Make Nutrition a Priority this National Nutrition Month
As our loved ones age, maintaining a healthy diet is crucial to their overall health. According to MedlinePlus, good nutrition can give you energy, help control weight and help prevent some diseases such as osteoporosis, high blood pressure, and certain cancers.
This March, make nutrition a priority in your loved one’s everyday life by following these tips:
1. Create a dietary plan
A proper diet can help your loved one maintain a healthy weight and give them more energy. To ensure they eat enough food for their age, weight, and physical activity, use the MyPlate Plan to create a dietary plan that fits their lifestyle. If their long term care facility has a dietitian or nutritional aid, make sure you also work with them when creating the dietary plan.
2. Prioritize nutritionally dense foods
Many seniors don’t eat as much as they should because of physical difficulties or reactions to certain medications. Focus on including foods high in nutrients in their daily lives, such as potassium, calcium, vitamin D, and dietary fiber. This will ensure they receive the nutrients needed to maintain a healthy diet.
3. Encourage healthy snacks between meals
Some seniors may not have the appetite for a large meal, which can result in a lack of nutrients if meals are the sole basis of their diet. Include healthy snacks with the necessary nutrients to maintain a healthy diet that is easy to prepare and enjoy. Your loved one can snack throughout the day without relying on large meals. Here are 10 easy snacks for seniors that they can try.
4. Emphasize water in their daily routine
Dehydration is a serious issue in older adults, with 17% to 28% reporting being dehydrated. Ensure your loved one gets enough water by including it in their daily routine. You can do this by encouraging your loved one to carry a lightweight water bottle with them as they go on their day or make water more flavorful by adding slices of lemons or strawberries.
5. Turn eating into a social event
As your loved one ages, they may feel more lonely and socially isolated, resulting in a lack of appetite or motivation to make healthy meals. Make eating a social event by creating a schedule to have weekly meals together. Meals are more enjoyable when you eat with others, and you can ensure your loved ones are eating. If your loved one is living in a long term care facility, encourage them to eat with fellow residents. Meal times can be an enriching social activity in nursing homes and assisted living communities.