Fuel for Life – Seniors and Nutrition

The food that we eat provides the energy and nutrients that our bodies need. What we eat is important to keep our bodies healthy at any age. Nutrients include proteins, carbohydrates, vitamins, fats, minerals and water. Eating a good balance of healthy foods should be a top priority whenever the subject of seniors and nutrition is talked about.

Regular physical activity and healthy food choices go together. A good rule of thumb to maintain a healthy weight is to balance the calories that you take in from food and beverages with the calories burned from physical activity.seniors and nutrition

Barriers to Seniors and Nutrition

  • Senses of smell and taste can often change with age. Medications can have side effects that can alter the way things taste. Lemon juice, vinegar, spices and herbs can help things taste better.
  • Elderly adults often have a hard time chewing foods due to bad teeth or dentures. Have them talk with their dentist to look for any problems or adjust dentures. 
  • Hard to swallow? Make sure to drink plenty of water to stay hydrated.
  • Loss of appetite. Again, physical activity is the key. Exercising more makes you hungry. Also medication side effects may cause a loss of appetite, talk with your doctor to see if there is an alternative. Try to incorporate different foods into your diet to keep it more interesting.
  • Some people who live alone simply get tired of eating alone. Bringing in professional caregivers can give companionship that is much needed. There are also senior centers, churches and community centers.
  • Food safety is also a concern. Elderly people who live alone and who have difficulties with sense of smell or taste may not realize that food has gone bad.

Maintaining a Healthy Weight

It’s no secret that people are living longer these days. That’s why it is even more important to maintain a healthy diet and exercise routine as we age. Wouldn’t we all like to feel our best when we are in our retirement years and be able to enjoy the activities that we love? 

Maintaining a healthy weight is the key to staying healthy as we age. As we get older we need less total calories and more nutrients. The focus should be on quality not quantity. 

Many people who are in retirement are on a fixed income. This can make it difficult to buy nutrient rich foods along with simply not having the knowledge to choose the right foods. Agencies like Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah can help with grocery shopping, meal prep and more.

We all like to snack. Again the key is to make the right choices.

  • Try whole-grain crackers with cheese.
  • Low fat or fat-free yogurt.
  • Low fat popcorn.
  • Fresh fruits and vegetables. 
  • Nuts.
  • Try and limit empty calorie snacks like chips, cookies and soda. If you eat these occasionally, don’t eat from the bag. Count out portions.

Eating Out

People like to eat out, especially during retirement years because it is often more convenient and enjoyable. But having a meal in a restaurant comes with food that is served in large portions that are high in calories, fat and salt. 

This doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy a healthier meal while dining out. Ask questions about how the item is prepared and ask for substitutions. When it comes to seniors and nutrition, here are a few things to consider:

  • Look for foods that are baked, broiled, grilled or steamed. Avoid fried foods.
  • Salads with lean meat. Ask for low calories dressings and get them on the side so you can control the portion.
  • Use portion control and consider sharing a meal with your partner.
  • Avoid heavy sauces.
  • Stick with red tomato based sauces over white cream based.
  • Instead of french fries, have a baked potato.

The sooner that we get into healthy eating habits, the more we will enjoy life well into our later years. Think eating better while eating less. 

 How Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah can help: We are here to assist with you and your loved one with the highest quality companionship and in-home care. Our highly trained caregivers can assist with meal prep, cooking and grocery shopping. Any caregiver who enters your home goes through our process of background checks, drug testing, interviews, and references. Reference our services page to learn more. We are also licensed and bonded. If you would like Golden Heart Senior Care Southern Utah to advocate for you and your loved one, please call us at (435) 669-3704.

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Additional Resources:

https://clinicaltrials.gov/search/open/term=(nutrition+elderly)+%5BALL-FIELDS%5D+AND+senior+%5BAGE-GROUP%5D

https://www.nutrition.gov/subject/life-stages/seniors

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