Eating As We Age: Tips to Maintain a Healthy Diet
Eating is never quite as simple as it seems, and this is especially true as we age. When we take into account the impact of changing taste buds, shifts in social support and fluctuations in appetite, it can become very difficult to know how to maintain a healthy diet in the later years of life. However, nutrition during these years can be more important than ever as inadequate intake is often the source of several health issues, and so having a healthy eating plan is an important part of a comprehensive care plan. Below are some tips and tricks that might make that plan a little easier to put in place.
Fruits and Vegetables
With fruits and veggies, it’s all about ease-of-use. Consider pre-cut fruits and vegetables that are ready-to-serve or pre-packaged salads that come with dressing and other toppings. Another easy option is frozen vegetables with the sauce already included.
Not Fond of the Protein Supplements Your Doctor Wants You to Take?
If taste and texture are a problem when it comes to protein supplements, consider different ways to change the taste and texture to make the experience more palatable. Try using the supplement in oatmeal or cereal with some fresh fruit. The supplements can also be added to a blender with frozen fruit, some avocado, almond milk, coconut milk or vanilla. Head to the internet and look up “Overnight Oats” recipes that allow you to prep your protein supplement for the whole week inside tasty combinations of oats, honey, fresh fruit, and yogurt. Creativity is key here and the options are endless.
Meal prepping is an approach that can help us eat nutritious foods throughout our entire lives, so it’s no surprise that we might benefit from this practice as we age. Pick one day a week and cook everything you’ll need for the week ahead. Include various sources of protein (hamburger, chicken, fish, etc.), a large batch of rice or pasta, and add in some beans if the extra fiber and protein sound appealing. Grab those fresh or frozen vegetables to toss in and you’ve got full meals for the whole week. They can be stored in the fridge for several days, but if freshness is a concern, keep a few out of the freezer and then freeze the rest.
Get Some Social Support
Cooking and eating are much easier to do when there are other people involved, so consider the ways to expand these experiences to include other people. Get together with a group of people interested in meal preparation and accomplish the task together. Reach out to family and friends to see if a meal can be shared weekly.
Sign Up for Meal Service
If cooking and meal preparation are no longer an option, then consider signing up for a meal service like Meals on Wheels. The local area agency on aging will also have leads on private companies who offer comprehensive meal prep services that can ensure nutritional needs are being met.