If you are concerned about the diet of an elderly person in your life, here are some practical tips to ensure he or she is getting proper nutrition:
Offer Nutritionally-Dense Foods
Since many seniors aren’t eating as much as they should, the food they do eat must be as nutritious as possible. Encourage foods that are high in nutrients for their size. Some examples include: healthy fats (canola oil, olive oil etc.) whole grains (brown rice, whole wheat bread, oats and whole grain cereals), fresh fruits and beans, legumes and meat and dairy products. This will help ensure that they are getting all the vitamins and minerals needed to maintain proper health.
Enhance Aromas and Favor
Appealing foods may help stimulate appetite, especially in someone whose senses of taste and smell aren't what they used to be. Seniors can intensify flavors with herbs, marinades, dressings and sauces.
Make Eating a Social Event
Many seniors who live alone or suffer from depression may stop cooking meals, lose their appetites, and depend on convenience foods. If you are worried that your parent or grandparent isn’t eating properly, make meals a family occasion. They may become more interested in food when other people are around.
Encourage Healthy Snacking
|Many seniors don’t like to eat large meals or don't feel hungry enough to eat three full meals a day. One solution is to encourage or plan for several mini-meals throughout the day. If this is the case, make sure each mini-meal is nutritionally-dense with plenty of fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Whole grains and fortified cereals are a good source of folate, zinc, calcium, Vitamin E and Vitamin B12, which are often lacking in a senior’s diet. Cut back on prepared meats, which are high in sodium and saturated fat.|
If poor memory is interfering with good nutrition, schedule meals at the same time each day and give visual and verbal reminders about when it's time to eat
Take Care of Dental ProblemsMaintaining proper oral health can enhance nutrition and appetite. Make sure dentures fit properly and problems like cavities and jaw pain are being properly managed.