One of the most significant problems that most people encounter when taking care of seniors is their nutrition. When we’re young, the absorption of nutrients by the body is normal and often leads to a healthy person. However, as our bodies considerably age, the ability to absorb nutrients is compromised and often leads to certain conditions such as brittle bones, fatigue, etc.
Even if you ramp up the vitamins and minerals of your meals, seniors still won’t benefit from a big or small increase. It may also do more harm to them than good. On top of a physiological reason, we have to understand that each person has his or her preferences which only add to the problem at hand.
When left unattended, lack of nutrition can become a problem for older adults. Although it’s difficult to plan out a proper meal for our dear seniors, it indeed isn’t impossible. Here are some more tips to provide us insight about preparing nutritious meals. With a bit more tender, love, and care, we can ensure that our loved ones can get the best out of each meal.
Most of the time, people often add a lot of sugar to meals to make it more flavorful. However, refined sugars are full of empty calories with zero nutritional value. If you want to serve sweets as snacks, try replacing the sugar in them with more natural ingredients such as honey, coconut sugar, and other organic sweeteners.
Ruling out sugar is also a bad thing which is why it’s a good idea only to reduce the amount of sugar. You can do this by serving food that has a natural sweetness to them such as strawberries, cranberries, apples, oranges, bananas, yams, and even sweet peppers.
Soft is good
It’s an undeniable fact that when we grow old, we’ll lose all our teeth. When that happens, our body has no way to begin digesting whole solid foods. The first part of digestion occurs in our mouths and involves mastication or chewing with our teeth. For our elderly loved ones, it’s always a good idea to prepare soft diet meals.
Soft diet meals include cooked cereals, pasta, noodles, rice, mashed potatoes, gelatin, etc. You can also add items such as soup, braises, and stews. Not only are these meals easy to digest, but they’re also full of nutrients and minerals.
Water is Life
As we age, the body’s sense of thirst lessens. Water, as we all know it, is crucial in almost every bodily function we have. Dehydration is a real problem for most seniors because they feel less thirst. No other liquid is ever a good substitute for water.
Just like sugar, a lot of people like adding sodium or salt to their dishes to make it tastier. However, salt isn’t a suitable additive for seniors especially if they have heart conditions. As we grow up, our blood vessels shrivel up and constrict which is why most of our loved ones experience high blood pressure.
Consuming salt makes our body hold on to water, thus raising blood pressure. When old age and diet add up, you can only be sure that elevated blood pressure is imminent. High blood pressure can be dangerous because it leads to other conditions such as heart attacks, strokes, and even kidney failure.
If you want to spike up the flavour of your meals, you can add natural ingredients such as fresh herbs. Spices, ginger, garlic, onion, peppers, etc. can add that robust flavour without having to rely much on sodium.
As mentioned earlier, each person has their preferences when it comes to food. One of the significant issues that caregivers encounter is that most seniors have low appetites. Low appetites aren’t entirely their fault; it’s more of a physiological and natural change that comes with age.
To counteract this natural dilemma during meals, be sure to include comfort foods in their diets. You can ask them beforehand about what they like to eat when they were young. Of course, if their requests are outrageous or is too unhealthy for them, try to modify their meal.
If they mention that they love pork chops, go for a more healthier method of preparing pork. If fried pork chops were their favourite, you can lessen the portion and use a healthier oil such as olive oil or you can steam it and use less salt. Of course, only serve comfort foods occasionally so as not to spoil their appetite.
Nutrition is of utmost importance when it comes to taking care of seniors. Truthfully, understanding and implementing a proper meal plan for them can be quite tricky. However, with the tips mentioned above, serving a nutritious and beneficial meal is never impossible.
A lot of times, certified institutions like Partners for Home know of these techniques and how they can get your loved ones the best value out of every meal they consume. Remember, health and nutrition is a need for everyone.