Senior Nutrition – How to Make Sure Your Elder Loved One Is Eating and Enjoying Healthy Meals

This infographic of Euro-American Connections & Homecare discusses seniors' nutrition and how to make sure your elder loved one eats healthy meals.

Senior Nutrition – How to Make Sure Your Elder Loved One Is Eating and Enjoying Healthy Meals

According to a World Health Organization (WHO) study, many older adults suffer from micronutrient deficiencies and malnutrition due to reduced food intake and a lack of variety in their food. Consequently, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services' Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion (ODPHP) has indicated that about half of all American adults have developed one or more chronic diseases due to a poor quality diet.

Different factors can inhibit proper nutrition among seniors, including age-related challenges. Physiological changes in the body happen during the aging process, meaning your senses become numbed down. When this happens, your sense of smell and taste may change and decrease, resulting in a reduced appetite or trouble differentiating which food is fresh or old. These physical changes also affect people's mobility. Hence, various activities, such as grocery shopping and meal preparation, could appear to be challenging for seniors who are becoming weaker as they age.

Healthy eating improves a person's health and reduces the risk of diseases, such as diabetes, osteoporosis, and cardiovascular illness. It also means getting the required nutrients they need for their body to keep a healthy weight. Hence, families should consider preparing healthy and nutritious meals to support their senior member's healthy lifestyle.

Accordingly, a senior's dietary plan should emphasize fruits and vegetables, with the U.S. Department of Agriculture indicating that the ideal daily serving of fresh vegetables for seniors is 2 to 2.5 cups. It should also include:

  • carbohydrate-rich foods, such as whole grains, sweet potatoes, and brown rice
  • protein-rich foods, such as lean meat, poultry, seafood, dry beans or peas, and eggs
  • foods high in Omega-3 fatty acids, such as soybeans, canola oil, and walnuts
  • calcium-rich foods, such as milk, yogurt, cheese, and cereals

Furthermore, the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services' Dietary Guidelines for Americans has indicated that making small shifts in the foods elder people is a better approach to a healthier eating lifestyle. Seniors' families should consider looking for food that is easy to eat and digest, and avoid serving foods high in fats, salts, and sugar. They can cut down on saturated fats by serving seafood or beans instead of fatty cuts of meat, and cut down on solid fats by using oil instead of butter to prepare food. They can also cut back on added sugar by opting to drink water instead of soda or other sugary drinks, and lessen sodium (salt) intake by serving unsalted nuts instead of potato chips as snacks. 

It is recommended to read the labels of packed food or ingredients when buying in the grocery store to ensure that the food is low or has no saturated fats, trans fats, sodium, or added sugars. 

Additionally, family members and caregivers should consistently serve nourishing meals to ensure that they enjoy healthy meals and consume the nutrients that can help their body keep a healthy weight and lessen the risk of developing illnesses. This infographic of Euro-American Connections & Homecare discusses seniors' nutrition and how to make sure your elder loved one eats healthy meals.