October 19, 2017

5 Tips to Improve Senior Nutrition Habits

Proper Nutrition for Seniors: The Benefits for a Healthy Lifestyle

Throughout our lives, eating a healthy diet is beneficial in a variety of ways. Nutritious foods help us maintain the proper weight, increase our energy levels and boost our immune systems. The National Institute of Health reports that proper nutrition can also reduce the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, stroke, bone loss and even some cancers.

However, as we age, it’s common for our metabolisms to slow down and for us to become slightly less active than we were in our younger years. Seniors who lead sedentary lifestyles tend to have decreased appetites and require fewer calories, which can make it difficult to consume the right amount of nutrients needed on a daily basis.

For seniors, eating a healthy diet has even more benefits than the ones mentioned above. The NIH reports that proper nutrition for seniors is also key for lowering your risk for high cholesterol, high blood pressure, and you can even decrease your risk for cognitive decline.

It’s a common myth that all seniors will inevitably lose their appetites as they age. If you tend to have no appetite at all, this is usually a sign of a more serious health problem. Eating a well-balanced diet is key for many reasons, including:

  • Keeping all systems of the body functioning properly
  • Strengthening bones and teeth
  • Aiding digestion
  • Building memory
  • Supporting a strong immune system
  • Increasing mental capacity
  • Helping maintain or even increase energy levels

The Best Healthy Eating Tips for Seniors

Some seniors may find it difficult to ensure they’re getting proper nutrition, whether because they live alone and cooking is a hassle, or because they have limited mobility and chronic conditions. Turning to pre-packaged or frozen foods is convenient, but these types of meals are usually higher in fat, sodium and empty calories.

Even if your appetite is decreasing, there are steps you can take to improve your eating habits. Follow these five senior nutrition tips to ensure you’re getting the proper nutrition you need to thrive:

  1. Do some prep work. To avoid eating those prepackaged salty or sweet snacks, prepare healthy snacks ahead of time. Chop up veggies or portion out whole grain crackers, nuts and fruits into plastic bags or containers. This makes it just as convenient to grab something healthy instead of something full of empty calories.
  2. Increase nutrients, not portions. It’s understandable that your appetite might not be what it used to be. Therefore, don’t overwhelm yourself by heaping your plate full of food you know you won’t finish. Instead, incorporate more nutrients, like spreading peanut butter on toast instead of butter.
  3. Make it a social affair. Whenever possible, enjoy a meal with friends or family. Studies show that seniors who eat together tend to have better eating habits, as sometimes the thought of eating alone can decrease appetites.
  4. Stick to a schedule. Eating at the same time each day, even having a snack at the same time, will help increase appetite. Humans thrive on routine, so set a regular eating schedule and stick to it.
  5. Indulge once in a while. Allowing yourself a small treat every so often is a good way to keep your diet on track. Stick to 200-calorie treats like a piece of dark chocolate or a handful of pretzels to give yourself something to look forward to occasionally.

Enjoy Fresh, Healthy Meals at Symphony Senior Living

Symphony Senior Living understands that food is not only beneficial to overall health and wellness, but is also a joyful part of residents’ daily lives. Our chef and dietary staff prepare fresh creations daily, served in a beautiful dining room by a compassionate team. Contact us today to learn more, or call and schedule your personal visit with a complimentary meal.


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