If you are preparing meals for a senior loved one who prefers carbs to carrots (and honestly – who doesn’t?), you may find it challenging to guarantee that their nutritional needs are being fulfilled. And you are not alone. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention shares that only 1 in 10 older adult diets is meeting the recommendation of at least two servings of fruit and three servings of vegetables each day. Numerous studies have revealed that older adults who do follow these guidelines lower their risk for heart disease, diabetes, and other chronic health issues, and ultimately live longer.
It might be the perfect time to think outside the box to promote healthier eating habits by adding more produce into an older adult’s diet. For instance:
- Make it smooth. Sauces and smoothies are great ways to integrate a variety of superfoods. You can create a refreshing, tasty drink by blending a little spinach, yogurt and fresh fruit together. Or experiment with pureeing an assortment of veggies to blend in with marinara sauce: zucchini, kale, bell peppers, carrots, etc.
- Make it crunchy. There are so many healthy alternatives to greasy potato chips for a crispy snack or as a side to enjoy with a sandwich. Pick up a few for the older adult to try, and see which ones are most satisfying: sweet potato, kale, eggplant, radish, beet, green bean, and much more. Or try freeze-dried fruit, another crunchy and nutritious choice.
- Freeze it up. Create your own simple, healthy frozen treats by blending fruit with a small amount of juice or water, pouring into popsicle molds, and freezing until solid. These also make a wonderful multi-generational activity! Invite the family over, let everyone choose their favorite flavor to make, and then spend some quality time together as you wait for them to chill before enjoying your individual creations.
- Go for convenience. Chopping, peeling, slicing, cooking – the many steps needed to prepare some vegetables and fruit make it easier to just grab a prepackaged snack. Consider healthy alternatives that are typically just as easy to grab and enjoy, for example, baby carrots, ready-to-eat salads, or other cleaned and sliced veggies, individual cups of fruit, bananas, etc.
- Join a CSA. If you have never thought about a CSA, now is the right time to investigate this option. A CSA (community supported agriculture) is a subscription service for fresh produce from local farmers. Get more information and find a CSA in your area.
Seniorcorp’s caregivers are skilled in preparing healthy, delicious meals according to each person’s specific preferences. We are available to pick up all of the ingredients too! Just email or give us a call at 757-640-0557 to learn about our award-winning home health care in Virginia Beach and neighboring communities.