March is National Nutrition Month, with a theme of “Eating Right with Color”. Our recent post covered the differences in senior nutrition and the importance of a healthy, nutrient-dense diet. Here are some tips for good senior nutrition:
- Go to www.mypyramid.gov to create your personal food pyramid with recommended daily guidelines for you, as well as meal planners and trackers. You might want to do this for an elderly loved one, friend or client and print out the information or go on the computer together to do it.
- Adequate water intake reduces stress on kidney function, which tends to decline with age. Adequate fluid intake also eases constipation. With the aging process, the ability to detect thirst declines, so do not wait to drink water until you are thirsty.
- Eat a variety of foods and use herbs for new flavor. Try spices and foods with good aromas to increase the taste sensations.
- Eat nutrient dense foods (foods containing more nutrients in less calories, such as skim milk over whole milk).
- Switch to whole grains for breads, pastas, etc.
- Add texture to your diet.
- Eat fruit as a sweet treat instead of processed sweets, cakes or cookies.
- Weight bearing exercise and calcium are important in protecting against osteoporosis.
- Take care of dental issues and ensure dentures fit properly.
- Don’t eat alone. Our home caregivers can not only provide home meal preparation services, but also provide companionship and conversation during a meal. You might also check out Pinellas County’s senior congregate dining sites or form a group to share meals together.
On any budget, it requires planning to buy a variety of nutrient-rich foods. You get more nutrients for your dollar from milk, eggs, legumes, grain, lean meat, fish or poultry than from prepared processed foods, ready-made desserts and snack foods. Our home caregivers can help you prepare your grocery list and do your shopping, as well as plan tasty, nutritious meals. Here are some tips for eating health on a budget:
- Look for specials and use coupons (for items you normally buy and will use).
- Plan ahead. Buy an advertised meat special to use for several meals. Freeze portions for later use.
- Keep a supply of food on hand for bad weather or illness. Also, buy a few gallons of water to keep on hand in case of an emergency. See our Emergency Preparedness for Seniors information/resources.
- Make a shopping list. Plan meals for the week, then make a list of the food needed.
- Shop when the store is not crowded and after a meal. Ask for help at the store, if needed, shop with a friend or contact us about our shopping services.
- Read the labels. Find out the ingredients in the food and its expiration date. If you can’t find the date, ask for the information.
- Read the nutrition labels. When the label says “low calorie” or “low sodium,” check the nutrition information label for the number of calories and amount of sodium per serving.
- Use unit pricing to find the best buy. The unit pricing label tells the cost per unit of measure such as ounce, serving or pound. Use this to compare brands and different size packages to get the most food per dollar.
Good senior nutrition is vital to healthy aging. Proper diet is vital for those with certain health conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes and heart disease and an important preventative tool for everyone.
Our caregivers want to help you maintain good nutrition with tasty meals that fit your specific health needs. If loneliness and depression are affecting an older loved one, having nice meals with a companion or visiting a favorite restaurant can really help. If you know someone who has been in the hospital or is scheduled for surgery, think about giving them a gift of a personal home care assistant to grocery shop and prepare healthy meals while he or she recuperates. CONTACT US TODAY for more information or to purchase a home care gift certificate for in-home caregiver services.