A healthy senior is a happy senior. Good nutrition for seniors is vital for ensuring that seniors always feel their best. The right diet for seniors can be hard to develop, given the different nutritional needs for each senior depending on any disorders or ailments. However, for the most part, dietary needs are typically the same for most seniors. When considering nutrition for seniors, it’s important to consider how their needs differ from those of younger generations.
For seniors, having and maintaining adequate levels of vitamins and minerals is critical when it comes to preventing disease, disorders, and illnesses. This means that senior living facility staff members have to be familiar with and on top of the dietary needs of each of their seniors. A senior that maintains a proper diet will have more energy, feel better mentally and physically, and be more willing to participate in activities and create new memories!
If you find yourself wondering about the dietary needs of seniors, then you’ve come to the right place! So much more comes into play regarding a senior’s dietary needs and restrictions than types of foods. Chewing habits, posture, hydration, snack and meal times, portion sizing, and much more play key roles in bolstering a senior’s overall health.
What Is the Right Diet for Seniors?
When considering “the right diet for seniors,” there is much more to take into account than what types of foods to offer. As one may surmise, a diet consists of more than just eating enough of their fruits and vegetables. The right diet for seniors not only means balanced meals high in vitamins and minerals, it also means that eating habits should be sufficient, posture should be correct, and much more. Here are five key things to keep in mind when formulating the right diet for seniors!
Picking Foods High in Nutritional Value
As people grow older, their bodies don’t require the same caloric intake as they did when they were younger. This means that it’s important to offer seniors food that provides more nutritional value without the extra calories. Consider foods like fruits and vegetables, whole grains and whole wheat, nuts, beans, seeds, and lean meat.
Drinking 8 Glasses of Water Per Day
Seniors do not tend to feel thirsty as often as they should. Keeping seniors hydrated throughout the day should be a priority for caregivers. Avoid serving older adults sugary drinks or caffeine to keep them from becoming dehydrated. In general, drinking eight 8oz glasses of water per day is recommended.
Encouraging Physical Activity
Simple exercises can help increase appetite in seniors. If they can, have seniors participate in activities at their local senior center or in the rec room. Anything to get the body moving is better than being idle. Increasing physical activity will also increase thirst, providing an opportunity for seniors to drink more water, which is a necessity.
Encouraging Nutritional Variety
Be sure to offer variety to a senior’s diet plan. When serving meals, prepare foods with different colors and textures. Offering two options at each meal is also a helpful approach. Not only do meal options encourage independence, but it also prevents seniors from eating repetitive meals.
Managing Portion Sizes
As previously mentioned, seniors do not require the same amount of calories as they did when they were younger. This means that portion sizes should be relatively small, with an emphasis on foods and snacks that have a high nutritional value.
Want to Learn More?
For more information about assisted senior living, the right diet for seniors, and more, be sure to check out some simple nutrition tips!