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A Healthy Diet for Seniors

November 05, 2018 0):?> in: Senior Health Uncategorized

A healthy diet is a necessity for everyone but for senior citizens, it is even more important especially for those in assisted living facilities. As our bodies age, our nutritional needs change over time. However, for senior citizens, a healthy diet is a major concern since many lose their appetite. Additionally, malnutrition is a serious issue 1 in 4 of senior citizens experiences in the U.S.

Malnutrition also causes weakness in bones, muscles and leaves then vulnerable for diseases as well. A proper diet rich in vitamins, minerals, fibers, carbs is necessary so it can help to meet the needs of senior citizens.

What Does a Healthy Diet Have?

Crafting a healthy diet for a senior citizen is going to differ from the diet of a regular person. For this reason, you need to focus on the following areas:

Foods Rich in Nutrients

The nutrient needs of senior citizens need to be met through their diet as their body slows down production of different essential vitamins and nutrients. For this reason, make sure you include the following different foods:

  • Fruits and Vegetables
  • Lentils and Beans
  • Seeds and Nuts
  • Whole Grains
  • Dairy – Low Fat
  • Protein – Lean cuts

These are all very nutrient dense food sources and have limited calories. They also contain various fats, carbs and minerals which round out a well balanced diet.

High in Fibers

For a healthy, digestive system you need to make sure you are eating a lot of fiber. Constipation and poor bowel movements are common issues among the elderly in assisted living. So, make sure you have the following foods:

  • Oats
  • Dry fruits
  • Whole Grains
  • Fruits with Skin
  • Vegetables with Skin

In some cases, getting a dietary supplement for fibers might be recommended by the doctor. This is only when there is not enough fiber in the diet of a person.

Cut Down on Junk food

For senior citizens, junk food needs to be removed from their diet as much as possible. Junk food is not healthy for any person and is usually equated to eating empty carbs. They are high in unhealthy fats and don’t have a lot of nutritional value for them.

If you must make use of junk food, try to opt for healthier alternatives such as the following different kinds of foods:

  • Coleslaw Mix – Bagged
  • Instant Oatmeal
  • Veggies – Frozen and Steamed
  • Vegetables – Canned – Low Sodium
  • Fruit – Canned – Low Sodium
  • Chicken – Rotisserie
  • Turkey – Grilled
  • Soups or stews – Low Sodium

It is necessary to be very discerning about the diet senior citizens have. Obesity and malnutrition can happen due to their diet and a poor diet can also impact their immune system.

Make Sure to Prepare a Colorful Meal

A good way to ensure each meal is nutritious, make it colorful. A helping of greens, some lean proteins, grains and carbs can make a meal look appealing. Additionally, senior citizens tend to lose their appetite more easily so a visually appealing meal will play a bigger role in improving their appetite.

By focusing on making a meal plan in this manner, you can make sure all senior citizens in your care are healthy and happy. Alongside of diet, exercise is just as important.  Read why it's so important to stay active in your senior years here to truly round out your knowledge around healthy aging. 

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