults are due to dietary factors.
Therefore, it is important that older people maintain a healthy diet. However, providing older persons with adequate nutrition has its own sets of challenges. First, their nutritional requirements are not well defined. Second, their nutrient needs are affected by the ageing process. For example, while the energy requirement per kilogram of body weight reduces as we age, other essential nutrients may increase in later life.
15 healthy diet tips for seniors
- Eat Nutrient-Dense Foods
The diet for elderly person should contain:
- Nutrient-rich fruits and vegetables
- Whole grains like oats, whole wheat, bulgur, brown rice, and quinoa
- Low-fat or fat-free dairy, or soy, or almond that is rich in calcium and vitamin D
- Poultry, eggs, lean meats, and seafood
- Seeds, nuts and beans
- Limit Foods That Are High in Calories
Elderly people diet should have less of these foods:
- Sugar-sweetened beverages
- White bread, white rice, degermed corn flour and foods made from refined grains
- Choose Healthier Convenience Foods
Here are a few convenient yet healthy items you can incorporate into a diet for elderly person:
- Frozen veggie pizza
- Canned tuna or salmon
- Prepackaged low-fat yogurt
- Bagged salad or coleslaw mix
- Frozen or low-sodium canned vegetables
- Low-sodium canned broth and tomatoes
- Eat Enough Fibre
Good sources of fibre include:
- Nuts and seeds
- Peas, beans, and pulses
- Potatoes with skin
- Fruits such as melon, pears, bananas, and berries
- Deep-colored vegetables such as broccoli, carrots, and chard
- Drink Plenty of Fluids
While you may feel less thirsty, your body still needs water to stay healthy. Aim to drink at least eight 8-ounce glasses of water a day. You can also drink juice, tea, milk, and old-fashioned chicken soup.
- Use Dietary Supplements
If you don’t eat a variety of healthy foods, dietary supplements can help you get adequate amounts of essential nutrients. Remember to talk with your doctor before you start taking any supplements.
This is because some supplements can cause side effects if certain health conditions exist or if taken with other medications. The doctor will also determine which supplements you should take – a vitamin or mineral supplement.
- Consider a Fortified Diet
Some of the best food to incorporate into an elderly people diet include milk, bread, cereals, pasta, NON-GMO soy products, and high-quality salt to name a few.
- Plan Your Meals
Planning meals is a key part of healthy eating. It also helps you with budgeting, shopping and avoiding unhealthy temptations. Consider making a list of what you’re going to eat for breakfast, lunch, and dinner. This might be for a whole week or a few days.
- Control Portion Sizes
A portion size, also known as a serving size is the amount of food or drink you consume in one sitting. A lot of people eat way more than they need to, especially when getting takeout or eating out.
To keep your portion sizes in check, measure accurately, use smaller dinnerware, ask for a half a portion when eating out and avoid eating straight from the container.
- Season with Herbs, Spices and Condiments
Add herbs, spices, and condiments to meals to add flavour. In addition to adding flavour, you can use herbs and spices as part of a healthful diet thanks to their health benefits.
For example, chillie peppers can boost your metabolism and help keep your blood vessels healthy and ginger has anti-inflammatory and antioxidant properties that can help ward off inflammatory diseases like gastritis and cancer.
- Include Healthy Fats
Here are fats you can include in your overall healthy eating plan:
- Omega-3 fatty acids – are found in oily fish such as sardines, salmon, tuna and trout. Other good sources are walnuts, flaxseeds, and soybeans.
- Monounsaturated fats include peanut, sunflower, sesame, canola and olive oil. This type of fats can also be found in avocados, olives, and nuts.
- Polyunsaturated fats – are found in sunflower seeds, fish and vegetable oils such as soybean, safflower, sunflower, sesame and corn oils.
- Eat Regular Meals
Establishing regular eating is important for older people as it gives structure to their eating habits. It also keeps their metabolism and sugar levels steady and minimises feelings of dizziness, tiredness, and irritability.
Your regular eating should take the form of three meals and two to three snacks a day. Also, make sure to eat meals at similar times each day, not skip meals or snacks, and not leave a gap of more than three hours between meals/snacks.
- Reduce Sugar Intake
It is recommended that adults keep their intake of sugars to less than 10% of total energy intake. Consuming more of the required intake can increase the risk of overweight and tooth decay. What’s more, studies show that high sugar intake can increase the risk of mild cognitive impairment in older adults.
Try to reduce or eliminate sugary drinks from your diet and eat whole foods that are naturally sweet such as yams, sweet potatoes, and fruits.
- Watch Your Alcohol Intake
Alcohol has more calories per gram than proteins and carbohydrates but has no other nutritional value. Plus, it can lead to some kinds of immune system disorders, worsen health conditions like stroke, osteoporosis, and high blood pressure, and can cause confusion and forgetfulness – symptoms that could be mistaken for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Stay Social
Eat often with friends or family members – social interaction can make mealtimes very enjoyable. If you can’t cook for yourself, ask for help from friends, family or community services.
Enjoying a healthy diet will keep you healthy as you age. Just remember to eat well, drink plenty of fluids and avoid foods that do not have nutritional value.
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