As we get older it becomes more difficult to eat healthy. Gone are the days when we had to cook well-balanced meals to feed a family of growing kids. It sometimes seems like too much trouble to cook meals that promote healthy eating when we are cooking for one. Other factors that can make healthy eating for seniors difficult include our changing metabolism, less money to spend shopping for food, or simply no wish to cook alone. All this is understandable but healthy eating is an essential part of staying fit and active as long as possible. Here are some tips to make it easier to maintain healthy eating habits.
Share the Process
Shopping, cooking, and eating alone can be depressing for some people. Why not enlist the help of a friend or group of friends and work together? You could all get together and make up a menu and shopping list. Share the shopping chores by going together as a pair or group. You could spend one day where you all get together and cook the meals for the week and divide them into individual freezer containers for everyone to take home and heat up during the week. As an alternative, you could choose nights and have one person cook and everyone else arrive to share a meal so that nobody is eating alone. Making mealtime a social activity will add fun and make it easier to eat a balanced meal that has been planned.
Meals on Wheels and other delivery services abound that will deliver pre-made or pre-packaged meals to your door daily or on a schedule. Some of these have a fully-cooked meal that may be delivered hot each day. Others prepare meals that can be popped into a microwave. Furthermore, there are specialized delivery services, like low-sodium diets or one designed for diabetics. Still, other delivery services allow you to pick out meals and will send you the ingredients and recipes and you can cook them when you want to. As an alternative to delivery, you cook seek out a senior center that prepares a daily meal for members. This would allow you to get out, socialize, eat a healthy meal, and not have to worry about preparation.
Healthy Eating Habits
Healthy eating for seniors is pretty basic and follow the same rules you probably always followed in the past. Make sure you eat plenty of fruits and vegetables for fiber and include calcium daily. Eat a wide variety of proteins and remember that you can get protein from things other than meat. You may prefer beans or nuts for some of your meals. Include some good fat in your diet. Your body needs a certain amount of fat to function. Just focus on the good fats to help keep your immune system and brain functioning well. Choose whole grains over processed ones to get the full value of your food. Finally, include plenty of water to keep yourself hydrated.
Talk to Your Doctor
If you have special dietary needs, talk with your doctor about referring you to a nutritionist to help you plan a healthy menu. Ask if any of your medications might deplete certain vitamins and if you would benefit from a supplement. If you have medical problems that make it difficult to swallow or otherwise eat a wide variety of foods, your medical doctor can help you plan around those. Finally, if you have lost your appetite because of a certain medication or depression, your doctor may also be able to help you with that. Eating healthy shouldn’t have to be a chore. It should be something that enables you to live a full, active life.
At SeniorSmart, we understand the challenges that come with the golden years. If you have questions about maintaining a healthy diet or any other aspect of your life, reach out to our team today at 205.460.1124.